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If you want to create a new partition, change a partition table or delete an existing hard drive partition in Mac OS X, you don’t need to use anything special except the included Disk Utility app that comes with all versions of Mac OS X Disk Utility has all the tools on hand needed for modifying partition tables of any Mac disk, and it’s easy to use after a little guidance.
Before proceeding, you must complete a backupup of your hard drive and all important data and documents before resizing the partitions in any way. This is to make sure file recovery is easy in case something goes wrong with the partitioning process. The easiest way to do this is to do a quick manual backupup through Time Machine and let it finish. Once you have adequate backupup from Mac, continue with this procedure to learn how to add a new partition, modify and resize existing partitions, and how to delete them too.
How to Add a new hard drive partition in Mac OS X
- Run Disk Utility from / Applications / Utilities /
- Select the hard drive you want to partition on the left side of the app
- Click on the “Partition” tab
- Click on the + button to add a new partition
- Enter a name for the new partition, select a file system type (Mac OS Extended Journaled is default) and choose a size by entering a capacity manually or by dragging the slider in the partition map
- Click on “Apply” to create the new partition
You can create partitions of any size as long as you have the available disk space to include it, and creating the partition shouldn’t affect your existing file system as long as there is free space. However, there is always a chance that something could go wrong, so I recommend that you backupup of your disk.
After clicking ‘Apply’ to create the new partition, it will be directly accessible in the Finder to use as you wish. A new partition acts like a new hard drive and will appear on your desktop as a new drive that can be ejected, mounted and formatted just like a hard drive.
The video below shows how to partition a hard drive in Mac OS X with the new versions of Disk Utility, found in El Capitan 10.11 and later releases of Mac OS system software.
I partitioned my drive before installing Mac OS X Lion so that I could keep my stable Mac OS X 10.6 system software while still exploring the Lion 10.7 Developer Preview, and I often do this with other software versions, even with El Capitan and Snow Leopard side by side on different partitions. Another common use is to partition large external hard drives for a specific Time Machine backup partition and then a separate storage partition. Time Machine backs upup of a drive until the available space is taken, so if you set it as a backupup on a partition, it just takes up that space and leaves the other partition alone, allowing the drive to be used for multiple purposes and effectively sharing a single hard drive for both Time Machine and other uses.
How to Delete a partition on Mac
Deleting partitions is as easy as creating a partition. All you need to do is follow the steps above to get to the partition table, select the partition you want to delete and then click the “-“. button instead of the plus icon.
Remember that if you delete a partition, you will lose data on it. Click “Apply” for the changes to take effect on the disk.
How to Resize existing partitions on Mac OS X
By shrinking an existing partition to a new size, the total available capacity for a partition can be increased or decreased. This can be done very easily through Disk Utility by performing the following actions. Back up as usualup of the drive before you start to get safe:
- From the “Partitions” tab, simply drag the divider bar between existing partitions up or down to adjust the size as desired
- You can also click on the partition you want to resize and then enter a new size in GB in the Size box next to the partition map
- Select “Apply” to resize the partition
You don’t have to reboot for the changes to take effect. As always, keep a back-up to hand before making changes to the partitions. It’s rare for something to go wrong, but when it does, you’ll be happy to back upup on hand so that you can restore it as soon as possible.
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