Is disk utility not loading on macOS? Do This!


Is disk utility is not loading on Apple macOS? Don’t worry you are not alone!

The following article focuses on providing several solutions for this problem to resolve the situation.

What is MacOS Disk Utility?

The macOS Disk Utility is a tool that allows you to manage disks and volumes in a graphical manner. This application does not exist in all versions of macOS, even though it seems to be present by default on most of them.

The Disk Utility app can either be used from Recovery Mode or Single User Mode, depending on whether your computer has been set up correctly or not during initial installation. In any case, make sure that you have booted your Mac from its actual operating system before proceeding with any other actions below.

In our specific case, if you are unable to access Disk Utility on macOS High Sierra, it is most likely due to the fact that your Startup Disk has not been set correctly. This can be fixed by following the instructions available in this article.

Restarting your iMac/MacBook

1. Click the Apple Menu icon located at the top left corner of your macOS screen. Select “Restart” from this dropdown menu, then click directly on “Restart.”

2. While this happens presss and hold Command+R as it boots allows you to boot from Recovery Mode.

3. Once in Recovery Mode, open Terminal and type the following command: “diskutil list”


4. This will reveal all the different disks available on your computer, including their names and designations. In our specific example, as we have already mentioned above, we had an iMac with macOS High Sierra installed; therefore we can see that our primary disk is called Macintosh HD and that its main partition is called “System”.

5. We now need to enter Single User Mode by typing: ” sudo -s ” (note that this has to be typed using a lowercase ‘S’). By entering the root password, provided during installation of macOS/OS X, you will now be in the root command prompt.

6. You can now continue with the following commands, which you will need to type one by one: diskutil partitionDisk /dev/<disk name> GPT JHFS+ <volume name> 0g where: disk name is the designation of your disk as shown on this list above (in our case it is ” disk0 “), and after entering this line, press Enter; volume name is a case-sensitive label for your volume (in our case it is ” Macintosh HD “, but make sure you do not enter a space between ‘Mac’ and ‘h’);  after typing each command press Enter before typing the next, otherwise some of the commands might fail.

7. In order to make the label case-sensitive, you have to add an exclamation mark before it.

8. After this step, you should see a new volume on your Desktop. It will be named Macintosh HD . Now press Cmd+Q to close Terminal and return to Finder. When pressing Enter , Disk Utility should start loading normally.

Attempt running the Disk Utility in Safe mode

Booting into safe mode could help you solve problems with your startup disk. Safe mode prevents some programs from opening until you are able to choose them yourself.

1. First, switch off the computer by holding down on the power button until it shuts down completely.

2. Then turn on the computer again but this time hold Cmd+S as soon as you hear the chime sound or see the screen turning white.

3. Keep holding Cmd+S until Terminal loads and appears onscreen.

4. Type in fsck -fy and press Enter . Now type in mount -uw / and press Enter again.

5. This will allow you to run Disk Utility without issues when booting into macOS normally (Cmd+R).

6. You can then run Disk Utility whenever needed ( FSCK is a command that is used to check the file system of a volume or disk for any inconsistencies.

7. It is part of the Mac’s Disk Utility tool that can check volumes/disks and repair them if need be, provided that they are not in use by any files. fsck stands for file system consistency check).

If you still have problems getting Disk Utility to load up properly, we will need to repair your Mac as it may be necessary to reinstall macOS completely .

If you are still unable to boot macOS High Sierra, make sure you read our guide about how to fix a booting problem for macOS . On the other hand, if you are trying to access Disk Utility from Recovery Mode or Single User Mode and still can’t do it even though your computer was able to start up correctly, read on the next section below.

Duplicating this issue on all versions of Mac OS X

This utility does not exist on both macOS Mojave 10.14 and macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 – which is why I have provided instructions there as well.

Now, you have to reboot your Mac – either from within macOS or by pressing the power button on your machine and choosing Restart from the popup menu that appears. Once it has rebooted, perform these steps:

1. Click on the  Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen and choose About This Mac .

2. Click on More info… under your device’s name. If you own a MacBook Pro, then click on System Report instead.

3.  Pick Boot into Safe Mode from the list of options that appear under Startup sections heading. If you’re not seeing this option, read our guide about how to boot into safe mode on a Mac here .

If you’re running OS X Yosemite 10.10 or later, then you can use the following steps:

1. Click on the  Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen and choose Restart… .

2. Hold down Command + R until you see macOS restart. Once it has rebooted, hold down Shift to continue booting your machine into Safe Mode.

3. Until you become familiar with using Finder, we recommend that you skip changing permissions for now. Instead, go to Disk Utility (located at /Applications/Utilities ) and erase your boot drive’s hard drive by clicking on Continue . Then try starting up again before proceeding with changing your disk’s permissions.

4. Boot into Safe Mode by either choosing Shutdown from the popup menu that appears when you press the power button on your machine and holding down the s key as your computer restarts, or by restarting your machine with the power button and holding down Shift at the restart screen.

Change the permissions

If you find that Disk Utility is now loading as expected, change the permission of your boot drive’s hard drive to ensure that all items on it are accessible by everyone (even those without an account):

1. Select Finder from the top menu bar > Go > Utilities .

2. Open Terminal , located in /Utilities folder.

3. Copy this command into Terminal : sudo chmod -R a+rw /

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...