How to Fix Accidentally Erased/Deleted Macintosh HD in Disk Utility

Updated to Troubleshooting Tips by William on Nov 23, 2023 | Approved by Jennifer Allen

"I accidentally deleted Macintosh HD. I planed to erase the files in Macintosh HD, however, the macOS also got erased. I have a problem boot my Mac now. any way for how to fix deleted Macintosh HD?"

It’s not rare for people to accidentally delete Macintosh HD in disk utility. Before they do, they just do not realize how important the Macintosh HD hard drive is. Check out the following information, make clear the risks and fixes for accidentally erased Macintosh HD.

Part 1. What happens if I erase Macintosh HD in Disk Utility?

Disk Utility is mac built-in app for users to carry out disk related tasks. It’s OK to use it to erase external hard drives, even accidentally erased external hard drives on Mac, because you can restore the erased external disk with Time Machine backup or get back deleted important files with data recovery software. However, it’s quite different for erasing Macintosh HD in Disk Utility.

Macintosh HD is the default folder on Mac to store files as well as macOS system data. Many people mean to erase files saved in Macintosh HD but with result in accidentally deleted the whole Macintosh HD drive. What does it mean? It means you have also erased the startup disk of your Mac. If you’re lucky enough, all the files, data, and applications are removed, and you just need to reinstall macOS and you will do it successfully. If not luck, you have to face errors while boot your Mac as well as reinstall your Mac.

Part 2. How do I recover a deleted Macintosh HD?

1. How to Restore Accidentally Deleted Macintosh HD Files

If your Mac works well even after you deleted Macintosh HD files, and you want to retrieve some deleted files from there, then you’re supposed to make use of data recovery software or Time Machine backup. All the erased files from Macintosh HD are not likely to be put in into the trash bin. There is no way to restore directly from the trash bin. Then you must make use of backup files or professional data recovery software for macOS.

#1. If you don’t have backed Macintosh HD to Time Machine yet, using iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac could be a great option. It will scan the Macintosh HD drive, looking for all the recoverable files for you to get back. Almost all the daily used file types are fully supported. Here are the simple steps for how to recover files from accidentally deleted/erased Macintosh HD drives.

  1. Download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac.
  2. Launch the Macintosh HD recovery software for your Mac.
  3. Click "Start" in the first window.
  4. In the next window, please select Macintosh HD as the drive to scan and click "Scan".
  5. Select files to preview. When finding the wanted files, select them and click "Recover" to save them on your Mac.

#2. Restore Erased Macintosh HD with Time Machine Backup

It’s much easier to fix the deleted Macintosh HD data if you have a Time Machine backup file. if you had backed Macintosh HD up before the deletion or erasing, then you can restore the files after deleting macintosh HD by accident.

  1. On the top left of your Mac, click System Preferences > Time Machine.
  2. After opening Time Machine, check the box "Show Time Machine in menu bar".
  3. Click Time Machine in the menu bar and select "Enter Time Machine".
  4. Scroll up and down to target the files you want to restore to accidentally erased Macintosh HD.
  5. Select the needed files and click "Restore".

2. How to fix accidentally deleted Macintosh HD in disk utility

Disk Utility is able to erase a hard drive, it is also able to recover an erased hard drive. You can also use it to get back the erased Macintosh HD. If you have accidentally erased the startup disk on Mac, then to restore the accidentally erased Macintosh HD, please enter Recovery Mode to do the task.

  1. Switch your Mac on and hold down Command (⌘) and R keys at the same time. Click Disk Utility.
  2. In the next window, please find the startup disk on Mac, Macintosh HD, or the hard drive named as the system and select it, click "Restore".
  3. In the next window, you should select a Time Machine backup to restore the erased Macintosh HD. Wait for the restore process to finish.

3. How to Restore Deleted Macintosh HD with Time Machine Backup

Erasing Macintosh HD most of the time means erasing startup disk on Mac as well. How do I recover a deleted Macintosh HD? If there is a Time Machine backup file, everything will be ok. Just restore deleted Macintosh HD with Time Machine backup file.

  1. If the Time Machine backup is on an external hard drive, please connect the hard drive with your Mac first.
  2. Turn on your Mac. Hold down Command (⌘) and R keys at the same time.
  3. Click Restore from Time Machine.
  4. Select the Time Machine backup to restore the accidentally deleted startup disk on Mac.

Part 3. Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Erased/Deleted Macintosh HD

Q: Do I need to erase Macintosh HD data?

A: If you do not have experience in managing macOS, you’d better not erase Macintosh HD data. If you do, you may make your Mac quit working and do not know how to reinstall it. My suggestion for you is to delete files selectively. After then, use iBeesoft iClear to clean up junk files.

Even for people who know computers well, she or he may get into trouble of managing macOS. Don’t try anything you’re not good at or familiar with.

Q: I erased Macintosh HD and there is a problem of boot it up. I had to reinstall the macOS mavericks. There was a prohibitory symbol on Macbook in the process of reinstalling macOS.

A: The prohibitory symbol/line through it on Mac means there is a problem with your startup disk. You should use First Aid in Disk Utility or restore macOS with Time Machine backup to fix it before go on the reinstall process.

Q: How do I add Macintosh HD to Disk Utility?

A: Restart your Mac > Hold down Command (⌘) and R key > select Disk Utility. Next, in Disk Utility window, click View menu > select "Show All Devices".