So, heres the situation:

I have a 500GB external USB hard drive that is formatted with the GUID Partition Map and has 2 partitions, both formatted as Mac OS X Extended (Journaled). one partition, TEMP (~120 GB), is barely being used and I have moved all data off it for this. However, the other partition, MAIN, is being used for backups and is about 320GB and is already mostly full.

In order to avid having to spend hours and hours creating a brand new backup after formatting the drives, I found out that you can apparently resize partitions on disks that are formatted the way I have them. Which is great, except I can't increase the size of the MAIN partition because of the following error: The volume “MAIN” is not journaled. As a result it can not be resized. To enable journaling, cancel partitioning and use the “Enable Journaling” command under the “File” menu.

I have verified and repaired both partitions numerous times with nothing bad coming up, everything is normal, however, when I go into terminal and try and manually enable journaling like it says, i get this:

 diskutil enablejournal disk1s2
Journaling was already enabled for volume MAIN on disk1s2

 diskutil disableJournal disk1s2
An error occurred journaling the file system: The underlying task reported failure on exit (-69860)

So it thinks journaling is already enabled... bit it thinks its disabled.... and i can't turn it off and back on again to test if that works... can someone please tell me what I'm doing wrong?

EDIT: While the drive is our primary backup drive, the backup partition has been full and no backups have been completed since July so I will probably end up formatting the drive anyway, but would still be interested to know what this issue is in case anyone else has this issue.

EDIT 2: here's the diskutil list info for the drive:

/dev/disk1 (external, physical):
#:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *500.1 GB   disk1
1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk1s1
2:                  Apple_HFS MAIN                    380.1 GB   disk1s2
3:                  Apple_HFS TEMP                    119.5 GB   disk1s3

3 Answers 3


Note that if you do:

diskutil disableJournal disk1s2

and you get:

An error occurred journaling the file system: The underlying task reported failure on exit (-69860)

the journaling is in fact disabled. The error is bogus. Eject and remount, and you'll see journaling is now off. Does knowing this help you?


I had a similar problem with a 1TB external drive that I needed to format from NTFS to OS X (journaled). Nothing I did got me past the error that the single 1TB partition could not be resized since journaling was not enabled. What the Disk Utility help does not tell you is that journaling will not actually be turned on until you have ejected (not just dismounted) and reconnected the drive.

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    – fsb
    Mar 11, 2018 at 13:49

I just ran into this same issue.

Counterintuitively, you have to make sure the volume in question is mounted before you can resize the partition. I guess when the volume isn't mounted, Disk Utility isn't able to see it to determine whether journaling is enabled.

After playing with Disk Utility for a bit, it can be a bit confusing:

  • Resizing a partition requires that the volumes be mounted
  • Renaming a volume requires that it be mounted
  • Enabling or disabling journaling for a volume requires that it be unmounted
  • When restoring a volume, it doesn't seem to matter (Disk Utility will unmount the source and destination volumes when the operation is started)

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