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How to Format a Hard Drive in Mac OS X

If you're looking to upgrade your Mac, or just need to erase a drive, this guide will walk you through the process.


  • Step 1: Back up data Back up any data you wish to keep using a USB flash drive or your computer's recordable disk drive.
  • TIP: Formatting the drive will erase all the data permanently, so be sure to save everything you need or want.
  • Step 2: Insert CD Insert the installer CD and reboot the computer. You may need to enter a username and password upon startup and then select your language.
  • Step 3: Select Disk Utilities Click on Menu and then Ulilities, and then select Disk Utilities.
  • Step 4: Choose disk to erase Choose the disk you wish to erase and click on the Erase tab. Select a format from the pop-up menu and then enter a name for the new drive.
  • TIP: You may also click on Options and select Additional Security Preferences.
  • Step 5: Finish Format Finish formatting the drive by clicking Okay and then hitting the Erase button. A full format of a primary drive may take several hours to complete.
  • FACT: On March 30, 1858, Hymen Lipman filed a patent for the first eraser by attaching a piece of rubber to the end of a pencil.

You Will Need

  • USB flash drive
  • Installer CD
  • Basic computer navigation skills

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