Get to know the new Disk Utility in OS X El Capitan

Disk Utility has been in OS X on the Apple Mac for years and it has not changed much, until now. The new Disk Utility in El Capitan is completely different to the previous version. Use it to fix problems on the Mac’s disk drive.

The differences between this version of Disk Utility in El Capitan and the previous version in Yosemite are immediately obvious when the app is started. The interface is new and colourful.

On the left is a list if disks and the partitions they are divided into. Select the Mac’s internal disk drive and you will see something like this:

Disk Utility in OS X

This disk has two partitions and there is OS X represented by the blue bar and Bootcamp (Windows) indicated by the smaller pink bar at the end. In a table below is some technical information like the connection (SATA), partition map type (GUID), S.M.A.R.T status (drive health), and capacity (500.11GB).

Select the Mac partition with OS X and there is a breakdown of how the disk is used. You can see the space occupied by apps, photos, audio, movies and other.

Disk Utility in OS X

What is Other? It is using the most space on this disk. It is anything that isn’t an app, photo, audio of movie file. There are some virtual machines on this Mac with Parallels Desktop and VirtualBox. These have large files.

There is a group of buttons across the top of Disk Utility and the first of these is First Aid. The previous version of Disk Utility had four buttons to verify the disk, repair the disk, verify permissions, and repair permissions.

These four buttons are now one – First Aid. If you suspect that there is a fault with the disk or with files on the disk, click First Aid.

Disk Utility on the Apple Mac

After running it, click the little triangle to show the details if you want to see what has been checked and see the messages. Right at the end of the information is the message “The volume MacBook appears to be OK.” And also “File system check exit code is 0.” Exit codes for apps are error messages, zero for no problem, otherwise an error number. So 0 is good.

Disk Utility on OS X

Partitioning disk drives is a bit different to how it used to be, although the end result is the same. Select the disk and click the Partition button in the toolbar.

Disk Utility on the Apple Mac

The circle represents the disk and the white and blue bits are the two partitions on this disk drive. The white bit is the Bootcamp partition. The small circle at the 11 o’clock position can be dragged around the circle to resize the partition. It will not shrink the Bootcamp partition, but you could shrink the Mac partition and create a new partition in the empty space that is created. Just drag the handle to the size you want and click Apply.




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