Check partition table health in Lion's Disk Utility

Apple's Disk Utility has always checked the health of volume structures, but in Lion it will verify the structure of the partition tables as well.

Topher Kessler MacFixIt Editor
Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.
Topher Kessler
2 min read

Apple's Disk Utility program is a useful tool for managing hard drives and volumes; however, in Snow Leopard, Leopard, and other past versions of OS X, when you would run a drive verification routine it would only access the format structures of the volumes on a drive and check them. For instance, if you have a drive that is partitioned into two volumes, then if you select one of those volumes in Disk Utility and run a Verify Disk routine the program will check the volume's formatting in a routine similar to the following:

Selecting a volume and clicking Verify Disk will check its format structure as Disk Utility has always done.

If on the other hand you selected the drive itself instead of a specific volume it contains, then Disk Utility would repeat this process for all of the volumes on the drive, checking them sequentially. This behavior was convenient; however, it did leave out the option to check the device-level features such as the health of hidden partitions, the partition tables themselves, and various other low-level features on drives such as boot loaders.

This has changed in Lion, and now Disk Utility will check these device-level details so if you select a drive device in Disk Utility and run the Verify Disk routine, the tool will check the partition list and various boot partitions and files instead of only checking the volumes on the drive.

Selecting the drive device and clicking Verify Disk will now check the partition structure and health.

In addition to checking these various routines, you can now run them on multiple drives or volumes in one run by holding the Command key and selecting the drives and volumes of choice before starting the verification or repair.

While this new feature of Disk Utility is very nice to have, it may still be a good idea to keep a robust drive maintenance tool like Drive Genius, DiskWarrior, TechTool Pro, or DiskTools Pro on your system to fix drive- and format-related problems.

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