Among a slew of hardware components embedded in Mac, hard drive is an integral component that facilitates data storage. Based on the size of the hard drive, a massive amount of data can be stored to it. To avoid data untidiness, partitioning Mac drive is a wise decision, as it keeps your data protected against likely threats.
Partitioning Mac drive is a general issue, which becomes complicated when the user is not aware of the way it is done. More precisely, the one who does not know how to partition or repartition Mac drive may lose his data lost in case of repartitioning. However, you must admit that partitioning a hard drive on Mac is quite sophisticated as compared to that on Windows. In order to avoid data loss or a like situation, many of you do not even try partitioning your Mac drive and store all your data to the Mac boot volume (i.e. Macintosh HD). Since boot volume of your Mac drive contains system files (i.e. Mac OS X files and installed applications), it not safe to save your precious data to this volume.
At this point, some of the Mac users may ask that why it is not safe to save data to the boot volume? Well, storing data to the Mac boot volume is not in your favor, as you would not be able to access it if your Mac fails to boot. In such a situation, you cannot even opt for rebooting your Mac since it requires you to format the boot volume first. On the other hand, a hard drive having several volumes is far away from any such threat, as even Mac failure cannot affect your data at all.
Is partitioning Mac drive advantageous
Partitioning Mac drive is advantageous for you as well as for your Mac system; to know how, go through the following:
Suppose your Mac drive has only one partition (i.e. the boot volume, Macintosh HD) having all your data along with the system files stored on it. Besides, the secondary drive you have is partitioned into several volumes; one of these is the boot volume. Corruption of the boot volume of your Mac drive causes Mac data inaccessibility, whereas the same issue on the secondary drive does not affect the data stored on it at all, even if you format its boot volume to reinstall Mac OS X.
Besides, it must be known to you that partitioning Mac drive not only facilitates storing different types of data (such as pictures, videos, applications, and more) on separate Mac volumes, but also allows you to go for multi-boot. This means that you can install multiple operating systems (i.e. both Mac and Windows) on separate volumes of your Mac drive. Therefore, if you are using Mac OS X Lion and want Mountain Lion to be installed on a separate volume, partitioning Mac drive is what you need to go for. However, if you want a Windows operating system to be installed on a separate volume of your Mac drive, then you have to use Mac inbuilt Boot Camp Assistant tool for this. By having multiple operating systems installed on your Mac drive, you can access your data even if one of these fails to boot.
How to partition a new hard drive on Mac
You might be using a spare hard drive (internal or external, mainly external) to save the backup copies of all crucial files of yours. For this, instead of storing all data on a common partition as well as to avoid data untidiness, you should split this hard drive space into multiple partitions. Even though you must have a Mac partition manager app to get this done, you can also use Mac inbuilt Disk Utility as the default Mac disk partition manager.
For this, you need to follow the steps discussed underneath:
1. Hook up the secondary hard drive to your Mac.
2. When Disk Insertion message pops up, click Initialize button on it
(When you click Initialize button that is given on the Disk Insertion message box, Disk Utility is launched automatically)
3. In Disk Utility, select this drive at the left and go to the Erase tab at the right.
4. Herein, click Format dropdown menu and choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
5. Specify a Name for this disk, and then
6. Click Erase button to format this drive.
Once disk formatting is finished, continue with the following steps to partition it:
7. When this hard drive is selected at the left, go to the partition tab at the right
8. Click Options button and choose GUID Partition Table on your Intel-based Mac or Apple Partition Map on your PowerPC-based Mac, and then click OK button.
9. After that, click Volume Scheme dropdown menu and select the number of partitions you want to have to this disk.
10. Select one volume in the graphical view of this hard drive and give it a Name, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as its Format, and specify its Size beneath the Volume Information area
11. Now, repeat step no. 10 for other newly created volumes
12. When finished with the step no. 11, click Apply button to save these partitions
Based on both the size of the hard drive and the number of partitions to be created on it, time elapsed in saving these partitions may vary. Once these partitions are saved, a message pops up to notify the same to you. After that, you can also use any of these partitions to install Mac OS X.
On the other hand, if you need to repartition your Mac drive, you need to boot with a secondary bootable media (i.e. Boot Mac Lion or Mountain Lion with Recovery HD, and for earlier versions, boot with Mac OS X install disc). If you have free space available on your Mac drive, then you can use it to create a new volume. Otherwise, you will have to resize one or more other volumes to create free space.
In case, if you are not comfortable with Disk Utility to partition Mac drive, you can also use a Mac disk partition manager for the same. However, do not use any app without having its proper knowledge.