Sign up ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I tried to make a partition on my macbook for windows. I was unable to do so, because, apparently, the hard-drive has been damaged. Since I do not have osx installation cd, I tried to recover using 1) disk utility and 2) from command line (exiting the desktop, at boot).

In both cases I failed. In particular, doing that by command line seemed to be fine (the output message was something like "disk recovered"). But then, again, when partitioning I always get the error message that the disk is corrupted.

Do you know how could I possibly solve this problem without osx cd?

share|improve this question
Pretty hard without a boot dvd as to do a proper and thorough partition, clean and format the main drive needs to me unmounted and not being used by the system. Any chance you could lay your hands on one? – RobZolkos Apr 20 '11 at 6:32
Do you have access to another Mac? If so, you could put your MacBook into Firewire Target Disk mode and use the other Mac to try to repair your damaged drive. – tegbains Apr 20 '11 at 7:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

One suggestion is to grab this recovery CD. If you like you can use a USB stick instead but I find the CD to be easiest.

Of course, you'll need a functioning computer and CD burner to make this happen so perhaps this isn't possible for you.

If it is possible, burn the .iso, insert the CD, and when booting up, press 'C' immediately after the startup tone plays.

You'll be presented with some options. Just click Enter for these until you find yourself in a live Linux environment that looks like this. You'll be able to use the graphical tool GParted to see what's going on with your partitions. GParted is a very powerful utility. In an (almost) worst case scenario you'll at least be able to recover your data from the HDD.

share|improve this answer
actually my mac is fine, I don't need to recover data. I'm just unable to partition it – Bob Apr 24 '11 at 2:03
@Bob - this tool should allow you to partition it. If you haven't done so already, take a look at GParted's homepage. It lists all the various functions it can perform (including partitioning). – boehj Apr 24 '11 at 6:21
would snow leopard cd do the job or do I need osx? – Bob May 5 '11 at 23:52
@Bob - 2 things: 1) Snow Leopard is OS X; and 2) Snow Leopard is a DVD not a CD. But assuming you have a SL DVD, you can make a number of different partition types including Mac 'native' ones and Windows 'native' ones (e.g. FAT32). I wouldn't advise installing Windows on a FAT32 partition though. It's an outdated file system with many disadvantages. Rather, I'd install Windows on an NTFS partition. You can make this partition with GParted mentioned above, or with a Windows install DVD once you resized your OS X partition to make room. This (i.e. resizing) can be done with the SL DVD. – boehj May 6 '11 at 8:22

Well, since your disk is damaged, you'll probably want to get a new one to replace it, yes?

When you order your new drive, get a USB (3.0, if supported) adapter to go with it. Then, when they arrive, mount your new drive via the USB adapter and install a bootable OS X system on it. Make sure to partition it as a 'GUID partition table'. Also, leave yourself enough room for your extra partition(s) at this time.

Once you can boot from it, you could backup your existing HDD to it, then swap the new one into your macbook.

Alternatively, you could just get the new drive bootable and then install it, using the USB adapter with your old drive to retrieve your data.

Also, you should be able to get a copy of the OS X installation program from the App store.

You might also try to press and hold the key during boot -- immediately after the boot tone and before the grey screen. This should present you with a choice of bootable images. One of them should be a recovery partition that was created when the OS was initially installed. That might allow you to attempt to repair your HDD. This is also the mechanism you'll use to boot from your new external disk when you install OS X to it.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.