Reviving a hard drive to use with your Mac is a fairly simple process, although not a short one. In this step-by-step guide, we'll show you how to breathe a bit of life back into an old hard drive, or one that has been giving you some problems.
What You Will Need
Utilities. We're going to use two readily available drive utility applications. The first, Disk Utility, comes free with your Mac. The second, Drive Genius 3, is available from Prosoft Engineering, Inc. You don't need both utilities. We tend to use Drive Genius because it's quite a bit faster than Disk Utility at many tasks. But you can accomplish the same tasks with Disk Utility; it may just take a little longer.
A hard drive. You will obviously need a hard drive, since our goal is to revive a drive and turn it into a reasonably reliable device that you can use for storage. We say "reasonably" reliable, because we don't know what state your drive is in. It could be a drive you've been using all along, but it's been causing minor errors, and you've decided to replace it before it starts creating bigger or more damaging errors. It could be an old drive that's been gathering dust for a while, and who knows what quirks it may or may not be hiding under the hood? Or it could be a drive that has apparently given up the ghost, consistently causing drive errors, but you're determined to give it one last shot at redemption.
Whatever the state of the drive, keep one thing in mind. You probably shouldn't count on it as your primary storage system, including using it as your startup drive or as a backup drive. It will, however, make a great secondary drive. You can use it to hold temporary data, use it for data scratch space, or have fun installing operating systems you want to try out.
A current backup. The process we're going to use will erase the drive, so any data that's on the drive will be lost. If you need the data, be to sure to back it up to another drive or other storage media before proceeding. If the drive is preventing you from backing up the data, you'll need to recover the data before you try to revive the drive. A number of third-party data recovery utilities are available, such as Data Rescue, Techtool Pro, and Disk Warrior.