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This chapter is from the book

Add a Newly Installed Hard Disk to the System

See Also

Partition a Hard Disk

Set Up Software RAID

No matter how large your Mac's disk might seem when you first buy it, the computing world has a way of coming up with new ways to use up disk space. Just a few years ago, it was difficult to imagine a 10-gigabyte disk. Now, most people's MP3 collections exceed that size easily. With digital video editing becoming ever more popular, even 60 or 100GB disks are starting to look small.

Tower Macs allow you to install new internal hard drives; even with iMacs and laptops you can hook up new storage devices over USB or FireWire connections. When you buy a new disk, however, you must properly prepare it before it can be used.

Figure 3.9Figure 3.9

  1. Attach the New Disk

  2. For an internal hard disk, follow the instructions provided with your Mac for adding a new disk. Generally, you will have to remove your computer's cover (with the power off, of course), remove a metal caddy, mount the drive in the caddy, and replace the cover so that the disk cable and power cords can be attached.

    External drives are much easier to connect; they involve little more than plugging them in and turning them on. You can install external drives while the Mac is running.


    Be careful when working with the interior of your computer! Unless you're really sure what you're doing, you could damage your computer's components (through static discharge, for example) or yourself. If you have any doubts at all about what you should do to install your new disk correctly and safely, have the task done by an authorized party (such as a Certified Apple Reseller or an Apple Store).

  3. Open Disk Utility

  4. Open the Finder and navigate to the Applications folder, then to the Utilities subfolder. Launch the Disk Utility program by double-clicking its icon.

  5. Open the Erase Pane

  6. If you want to make the entire new disk available as one large volume, you will want to "erase" the disk. This process is what most other operating systems refer to as "formatting" the disk—preparing it to hold data within your operating system.

    All available disks are shown in the left pane of the Disk Utility window. Select the new disk (in this example, it's listed as 55.9 GB Maxtor 4D060H3), and then click the Erase tab. The Erase pane is where your disk will be initialized and made available for you to store your additional data.


    You can partition your disk into several smaller volumes, if you prefer. See Partition a Hard Disk for details on partitioning.


    You can erase either the entire disk, or just a single volume. The left pane of the Disk Utility window shows you whole disks (listed by their model name, such as 55.9 GB Maxtor 4D060H3), and volumes within each disk (listed by the volume names you've assigned them, such as Macintosh HD or Secondary Disk). Before you erase a disk, make sure that you've selected the correct disk or volume. When you erase an entire disk, you create one large volume on it, with the volume name that you specify in the Name field.

  7. Specify a Volume Name and Format

  8. Select a format for the volume; Mac OS Extended is the default and is the best choice for Mac OS X. Don't select any of the other format options unless you intend to use this disk with Windows or Unix machines as well.

    Enter a descriptive name for the volume that will be created. You can change this name later if you want; simply click the volume name in a Finder window or on the Desktop and type a new name (as when renaming any other item).

  9. Erase the Disk

  10. Click the Erase button to erase the disk. This process might take several minutes; after it is done, the new hard disk volume will be mounted in the Finder and ready for use.

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