How to format a hard drive

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When you format a hard drive, you’re setting up the drive so it can read and write data on your computer. It’s not a task you’d do on a frequent basis. When you buy a new hard drive, it’s usually pre-formatted, so all you have to do is connect it to your Mac.

But there may come a time when you need to format a hard drive. For example, if you bought a hard drive that wasn’t specifically geared towards Macs, it’s probably formatted for Windows. Re-formatting the drive can help improve performance and is required if you want to use the drive with Time Machine. Another example: You bought a new Mac, and you’re giving your old Mac away. Formatting the hard drive erases the data.

This article will show how to format a hard drive using Disk Utility, a helpful application that comes with every Mac. It’s easy, and takes a few minutes. The steps here are using Mac OS X 10.6.7 and should be similar for older OS versions.

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