How to Format an Apple Laptop

by Michael O. Smathers Images

Mac OS X 10.6 is the default operating system used on current Apple-built desktops and laptops. If you have a laptop that uses Mac OS X 10.6 and want to format it for a fresh start or to install a new hard drive, the format process works differently from Windows operating systems. You will have to format your hard drive containing Mac OS X by using the installation disc. You can format other drives from within the operating system.

Format from Installation Disc

Step 1

Insert the install disc into your laptop's optical media drive and restart the computer.

Step 2

Hold the "C" or "Options" key as the laptop boots.

Step 3

Set your language and then select the "Utilities" menu on the next screen.

Step 4

Select the hard drive to format from the menu on the left of the screen. According to Apple Support, this hard drive is usually labeled "Macintosh HD."

Step 5

Click the "Erase" tab. At the "Volume Format" prompt, leave the option as "Mac OS X Extended (Journaled)" unless you're installing an operating system that requires another setup. Name the hard drive and confirm that you want to format.

Exit Utility Manager after the drive has been formatted. From this point you can install another operating system.

Formatting from Hard Drive

Step 1

Open your main hard drive.

Step 2

Choose "Applications" and then "Utilities."

Step 3

Open "Disk Utility."

Step 4

Click the drive you want to format and then click the "Erase" tab.

Select the volume format, name the drive and then confirm the erase.


  • Back up all data you intend to save. Formatting the hard drive removes all data, including the operating system.


Photo Credits

  • Images

About the Author

Michael Smathers studies history at the University of West Georgia. He has written freelance online for three years, and has been a Demand Studios writer since April 2009. Michael has written content on health, fitness, the physical sciences and martial arts. He has also written product reviews and help articles for video games on BrightHub, and martial arts-related articles on Associated Content.

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