Does it trash the disk if I interrupt the secure erase option of Disk Utility?

There's nothing on the disk to hide, so I don't want to waste time, but if I triggered it accidentally — blame the cat :-) — will that render the disk unusable?

  • How does one “accidentally” securely erase a disk?
    – Allan
    Dec 25, 2022 at 3:36
  • @Allan trying to add a partition or reformatting the disk and accidentally clicking the secure erase checkbox. Dec 25, 2022 at 4:21

1 Answer 1


You can interrupt a secure erase mid-process. Will it render the disk unusable?

Yes and no.

Yes in that anything written will likely be severely corrupted. Any pre-existing data is toast. No in that your drive will not be physically damaged. You can re-partition and reformat to work with Apple computers, Linux/Unix, and PCs.

  • Pre-existing data will be toast in an erase whether secure or not, interrupted or not.
    – WGroleau
    Dec 25, 2022 at 4:30
  • You have a much better chance of recovering data from a an insecure erase as only the pointers are deleted. My answer addresses the broad question you asked. If I didn’t address it in this manner, my inbox would be flooded from other readers with comment “the data is destroyed making it unusable.”
    – Allan
    Dec 26, 2022 at 21:18
  • This is quite a helpful answer, the only thing I'm left wondering is, if interrupting the 7 pass erasure requires the disk to be re-partitioned and reformatted to work, how difficult is that? E.g. I'm a total newbie (I've never partitioned a disk before and have hardly used Disk Utility, will I be able to do it, or is it a job for the experts?)
    – stevec
    Feb 19 at 0:18
  • 1
    Partitioning a drive is easy @stevec. Start by taking a blank flash drive and trying the different options to get a feel for it. You can do this a zillion times and not damage things. Once comfortable, do it it on your “production”. You’ll be safe that way
    – Allan
    Feb 19 at 17:52

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