Home > Resources > Mac > Check and Repair Disk Errors on Mac OS X

2 Ways to Verify and Repair Mac Disk Errors

Undoubtedly, there are lots of reasons that can lead to failed Mac boot. And hard disk error is one of them. So it is urgent to check out the disk errors and repair them in time while you encounter this problem. Otherwise, not only you cannot boot Mac, but also you will lose many important files or folder on Mac.

Fortunately, two built-in utilities have been created in Mac for the problem.

  1. Way 1: Disk utility in recovery mode
  2. Way 2: File system check in single user mode

Way 1: Repair Disk Errors with Disk Utility in Mac Recovery Mode

As we know, while your Mac cannot boot normally, several boot options can help to fix problems. And utilities available in Mac recovery boot, such as Disk Utility, reinstall macOS etc could fix the disk issues. Now let’s see how Disk Utility checks and repairs disk errors.

Step 1: Get to Disk Utility on Mac startup.

Start Mac in recovery mode and you could see four options that it provides to resolve hardware or software issues. Choose the Disk Utility and click Continue to open it.

run disk utility in mac recovery mode

Step 2: Choose the disk you need to repair.

In the left pane, there lists the Mac startup disk and other connected drives. Just click the corrupted or damaged disk from the left pane, or any other drives you want to repair.

choose mac disk to repair


Before checking and repairing disk errors, you can see the selected disk whether it can be verified or repaired by clicking "Info" from top menu.

view mac disk info

Step 3: Run First Aid to check and repair disk errors.

1. Click the First Aid on the top menu and tap on Run button to launch First Aid on Mac.

run first aid to check and repair mac disk

2. Continue while you get a prompting message from First Aid.

continue to run first aid when prompted

3. First Aid will run and check out the possible errors on preferred disk.

4. Click Done button to finish disk repairing when First Aid process is complete.

completely check and repair specified mac disk

At last, you will get three results generally after First Aid process. Click the Show details to view.

Result 1: Nothing is wrong or no errors needed to be repaired.

Then you will receive message like "The volume (the name of disk) appears to be OK".

Result 2: You will get "overlapped extent allocation" errors.

It means two or more files occupy the same space on your disk. Check each of them to see if you can replace or recreate it. If not, check the file content and decide if you can delete it.

Result 3: Get "The underlying task reported failure" errors.

It means the disk has not been fully repaired. You need to run Disk Utility again and try to repair the damaged disk. If it cannot be done, make a backup of your data and then reformat the disk, and reinstall macOS. Or if the errors cannot be repaired because of physical damage, you will need to replace the old damaged disk.

Note: Besides disk repair, you could also use Disk Utility in OS X recovery mode to wipe, or restore or partition disk.


Way 2: Repair Mac Hard Disk in Single User Mode

Besides Disk Utility in Mac recovery boot, there is also a built-in disk diagnostic and repair program called fsck or file system consistency check, which could verify the current startup disk and repair it. But in order to make full use of it via command line, you should enter Mac single user mode.

Step 1: Boot Mac in single user mode.

Turn on your Mac computer. When you hear the startup tone, press and hold on Command + S on the keyboard. Until you see a text-code black screen, release the keys. Now you have successfully access Mac in single user mode and just wait for it starting fully about few seconds.

start up from mac single user mode

Step 2: Check and repair current startup disk.

Generally, the last line should end in root# if Mac has booted successfully in single user mode. Now right after the root# prompt, enter the following command and press Return key.

/sbin/fsck -fy

check and repair mac disk with command in single user mode

Wait for it to check your Mac’s hard drive, such as check extents overflow file, catalog file, multi-linked files, catalog hierarchy, extended attributes file, volume bitmap or information. Lastly, you will be prompted "The volume (name of your hard drive) appears to be OK" or "FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED". Then you will see the root# prompt again.

Step 3: Reboot Mac and exit single use mode.

Enter the command "reboot" and press Return key again. Then your Mac will restart normally from hard drive.

reboot mac after disk repair


It is worth mentioning that forgotten Mac admin password can be reset in recovery mode and single user mode. More details, please go for passage about how to reset Mac admin password if forgot.

Related Articles:

Hot Categories
Windows 10 Password
iTunes Password
More +
Hot Articles
Forgot iTunes Backup Password to Unlock iPhone Backup
3 Ways to Remove iPhone iTunes Backup Password
iTunes Backup Password Recovery No Apple ID
How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages iPhone after Factory Reset
How to Restore iPad Mini Videos without Apple ID
More +
Latest Articles
Forgot iOS Backup Password after iOS 10 Update
Locked out of iOS 7/8/9/10 after Forgot iPhone Passcode
How to Get iPhone/iPad/iPod in or out of Recovery Mode
More +
Hot Products
Windows Password Genius
iTunes Password Genius
Product Key Finder
More +