Archive for September 1st, 2015

by Tom Nelson

A volume is a storage container that has been formatted with a file system that your computer (in this case, a Mac) can recognize. Common types of volumes include CDs, DVDs, hard drives, and partitions or sections of hard drives.


Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Volume vs. Partition

A volume is sometimes referred to as a partition, but in the strictest sense, that’s incorrect. Here’s why: A hard drive may be divided into one or more partitions; each partition takes up space on the hard drive.

For example, consider a 1 TB hard drive that has been divided into four 250 GB partitions. The first two partitions were formatted with standard Mac file systems; the third partition was formatted with a Windows file system; and the final partition was either never formatted, or was formatted with a file system that the Mac doesn’t recognize. The Mac will see the two Mac partitions and the Windows partition (because the Mac can read Windows file systems), but it won’t see the fourth partition. It’s still a partition, but it’s not a volume, because the Mac can’t recognize any file system on it.

Once your Mac recognizes a volume, it will mount the volume on the desktop, so you can access any data it contains.

Read more on About: Macs.

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