I have 2 external hard drives supplied by the same vendor.
They both have the same name.
Using them with the mac is problematic when they have the same name.
Time Machine, for example, tries to back up to the external drive with this name.
I would like to simply change the name of one of these external hard drives.

Multiple forums have suggested 2 solutions:
1: In Finder, just change the name of the drive like you would any folder
2: Use Disk Utility

Neither of these solutions work for me.
The name of the external drive is read only in both applications.

  • What filesystem format is the drive using? NTFS? – user3439894 Nov 27 '15 at 20:25
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    NTFS. One is formatted with the mac file system but it's damaged and can only be used in read-only mode. I need to reformat it. – Alex Ryan Nov 27 '15 at 20:36
  • What version of OS X? 10.11? – bjbk Nov 27 '15 at 20:39
  • 10.11.1: El Capitan – Alex Ryan Nov 27 '15 at 20:40
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    When you open Finder and get information - what specifically happens when you click on the volume name? Specifically, look at the Sharing & Permissions and Name & Extension sections of that window. I wound't use Disk Utility since it can be far more destructive than Finder in terms of renames. – bmike Nov 27 '15 at 21:57

If the file format of the external hard drive is NTFS, then El Capitan will allow you to only read the contents of the drive. To rename the drive, or to modify any contents of the drive, you will have to format the drive with OS X File system.

  • Or use something like Fuse for MacOS, which will allow you to use the drive normally (though renaming may not be supported -- which is the reason I arrived here in the first place). – Charles Ward Jan 21 '17 at 16:58
  • Thanks for this, Shaggy; worked for me. For those who need a link on how to reformat, see here: osxdaily.com/2012/01/04/… – Nathan Dec 9 '17 at 13:12

I was having the same issue with wanting to change the name of my external hard drives. What I found is my Mac did not want to change the name. So I plugged the drives into my PC pulled them up on Windows Explorer, right clicked on the drive name picked "rename" and typed in the new name. It changed with no issues. I plugged the drives back into my Mac and ta-da, the name was changed.

I did not need to change the format.

  • What format was it? NTFS? – Allan Feb 4 '20 at 1:40

Go to the information tab for the drive i.e., highlight the drive in the Finder, click Command + I. Under Name & Extension, highlight the name in that field and change it to whatever you want. Took me a while to figure it out, too.

  • Made my macbook air crawl – Abel Melquiades Callejo May 16 '18 at 3:12
  • I think this will only change the name of the partition on the drive and not the drive's name itself. See the post by Mitchell Model – chAlexey Jan 21 '19 at 14:09

You are all talking about partitions, not physical disks. I recently cloned my internal drive (both physical and partition name OSX8) and did a fresh install of 10.11, naming the partition OSX11. Now I have a partition called OSX11 on a physical disk called OSX8.

For me, I think the only difference is the confusion of it being displayed that way in Disk Utility, but I can see how it could be a significant problem with two external disks named the same by the vendor, e.g. 2 TB Newer Technology.

10.11 complicates this by the switch to "Core Store". Apparently you can perform some manipulations with "diskutil cs …", but that is dangerous.


I had the same problem to change the name on my external disk, this is what I did.went to finder Click on the device that You want to change the name highlight the name and then click file and click on get info highlight the name of the device and change the name.

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