Alternative title: What to do when you get the “macOS Disk Utility Can’t Repair This Disk” message.

Here is a phrase that is always good to hear: no one is perfect.

That same statement goes for all your top-of-the-line electronic devices as well. No component or aspect of your MacBook is immune to glitches, bus, and all sorts of hardware complications. Pixels in the display will die out, keyboards can no longer type out individual letters, and any disk storage unit can malfunction, whether it is a hard drive or solid-state drive. Defects in the hard drive can happen due to corrupted files, or even if something spilled on the Mac and started to affect the disk. While the last one may require a user to look for a company specializing in liquid spill repair, when complications with a MacBook’s disk storage happen, more often than not, a user will not have to take it to a shop.

It is in this situation where Disk Utility will come into play.

What is Disk Utility?

Disk Utility is a pre-installed utility software primarily designed to perform data storage and hard drive-related tasks on macOS devices.

The significant capabilities of this feature include:

  • Format and manage data volumes on internal and external storage devices.
  • Create a disk image to transfer files from one computer to the other.
  • Amalgamate several hard disks into one single RAID set that will act as a single disk.
  • Fix and check for mistakes on a MacBook’s hard drive with its First Aid feature.

Wait, how can Disk Utility fix hard drive difficulties?

To put it straightforwardly, First Aid is a feature that will administrate repairs when one of the following happen to a MacBook’s disk storage:

  • Recurring system crashes.
  • Challenges with saving or creating copies of files.
  • Files are suddenly going missing.
  • Sizes of files randomly changing.
  • Cryptic or creepy error messages.

To start using Disk Utility to repair disk storage, a user will have to open it through Recovery Mode. However, with the MacBook silicon models’ introduction, there will be two different methods to access the recovery menu.

  1. For MacBooks with Intel processors: turn on the device and hold down the Command and R keys.
  2. The Apple silicon models will require a user to hold down the power button until the startup options window appears. Click on the icon with the Options labeled and then select Continue.
  3. Next, type in the password attached to this device.
  4. Third, at the Utilities window in the Recovery menu, select the Disk Utility and click Continue.
  5. In the Disk Utility menu, select which storage disk that you’d like to repair.
  6. There is a dropdown tab next to the Disk Utility title. Click on that and select the Show All Devices option.
  7. On the sidebar of the Disk Utility menu, select the disk storage that needs fixing.
  8. Click on the First Aid button or tab, characterized by a doctor’s stethoscope.
  9. Another window will pop up asking the user to Run First Aid. If this is the volume, click Run. The app begins to tend to whatever issue your storage disk is experiencing.

While First Aid can fix a large portion of hard drive or solid-state drive troubles, there are instances where it just cannot. The user will find themselves staring at their MacBook screen with the words “macOS Disk Utility Can’t Repair This Disk” on it and not having a clue on what to do next.

The dreaded “macOS Disk Utility Can’t Repair This Disk” message is alarming. Here is how to fix this issue.

Before using any of these methods, it is always a quality decision to back up your device with Time Machine. If anything goes wrong during these processes, files or crucial system data will not be lost.

Method 1: Use the FSCK Command to repair it manually.

1a. For Silicon Models:

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the top toolbar and select the Shut Down option.
  2. Hold down the power button until the phrase “Loading startup options” appears on the screen.
  3. Click on Options and type in your password (if requested).

1b. For MacBooks with Intel processors:

  1. Restart the device.
  2. When you hear the system boot-up sound, hold down the Command and S keys to put the system into single-user mode.

2. A terminal opens up with several different lines of code, instructions, and system information. At the bottom, type /sbin/fsk -fynext to the line localhost:/ root#. 

3. The system will start to locate any errors. If there is nothing wrong with it, it will say, “The volume appears to be OK.” If not, it will say, “File system was modified.” Continue to type in the /sbin/fsk -fy line until it is fixed.

4. In a worst-case scenario, there will be a line of dialogue that says, “The volume could not be verified completely.” This means the FSCK tool cannot fix your disk.

Method 2: Erase the Disk and start over!

1. Open Disk Utility once again and select the disk that is currently malfunctioning.

2. Click on the Erase tab located at the top of the Disk Utility window.

3. The Erase window will appear. It will give the user an option to name the disk and change the file format. Changing the name is not super important so that it can stay the default name. However, knowing what the format is, is vital for a few reasons:

  • If the disk is the internal hard drive or an external hard drive or thumb drive is only compatible with macOS devices, do not change the format.
  • However, change the file format to ExFAT if the external storage is compatible with macOS and Windows.4. Once that is finished, click Erase.

4. This is where having a Time Machine back up is essential. Plug in the storage disk that contains your Time Machine backup.

5. Find the folder containing the data that needs to be recovered. Click on it, and in the bottom right-hand corner, click on Restore.

Disk Utility is another helpful, pre-installed tool for your MacBook in an already useful arsenal of pre-installed tools.

Your MacBook, no matter how much money you spent on it, is going to have problems with its software, keyboard, trackpad, and, yes, disk storage. But, just because something is not flawless does not mean there are not solutions. Disk Utility is one such response to any storage issue. And when your system says “Disk Utility can’t repair…” know that there are multiple, good-to-know solutions to that issue.

At MicroReplay, we know a thing or two about MacBooks and how to repair these devices. With over twenty plus years of experience, our company specializes in repairing liquid damaged MacBooks and other high-end laptops.

In need of a liquid spill or cracked screen repair? Book a repair with us today!

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