Disk Utility

Disk Utility is an application, developed by Apple for performing disk related tasks such as conversion, compression, encryption and creation of disk images.  In addition, this tool is also called as “Live Verification” because it is used to verify computer startup disk without starting up from another disk. If this tool finds any problems that needs to fix it so you need to start up from your Mac OS X install DVD and use Disk utility on that disk.

Live verification works on Mac OS X Extended formatted volumes. Disk utility prompts a message: “Error: could not freeze volume” when you try to check a non-journaled disk. In addition, during this process, the Disk utility progress indicator may stop advancing and open apps become unresponsive, computer may freeze or the progress pointer may appear. Once you start “Live Verification” process, you cannot stop in middle and you might face some problems if you attempt to check or fix any unmountable and non startup disk.

Disk utility performs disk related tasks, such as

  • Ejecting, mounting and unmounting disks including removable media, hard disks, disk images
  • Enabling or disabling journaling
  • Fixing and checking permissions
  • Formatting, erasing, cloning and partitioning disks
  • Creating, merging, repairing and destroying RAID sets
  • Erasing CD-RWs and DVD-RWs
  • Writing disk images to DVD or CD in HFS+ format
  • Recovers volumes from Apple Software Restore images
  • Adding and changing partition table between GUID Partition Table, master boot record and Apple Partition Table
  • Secure deletion of free space or disk using a “ a 7-pass DOD 5220-22 M standard, zero out data, or a pass Gutmann algorithm
  • Fixes if the disk is corrupted and verifies data integrity
  • Examines the SMART status of a hard disk

In Mac OS X 10.3 version, disk utility function was updated. Prior to version 10.3, its functionalities were spread across two applications such as Disk Utility and Disk Copy. Disk Copy was used for mounting and creating disk images files where as Disk Utility was used for partitioning, creating, fixing and checking file structure. Moreover, its functionalities may also access from Mac OS X command lines with the “diskutil” and “hdiutil” commands.

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