Not able to access partition menu item to reformat for Mac OS El Capitan

I am attempting to reformat for my Mac. The Partition menu item is greyed out. So, what do I do now?

Reformat your Mac, as in the operating system? Or just a WD external hard drive?

I’ll assume you’re just talking about an external drive. In the Disk Utilities list, you should find the drive and under it, a specific partition. If you select the drive, you should be able to alter the partitions. If you select that partition, you should be able to format it.

Hi Klamation,
Sorry, I should have been more clear!
Yes it is the WD my passport I need to reformat. I went in to my utilities, chose my new WD my passport. I was instructed to chose the partition option, but it is not available (greyed out). So now I’m stuck. Do I erase the new WD instead as that is the other available option…?

Any advice?

Hi @JULIE_HUTCHINSON, if you can see the device in Disk Utilities, but no partition, there should be an option to create a partition on it. Once you do that, you should be able to use it. If Partition is grayed out, it’s probably because you are looking at a current partition.

I was hoping to find a KB article with screenshots, but the ones I found were older versions of Mac OSX. contains some information that might help.

Hi Klamation,

I can’t even create a partition. I have attached a screen shot of my Disk Utility. I went to your link, and it told me to create one… I must be doing something wrong! I am kind of in a panic because my previous WD is no longer working, and I haven’t had a backup in a week or so. I’ve lost things before and I don’t want it to happen again. I think what I am going to have to do is call the support line and talk to someone. Or, do you have any other suggestions?


Hi Julie! That screenshot is perfect! It shows that your drive is already partitioned for a single 2 TB partition, and it’s currently formatted for Windows NTFS.

What you can do now, from that part of the disk you selected, is click “Erase” at the top of the screen. You should be able to choose to format it as a Mac filesystem. Then you should be able to use it as you want. :slight_smile:

I have the same problem but am not even able to erase!

This is “Get Info” screenshot