A Complete Guide to Fix "Erase Process Has Failed" on Mac

Getting the Erase Process had Failed Error on Mac while formatting a drive? Here’s an extensive post to help you fix Disk Utility Erase Process has failed issue.

Mar 29,2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

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“I wanted to format my Macintosh HD using Disk Utility, but I got the Erase Process has Failed error on Mac instead. Can someone tell me how to overcome the Mac Disk Utility Erase Process has failed situation?”

Erase process has failed on Mac

While the problem is not that common, chances are that you might also get the Disk Utility Erase Process has failed error on your Mac. The problem happens when we try to format the Macintosh HD or any other external hard disk. Since it can happen due to a device or a firmware related issue, it is important to diagnose the problem first. In this guide, I’m going to tell you how to resolve erase process has failed on Mac with some other smart suggestions.

Part 1: Why the Erase Process Fails on Mac?

In order to learn different ways to fix the Mac Disk Utility erase process has failed error, it is important to diagnose it first. Following are some of the major reasons for the error to help you understand its causes.

Once we get the “Error Process has Failed” prompt on Mac, the Disk Utility halts the formatting process in between. As a result, we are not able to erase the Mac drive (or an external device) using Disk Utility. Therefore, if want to troubleshoot a problem or would like to format the disk, then you need to find ways to overcome it.


Part 2: Common Fixes to Solve “Erase Process Has Failed” on Mac

Since there could be various reasons for getting the erase process has failed error on Mac, you might look for different ways to fix it. Here are some suggestions that you can implement to fix the Disk Utility erase process has failed error.

Method 1: Erase your Disk via Terminal

If there is a problem with the Disk Utility application on your Mac, then you can try to do the same via Terminal. It is a cleaner approach to erase a disk and would help you meet your requirements easily.

Step 1. To start with, go to Finder and navigate to Applications > Utility to launch the Terminal app as an administrator.

Erase process has failed on Mac

Step 2. Once the Terminal application is opened, just type the command “diskutil list” and press return. This will display detailed information regarding various disks and volumes in your Mac. From here, please note the identifier of the disk you wish to format (like disk2 or disk1).

Erase process has failed on Mac

Step 3. Great! Once you have noted the identifier, use the “eraseDisk” command to erase the entire disk or the “eraseVolume” command to just erase a volume.

Step 4. The entire format of the diskutil command is diskutil eraseDisk . For instance, to format the disk2 in the HFS+ format, you can just enter the command “diskutil eraseDisk HFS+ DISK disk2” and press the return key.

Step 5. After that, just wait for the commands to process as your selected disk would be formatted in the supported file system.

Erase process has failed on Mac

Method 2: Update the macOS

As stated above, if your Mac is running on an outdated firmware version, then it can encounter the Disk Utility erase process has failed problem. Thankfully, it can easily be fixed by updating your Mac to its latest supported firmware. You can look for the latest update for macOS from the App Store. Alternatively, you can also click on the Apple logo from the top, go to System Preferences > Software Update and check for updates from here.

Erase process has failed on Mac

Method 3: Erase Selected Volumes Instead

Sometimes, users get the erase process has failed error on Mac while formatting the entire disk. Therefore, you can consider formatting selected volumes of the disk instead. In this way, you can check whether the issue is with a selected volume or not.

Step 1. Firstly, go to your Mac’s Finder > Applications > Utility and launch the Disk Utility application on your system.

Step 2. Once the Disk Utility application is launched, go to the top-left corner of the interface. From the dropdown menu, you can choose to view all volumes or external devices.

Erase process has failed on Mac

Step 3. Now, just select a volume from the sidebar (instead of the entire disk) and click on the “Erase” button on the toolbar to format it.

Erase process has failed on Mac

Similarly, you can try to erase the entire disk as well to further diagnose the problem. In this way, you can be sure whether the problem is with the entire disk or selected volumes.

Method 4: Adjust the Security Levels for Formatting an External Device

If you are getting the Disk Utility erase process has failed error while formatting an external device, then you should follow this drill. Ideally, if the security level for the USB drive or the external hard disk is too high, then the Disk Utility might not be able to successfully format it. To adjust its security level and fix the erase process has failed on Mac, follow these steps:

Step 1. Firstly, launch the Disk Utility application on your Mac and make sure the external device is connected to it.

Step 2. Now, select the external device from the sidebar and click on the “Erase” button. As the following pop-up would be launched, go to its Security Options.

Erase process has failed on Mac

Step 3. From here, you can just adjust the security level for formatting the external device. I would recommend keeping the security level on the lower side to avoid getting the erase process has failed error on Mac.

Erase process has failed on Mac


Part 3: A Complete Process to Erase Hard Drive on Mac

By following the above-listed techniques, you would be able to overcome the Disk Utility erase process has failed issue. Though, if you don’t want to encounter it in the first place, then make sure you take all the right steps to erase a hard drive on Mac. If you don’t make any mistake and there are no issues with your system, then you will not encounter the Mac Disk Utility erase process has failed issue.

There can be different reasons for formatting a hard drive or an external device on Mac. Some of them can be as follows:

It doesn’t matter what your reason for formatting a hard drive or external device is – the process is extremely easy. I have already provided a smart solution to format a disk via Terminal above that you can follow. Although, to format the disk via Mac’s graphic user interface, the following steps can be taken.

Step 1: Launch the Disk Utility application

As you know, Disk Utility is responsible to run formatting and erasing operations on the disk. Therefore, you can just go to Finder > Applications > Utility and launch the Disk Utility application from here.

Erase process has failed on Mac

Step 2: Select a Disk or Device to format

Now, you can view a list of all the available disks and the connected devices on the sidebar of the Disk Utility application. If you want, you can go to the dropdown menu from the top-left corner to view all volumes and devices. From here, you can just select a disk, volume, or even an external device that you wish to format.

Erase process has failed on Mac

Step 3: Erase the selected disk

After selecting the internal drive or the external device of your choice, just go to the Disk Utility toolbar on the right and click on the “Erase” button.

Erase process has failed on Mac

This will launch a pop-up window, so that you can make the needed changes to format the drive. For instance, you can give it a new name, change its file system, or even its partitioning scheme. After making the appropriate changes, just click on the “Erase” button and wait for a while as the selected drive would be erased.

Erase process has failed on Mac


Part 4: Tips for Erasing a Disk Without Losing Data

Needless to say, when we format a disk, all the saved data in it is automatically erased. Therefore, if you don’t want to lose your important files in the process, then consider taking a backup of your data in advance. For instance, you can manually copy your data and save it in another location (like another volume or an external hard disk). Apart from that, you can also use Time Machine to take an entire backup of your drive that you can later restore.

Erase process has failed on Mac

Though, if you have not taken a prior backup and has formatted your disk, then using a data recovery tool would be an ideal solution. You can take the assistance of Wondershare Recoverit, which is an extremely reliable data recovery application, supporting all the major macOS versions. By following a simple click-through process, you can get back your lost photos, videos, music, documents, and kinds of data. The application has one of the highest data recovery rates and can be used in the following way:

Step 1: Pick a source to scan

Firstly, launch the Recoverit Data Recovery application on your Mac by visiting its Finder > Applications. Now, from its home, you can just select a location to scan. It can be any drive, volume, or even an external device. You can also select a particular folder to scan too.

mac data recovery

Step 2: Start the data extraction process

After selecting a source, simply commence the data recovery process that would scan the selected location. You can wait for the process to be over, view the scanning results, and even halt the process in between.

mac scanning lost files

The application also provides different filters for you to search for the files that you have lost. You can filter the searched results by file size, type, last modified date, and so on.

mac filter recovered files

Step 3: Restore your deleted files

After completing the process, the application will automatically list the extracted content under different categories. You can now preview your photos, videos, music, documents, etc. here and select the files you wish to get back. In the end, just click on the “Recover” button and go to a secure location to restore your deleted data.

mac audio files recovery

I’m sure that after reading this guide, you would be able to fix the Disk Utility Erase Process has failed issue on your Mac. As you can see, I have listed different tried-and-tested solutions for the “Erase Process has Failed” error on Mac that you can implement. Besides that, I have also provided a step by step solution to successfully erase a hard drive (or an external device). Though, if you have ended up erasing your data by mistake, then just use Recoverit Data Recovery. Recommended by experts, it will let you get back all kinds of data from different sources on your Mac without any hassle.

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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