Mac Hard Drive Setup Guide

All our hard drives come blank and unformatted, or in the case of some external hard drives are formatted in Windows specific formats and should be reformatted before use on a Mac. This guide aims to show you how to prepare your disk for use with your Apple system. It does not cover the physical installation of the hard drive, but rather the steps necessary to prepare an installed drive for use.

This guide applies to all internal hard drives, both for laptops and desktops, and both SATA or ATA drives. It is also relevant for setting up external hard drives, since the procedure for formating the drives is the same.

The guide is divided into two parts, firstly for Mac OSX, and secondly for OS 9 and below.

MacOS X (all versions)

If Adding as main drive (i.e. no others)

  1. Install the hard drive (for IDE drives, normally set drive to master).
  2. Check connectivity and turn on machine as normal.
  3. Boot into Recovery Mode (hold Command-R on startup) in machines that have that facility (roughly 2010 and later models). Otherwise insert your Mac OS X Bootable DVD, and boot from it (hold 'c' on startup).
  4. In OSX 10.4 and later go to the Utilities menue and choose Disk Utility
  5. In 10.3 and earlier go to the File Menu and select "Open disk utility".
  6. You will see a window appear with the hard drive on the left.
  7. Select the new drive (should be only one).
  8. Double check this drive does not contain any of your important data.
  9. In the right hand window you will see and option for "Erase" click this button (see picture below).
  10. You can partition your drive from within Disk Utility also.
  11. Once the drive has formatted, if you are booting from 10.3 or earlier, restart machine (this step is important).
  12. Go through the normal OS install procedure, or restore from your backup.
Image of OSX Disk Utility

If adding as an extra (additional) drive

  1. Install hard drive (for IDE drives, normally set drive to slave).
  2. Check connectivity and turn on machine the as normal.
  3. Once booted into OS X, navigate to your (existing) hard drive.
  4. Open the hard drive and navigate to the Applications Folder.
  5. Navigate to the Utilities folder.
  6. Open / Run Disk Utility.
  7. You will see a window appear with the hard drive on the left.
  8. Select the new drive (this is the one without a volume attached to it).
  9. In the right hand window you will see and option for "Erase" (see picture below).
  10. Double check this is the right drive, then click "Erase".
  11. You may partition the drive from this screen also.
  12. The drive will then appear on the desktop and is ready to use.

MacOS 9 and below

If adding as an extra (additional) drive

  1. Install the hard drive (for IDE drives, normally set the drive to slave).
  2. Check connections and turn on the machine as normal.
  3. Once the machine has booted, navigate to your hard drive.
  4. Open the Applications folder (or "Applications (OS 9)").
  5. Open the Utilities folder.
  6. Find and open the Drive Setup Folder.
  7. Run / Open the Drive Setup program.
  8. Select drive which says "Not initialised".
  9. Click Initialise.
  10. Drive will now format, and appear on the desktop and is ready for use.

If Adding as main drive (i.e. no other HDD present)

  1. Install hard drive (for IDE drives, normally set the drive to master).
  2. Check connections and turn on the machine.
  3. Open CD tray and insert your system CD.
  4. Restart machine with the reset button on front.
  5. Turn on the machine and hold down the "C" key on the keyboard until the MacOS logo appears.
  6. Once the machine has booted, open the Applications folder on your OS 9 CD.
  7. Open the Utilities folder.
  8. Find and open the Drive Setup Folder.
  9. Run / Open the Drive Setup program.
  10. Select drive which says "Not initialised".
  11. Click Initialise.
  12. Drive will now format and appear on the desktop and is ready to use.
  13. Now run the MacOS installer.

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