How to View & Mount Hidden Partitions in Mac OS X with Debug Menu in Disk Utility
By enabling a hidden debug feature in Disk Utility, you are able to both view and mount hidden partitions on hard drives in Mac OS X. Hidden partitions include things like Linux swap, GUID partitions, a Windows Recovery drive, and the Mac OS X Recovery HD partition, and once they’re mounted they can be edited or formatted just like any other drive. There are many cases where you’ll want access to these hidden partitions, and we’ll show you exactly how to do that.
How to Enable Debug Menu in Disk Utility to Show & Mount Hidden Partitions in Mac OS X
Before gaining access to the hidden partitions you will need to turn on the hidden debug menu within Disk Utility:
- Quit out of Disk Utility, and launch Terminal to type the following defaults write command:
defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility DUDebugMenuEnabled 1
- Relaunch Disk Utility and look for “Debug” to appear alongside ‘Help’
- Click on the new Debug menu and pull down and select “Show every partition” so that a checkmark appears next to it
- Now the hidden partitions will displayed alongside mounted visible partitions, but they will appear grey rather than black
- Right-click on the greyed out partition to mount and choose “Mount [Drive Name]”
Going back to the Finder, you’ll now find the hidden partition is now visible as any other drive, and it will even appear on the Desktop if you have icons shown there. Be aware that if you start moving or deleting files on crucial partitions like Recovery HD, they very well may not work when you need them to.
It’s really not recommended without a compelling reason (like downgrading to 10.6), but you can delete “Recovery HD” using this method to make the drive visible. That may be necessary if you’re planning on undoing a dual boot between Snow Leopard 10.6 and Lion but otherwise is likely not a good idea.
How to Disable the Disk Utility Debug Menu on Mac OS X
To hide the debug menu again from Disk Utility, use the following defaults write command:
defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility DUDebugMenuEnabled 0
Note this applies to versions of Mac OS X prior to El Capitan, like Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, and Lion, as the Debug menu was removed from later versions of Disk Utility in MacOS Mojave, Catalina, High Sierra, Sierra, etc.
If you know of any method to enable the Debug menu in later versions of Mac OS X, share with us in the comments below.