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Disk Utility Can't Repair This Disk? Try This Way

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 15, 2024 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

My Mac's disk is not functioning properly and every time I try to repair it, I get the Error: Disk Utility can't repair this disk. Back up as many of your files as possible, reformat the disk, and restore your backed-up files. Can someone tell me how to resolve this disk utility issue?

Disk Utility is one of the most resourceful utility tools in Mac that offers tons of features. Whenever there is an issue with Mac's hard drive, users take the assistance of its "First Aid" feature. Surprisingly, there are times when it doesn't seem to work and displays the "Disk Utility can't repair the disk" error instead. While it might seem a bit complicated at first, you can easily fix the Disk Utility first aid failed error in no time. This guide will explain the same in a step by step user-friendly manner.

disk utility can't repair the disk

Part 1. Why Disk Utility Fails to Repair a Disk?

Before we get into the details and learn ways to fix Disk Utility that can't repair the disk, let's quickly know what Disk Utility is all about and the common reasons for this error.

What Is Disk Utility?

Disk Utility is an inbuilt utility application in Mac that helps us manage its internal or external hard drive. Ideally, Disk Utility can help you create or merge partitions, erase a hard drive, unmount it, and even repair a failed Mac hard drive. The "First Aid" option is one of the most widely used features of Disk Utility. It can be used to fix various kinds of issues related to a hard drive without undergoing any data loss.

what is disk utility

Main causes of the Disk Utility error

There are times when the Disk Utility first aid feature is failed. Ideally, it can happen due to the following reasons:

Part 2. Steps to Fix the "Disk Utility Can't Repair This Disk" Error

Ideally, it doesn't take a lot of effort to fix the Disk Utility can't repair disk issue. Firstly, you need to back up the existing data on the disk as it might stop functioning anytime. Once it is done, you can reformat the disk or fix the root issue behind it. In the end, you can restore the backup data and start using your Mac the usual way. Here's a stepwise solution to fix Disk Utility first aid failed issue like a pro.

Step 1 Backup your Disk's Content

When we get the Disk Utility can't repair this disk prompt, it is recommended to take a backup of our data first. Mostly, the error depicts that the disk is not stable and can get corrupt anytime. Therefore, if you don't want to suffer from an unwanted loss of your files, then consider taking a dedicated backup.

To do this, you can use an external hard drive and simply copy-and-paste your files on it. Besides that, you can also take the assistance of a Time Machine for a smoother process.

1. Firstly, connect your external drive to your Mac using a working cable. As soon as it gets detected it, Time Machine will automatically display the following prompt. Just select the "Use as Backup Disk" feature to proceed.

back up disk utility

2. In case you don't get this prompt, then you can manually launch the Time Machine tool from Mac's System Preferences.

3. Now, just select the backup disk and start the process. Wait for a while as Time Machine would take a dedicated backup of your disk on the external drive. Just make sure that the external drive has enough free storage in advance.

back up disk utility 1

Step 2 Fix the Disk Utility Error

Great! Once you have taken a backup of your important files, you can easily fix the Disk Utility first aid failed error. The following are some of the major solutions to this.

Fix 1: Use First Aid to repair this disk again

To try other methods before, it's recommended to run First Aid to repair this disk one more time. It is one of the most tried and tested solutions. Here are the specific steps:

1. Go to Launchpad and find Other. Then open Disk Utility.

2. All the disks and volumes will be listed on the left pane. Select the disk you wish to repair.

disk utility first aid

3. Click First Aid at the top.

disk utility first aid repair disk

4. After that, click Run. Then it will check and repair the disk errors.

It will take some time to complete the process, which depends on the capacity and condition of the drive.

Fix 2: Fix Disk Utility Can't Repair This Disk by Using the FSCK Command

If the Disk Utility First Aid Repair failed on your mac, it's time to try the FSCK command to fix Disk Utility can't repair the disk issue. FSCK is an inbuilt command in Mac that can help us manually repair a disk. Though, to run it, you need to first boot your system in a single user mode. Later, you can follow these basic steps to fix Disk Utility can't repair the disk error. We will show you how to repair internal disk and external disk respectively using this method.

Repair Internal Disk

1. Restart your Mac and hold the Command + S keys for a few seconds while it boots. This will automatically boot it in a single user mode.

2. Once the terminal window of the single user mode is launched, you can just type the command "/sbin/fsck –fy". This is a disk repair and diagnostic command that will scan the disk and would try to fix it automatically.

fix disk utility can't repair disk with command

3. Since the disk would be read-only in the single-user mode, you need to change that first. To do this, you need to type the command "/sbin/mount -uw /" and press enter.

4. If everything goes well, then you will get the "The volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK" prompt. If not, then enter the "fsck –fy" command a few times till you get this expected message.

5. That's it! Once the Macintosh HD is fixed, you can enter the "reboot" command to restart your system in normal mode.

fix disk utility can't repair disk with command 1

Repair External Disk

1. For older Mac users, restart your Mac and hold the Command + S keys for a few seconds while it boots. This will automatically boot it in a single-user mode. If you're an M1 Mac user, press and hold Command+R while Mac restarting, then choose Utilities>Terminal.

2. Input the command line: diskutil list and press Enter. This will help you find all the external hard drives connected to your computer.

fix disk utility can't repair disk with command 2

3. Check and copy the identifier information of the external hard drive that you want to repair. It will be used in the next step.

fix disk utility can't repair disk with command 3

4. Now, input the command line: /sbin/fsck_file system –fy /dev/drive identifier. For example, if you want to repair the disk0s2, it would be: /sbin/fsck_hfs /dev/disk0.

fix disk utility can't repair disk with command 4

5. Then, press Enter to start checking and repairing the disk.

Fix 3: Fix Disk Utility Can't Repair This Disk by Reformatting the Disk

If the FSCK command is not able to fix the Disk Utility first aid failed problem, then you can also format the disk. Needless to say, this will erase all the existing data from the disk and will also get rid of any malicious entity from it. To do this, you can also take the assistance of Mac's Disk Utility.

1. Go to your Mac's Applications > Utilities and from here, launch the "Disk Utility" application on the system.

2. As the Disk Utility window will open, you can view the Macintosh HD and the available partitions (or the external sources). Simply select the disk that you wish to format.

3. Now, click on the "Erase" button on the right and confirm your choice when the following pop-up would appear. You can also select the file format and partition scheme of the disk from here.

4. Click on the "Erase" button again and wait as the disk would be formatted. Later, you can restart your Mac and try to access the disk again.

fix disk utility can't repair disk by reformatting the disk

Step 3 Recover your backup

Once you have fixed the Disk Utility can't repair disk issue, you can recover your data. If you have formatted the disk, then all the existing data on it would be lost. The good thing is that you have already maintained a backup of your disk on Time Machine. Now, you can again take its assistance to restore your backup.

1. To begin with, connect your Time Machine disk to Mac and launch the Time Machine application from System Preferences.

2. The Time Machine drive will open for you to browse. Use the arrow keys on the side to browse the backup files.

3. Once you find the data you are looking for, just click on the "Restore" button to save it to its original location.

fix disk utility can't repair disk by backup recovery

In case if you have not maintained a prior backup of your data, then you can use a recovery tool. For instance, with the help of Recoverit Data Recovery, you can get back the content from a formatted hard drive. We have explored this solution in the next section.

Part 3. How to Recover Data After Mac Disk Repair?

A lot of times, when users get the "Disk Utility can't repair this disk" error, then simply format the drive without taking its backup. In this case, you can take the assistance of Wondershare Recoverit data recovery software. Developed by Wondershare, it is one of the most reliable data recovery tools for Mac. It doesn't matter what kind of data you have lost and under which scenario, Recoverit will fix it all. This even includes recovering data from a formatted hard drive, corrupt storage, Trash deletion, accidental deletion, and so on.

Video Tutorial on How to Recover Deleted Files on Mac Even Emptied Trash?

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Step 1 Select a source to scan

Install and launch Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery on your Mac as soon as you suffer from any unwanted data loss. On the home page of Recoverit, you can see various locations like hard drives, partitions, folders, etc. Just select the formatted hard drive and click on the "Start" button.

recover files

Step 2 Scan the source

Sit back and wait for a few minutes for Recoverit to extract all kinds of lost content from the hard drive. It might take a while for the process to be completed. Though, you can pause the process in between if you want to.

scan the source to recover files

Step 3 Restore your data

Once the process is over, all the extracted files will be listed under different categories for you to preview. You can preview the extracted photos, videos, and even documents. Select the files of your choice and click on the "Recover" button to save them.

restore the data

Part 4. Tips for Using Disk Utility and Mac Hard Drive

By now, you would be able to fix the Disk Utility first aid failed issue like a pro. If you don't want to go through a similar situation again, then consider following these tips.

If your system is running on an old or outdated version of macOS, then it might cause issues like Disk Utility can't repair the disk. To avoid this, simply go to your Mac's settings and check for updates. An upgraded system will have fewer chances of encountering these issues.

Most of the Mac users only use the First Aid feature of Disk Utility to fix their hard drives. Ideally, it is recommended to use this feature every once in a while. This will help you diagnose the overall health of the hard drive and you can take preventive measures beforehand.

Mac users often suffer from limited free space on their hard drives. If the disk is packed and does not have enough free space, then it might cause more problems to your system. Therefore, make sure that at least 20% of the hard disk remains empty at any cost.

Disk Utility also makes it easier for us to create, delete, and merge partitions. Ideally, you can keep the firmware and the user data in different partitions to make sure that you can manage your partitions more efficiently.

There are all kinds of third-party tools out there for macOS that works as a substitute to Disk Utility. While they might seem like a more convenient solution, they can cause more harm to your system than good. Carefully pick these third-party tools and only go with a reliable solution.

There you go! Now when you know how to fix the Disk Utility can't repair this disk issue, you can easily overcome this problem. Since the solution might involve the formatting of the disk, you can consider using a recovery tool like Recoverit. Even if you have not taken a prior backup of your drive, Recoverit would let you get back the lost and formatted content from it. Since it offers a free trial, you can easily give it a shot without spending a single penny.


What do you do when Disk Utility cannot repair the disk?

We suggest that you repair the partition or disk. If that doesn't work, it is better to back up the data and reinstall the macOS. Also, you must reformat the disk before reinstalling the macOS. Once the macOS is reinstalled, you can restore the data.

How do I fix a corrupted hard drive Mac?

There are various ways of fixing the corrupted hard drive Mac, such as using the disk utility. You can also use the time machine backup drive. Moreover, you can opt for external hard drive recovery services.

What does Restore in Disk Utility do?

When the images and data are restored in disk utility, the data is overwritten with a backup copy. Also, the hard drive is erased and it will be replaced by the backup.

Does the repair disk on Mac erase data?

No, it does not delete or erase data since it will only erase the drive. For the most part, it can only impact the filesystem and directory.

Can't find Macintosh HD disk utility?

The Macintosh HD disk utility can be found by using the recovery mode and running the FSCK commands. In addition, it can be fixed by switching to the safe mode. Lastly, you can reset the NVRAM on your Macintosh.

Recoverit author

Theo Lucia

chief Editor

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