Accidentally Deleted Macintosh HD? 2024 Reasons and Fixes

Accidentally deleted Macintosh HD will erase all files saved on the drive and may render the Mac unbootable. Learn how to recover after inadvertently destroying a startup drive on a Mac in this post.

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Accidentally Deleted Macintosh HD - Overview

It's not uncommon for people to accidentally delete Macintosh HD in the disk utility. If your Mac only has one internal hard drive, it could be the Macintosh HD, the default boot disk. Accidentally erasing the starting disk on a Mac, whether built-in or external, might be disastrous.

You can check out the following information to understand the hazards for inadvertently deleted Macintosh HD.

When trying to erase the data on my hard drive on my MacBook Air M1, I stupidly deleted the whole Macintosh HD hard drive! I also don't have a time machine backup! I'm not bothered about my files as I backed those up on an external hard drive; I just want to be able to re-install Big Sur. All I was left with in the disk utility was "Data" and the macOS base system. Still, when I tried to reinstall Big Sur, it said, "An error occurred while reading the device owners. Ensure that a user is allowed to administer this computer".

- from Apple Community

Whether you unintentionally deleted the hard drive on your Mac or something else caused this to happen, your situation may not be bleak just yet. Suppose the problem occurred recently, and the drive was not physically destroyed. In that case, a few tried-and-true data recovery procedures can help you solve your problem and recover lost data from your Mac hard drive.

Let us learn 4 different ways and recover "accidentally deleted Macintosh HD". Before that, don't forget to mark this passage by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, or SNS.


Recover Data from Accidentally Deleted Macintosh HD

If you utilize the Disk Utility to format your disk, you may still find yourself missing essential images, documents, emails, or films on your Macintosh HD. All of the deleted files from Macintosh HD are unlikely to be discarded. It is not possible to recover directly from the trash bin. Then you should try professional macOS data recovery software. All of these issues could be resolved immediately by employing a professional Macintosh HD data recovery program - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

It has more highlights:

  • 💼Mac data recovery from NTFS, HFS, HFS+, HFSX, HFS Wrapper, FAT, and APFS file system volumes is supported.
  • 📷It supports the preview of scanned photographs, audio, and videos and allows you to pick exactly what you wish to recover.
  • 🗑️Recover data from an empty Trash bin, a formatted hard drive/USB/memory card, missing partitions, and so on.
  • 💽Recover all common file types from your Mac hard disk, including documents, pictures, movies, and other files.

Follow the steps below to recover data from accidentally deleted Macintosh HD:

Step 1. Select the location to scan

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac and choose the hard drive, SSD,  SD card, USB flash drive, or TF card where you lost data. Click "Search for lost files" to start scanning.

Note: Before data recovery, you'd better click "Disk Backup" from the left sidebar to create a backup of your Mac to avoid further data loss. After backing up, the software can recover data from the Mac backup, and your computer can wirte new data again.

select a location and click search for lost files

Step 2. Filter lost Mac data

The software will automatically scan for lost data on MacBook/iMac. When the scan completes, filter wanted data through the "Type" and "Path" buttons.

filter lost files in types

Step 3. Recover lost data or files

Double-click a file to preview it. Then, click the "Recover" button to restore the lost data to another place. 

click recover to recover lost data

Restore Accidentally Deleted Macintosh HD in Disk Utility

Using the Disk Utility is one of the best methods for recovering an unintentionally erased Macintosh HD on a Mac. This device, among other things, allows you to restore one volume from another, format, clone, and partition disks. So, how can you recover your accidentally deleted Macintosh HD? The Disk utility capabilities are the simplest way to accomplish this task, as they will be the only item you will be able to access on the device.

Here's how to use Disk Utilities to recover an inadvertently erased Macintosh HD.

Step 1. Launch Disk Utility on your Mac (from the Finder, select "Applications" > "Utilities").

Finder Mac

Step 2. Click "View" - "Show All devices". Look through the various devices on the left sidebar and select the one you want to recover.

Show all Devices

Step 3. Select the volume from which you want to recover the drive by using the arrows near Restore.

Step 4. To begin the recovery procedure, click "Restore".

Restore option

Restore Macintosh HD Backup from Time Machine

Time machine is Apple's approach for backing up everything on your Mac via images or snapshots, allowing you to recover a single file or the entire system as needed. If it is an erased and unbootable Macintosh HD drive, you must first reinstall macOS in recovery mode before recovering data with Time Machine.

Step 1. Connect the drive with the necessary Time Machine backup version to your Mac.

Step 2. Boot your Mac into macOS recovery mode.

Step 3. From the macOS Utilities screen, select "Restore from Time Machine", then press the "Continue" button.

Restore from Time Machine

Step 4.Follow the onscreen steps to complete the recovery process and restart your Mac.

Step 5.Continue after selecting the Time Machine backup drive. If the drive is encrypted, enter the password.

Step 6. Select the Macintosh HD to which the backup content will be restored and click "Restore".


Step 7. Reboot your Mac.

recover files

Recover Deleted Files Mac Without Time Machine

This article discuss 4 different methods to recover deleted files Mac without Time Machine, and you can find something useful in this post. Read more >>

Repair Macintosh HD in Mac Recovery Mode

If you are unable to start your computer after deleting Macintosh HD, the best remedy is to boot it in Mac Recovery Mode. Following that, you can repartition the starting drive and reinstall the macOS.

Here's how to utilize Recovery mode on an M1-based Mac to recover the Macintosh HD/startup disk:

Step 1. Go to the Apple menu, select "Restart", and then quickly press and hold the power button. When the Startup Options window displays, press and hold.

Startup Options

Step 2. Continue by selecting "Options" > "Continue" >"Disk Utility".

Step 3. In the sidebar, select the required Macintosh drive and click the "Partition" button.

Step 4. Click "Disk Utility" > "Quit Disk Utility" from the top menu.

Step 5. Select "Reinstall macOS" from the Recovery mode window and follow the onscreen instructions.

Here's how to utilize Recovery mode on an Intel-based Mac to recover the startup disk:

Step 1. Select "Restart" from the Apple menu. After then, hold down the Command + R keys. When you see the Apple logo on your screen, let go of the keys.

Command + R keys

Step 2. Select your user account and, if required, enter your password. Continue by clicking the button.

Step 3. Click "Disk Utility" and then the "Continue" option from the Recovery Mode menu.

Disk Utility

Step 4. Select the required drive on the left and press the "Partition" button.

Step 5. Select one partition and press the "Apply" button to "Disk Utility" > "Quit Disk Utility "from the top menu.

Select "Reinstall macOS" from the Recovery mode window to finish the procedure and follow the onscreen instructions.


If you unintentionally wiped a disk or a partition on your Mac and made a backup of it in the form of a DMG file, you can quickly recover the drive from that disk image. Overall, the procedure is simple. Noone wants to lose data as a result of mistakenly wiping the Macintosh HD. When this happens, you can restore the destroyed Macintosh HD using Disk Utility, the Time Machine backup, and, as a last resort, retrieve data from it using data recovery tool - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

Accidentally Deleted Macintosh HD FAQs

Here are 4 additional questions about recovering data from accidentally deleted Macintosh HD. Check here for the answers.

1. What do I do if I accidentally deleted Macintosh HD?

Disk Utility can delete a hard drive as well as recover an erased hard drive. It can also be used to recover a wiped Macintosh HD. If you have unintentionally erased the startup disk on Mac, please enter Recovery Mode to restore the mistakenly erased Macintosh HD.

2. How do I get my Macintosh HD back after deleting it?

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is a simple and dependable data recovery program for Mac users. It can recover over 200 different types of data from your accidentally deleted Macintosh HD and other internal/external media storage devices.

3. Is Macintosh HD the startup disk?

Yes. On a Mac, a startup disk is the partition of a hard drive where the operating system is installed. The Startup Disk is the disk labeled "Macintosh HD" by default, and the user's apps, files, and data are also saved on this disk.

4. Where can I find my Macintosh HD?

  • Navigate to the Menu bar and then to "Finder."
  • Then, select the "Preferences" option.
  • When the Finder preferences box displays on your Mac screen, pick the "General" option.
  • Then, under "Show these items on the desktop," select "Hard disks."

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Updated by Jaden

Jaden is one of the editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on topics concerning PCs and Mac data recovery. Jaden is committed to enhancing professional IT knowledge and writing abilities. She is always keen on new and intelligent products.

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