I tried to rename the hard drive of my Macbook from "Macintosh HD" to something else without the freaking space. However, after renaming it, many of my applications showed errors immediately and I stupidly restarted my computer. Right now, I cannot log in to my user account because of an error. Everything is blocked...

If someone can tell me how to change the harddrive name back without logging into my previous account, I will appreciate it a lot. It will save my life!


  • All right, did it. Start getting answers. Thanks :D
    – zeroliu
    Jul 16, 2012 at 19:26

2 Answers 2


You can't log into your account because the OS can't find your user directory. You have to boot the computer keeping pressed command + R to enter the restoration/repair mode. Then go to the "Utilities" in the upper menu and enter "Terminal".

Type: /usr/sbin/diskutil rename "oldname" "newname" where oldname is the name you assigned to the disk and newname should be "Macintosh HD".

If everything is OK you will receive a message informing that the disk was renamed and you can restart your computer and log into your account.

  • After changing my second drive name, where users directory were moved, nobody was able to login and get the following message: "You are unable to log in to the user account [name] at this time". Booting with the recovery partition (holding alt at boot time) and using diskutil in the terminal fix my problems. See also: unixtutorial.org/2014/11/how-to-rename-a-disk-partition-in-osx
    – Teenage
    Nov 30, 2017 at 22:25

You should be able to rename your hard drive; it should not cause problems with the functionality of your computer. I’ve done it dozens of times, and Apple even has a support article explaining how to do it. It’s okay to do, virtually any time, as many times as you want.

Although it is possible some applications could potentially throw errors after renaming the drive, virtually none of them should. For example, the Applications folder is addressed by /Applications, regardless of the hard drive’s name, just as the home folder is accessed by ~/ instead of the user’s home folder name (and other UNIX variables like $HOME and whoami).

My guess is you have another issue (maybe filesystem or ACL permissions issues) and it just happened things have gone awry around the same time.

  • agreed. something else happened coincidentally and fatally at the same time you changed your hd name. we do this all the time with no problem. Dec 1, 2017 at 0:23

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