Can Disk Utility Defrag a MacBook Pro OSX El Capitan

Summary – Can Disk Utility defrag your MacBook Pro hard drive powered by OS X El Capitan? If yes, then how and if no then how to defrag a MacBook Pro safely?

Disk Utility is full of features that help Mac verify, repair, optimize and partition itself. So, does the Disk Utility also defragments a MacBook Pro that is running OS X El Capitan 10.11? The answer is No. Yes, that’s rightly heard, the Disk Utility doesn’t have a feature to defrag a MacBook Pro running OS X El Capitan. That doesn’t mean that the Disk Utility can defrag other Mac devices such as an iMac, Mac Mini or OS X versions below the OS X El Capitan. Simply stated, the Disk Utility doesn’t find a need of defragging Apple’s HFS file system.

Why Disk Utility Don’t Defrag

The Apple’s file system manipulates the defragmentation of the files having a size less than equal to twenty megabytes (<=20MB). And, it does it for the critical files << the associated files including the metadata files. Hence, the Mac HFS formatted hard drives don’t get fragmented as quickly as any other file system fragments. For instance, NTFS file system doesn’t cater the fragments as the HFS used to do; so it gives the user the option to defragment the NTFS disk using default mechanism. The same default tool is kept excluded in the Apple file system or Disk Utility.

Free Defrag MacBook Pro El Capitan

The process of defragging a MacBook Pro is entirely free, and you can proceed to defrag with the help of available resources such as an external hard drive and by the assistance of a Mac hard drive cloning tool.

Step 1) Using Disk Utility, create a disk image of your MacBook Pro hard drive to an external drive. You can also perform the disk imaging with the help of a Mac cloning software.

Step 2) Boot into Recovery Mode and Erase your Apple hard disk drive to MacOS Journaled. (Say goodbye to your fragmented file system).

Step 3) Using Recovery Mode, install a fresh copy of OS X. You may also install the OS X with the help of a bootable USB which you might have created earlier or purchased from the Apple store.

Step 4) When your new OS X starts to run, restore your data from the disk image file i.e. from the external hard drive (or clone copy).

Defrag MacBook Pro (using tool)

Though limited, there are MacBook Pro defragging tools that can bypass the above free MacBook Pro defrag procedure and instantly come to the terms of MacBook Pro defragmentation using the G.U.I. Take a look at this utility called the Stellar Drive Defrag‘ that supports MacBook Pro defragging on OS X El Capitan.

Quick Features of the tool

  1. Quick Defragmentation
  2. Full Defragmentation
  3. Metadata Defragmentation
  4. Optimize Free Spaces
  5. Defrags External USB
  6. Hard Drive temperature monitoring
  7. Color legends for block representation

Put Software to Action

Step 1) Launch the Stellar Drive Defrag software on MacBook Pro OS X El Capitan

Step 2) For defragging, select the MacBook Pro’s ‘Macintosh HD.’

Step 3) Prepare to create a bootable USB since the MacBook Pro Mac HD is a startup disk. Read this pdf to create bootable USB (page no 23). Stellar Drive Defrag User Manual –

When bootable USB is ready, restart the Mac to switch to bootable USB, keeping Macintosh HD as a non-startup disk drive

Step 4) Restart Mac << press-hold Option << select bootable USB which you created in Step 3. You navigate to Stellar Drive Defrag user – interface running in bootable conditions.

Step 5)  See the text ‘Algorithms’ on the UI of Stellar Drive Defrag? Use the mouse-click to expand the options and select your desired algorithm to defrag MacBook Pro having OS X El Capitan

Step 6)  Click the Play button and now allows the software to scan the MacBook Pro hard drive and remove the file fragmentations.


  1. Do not interrupt the defragging of MacBook Pro in between else the disk drive will corrupt logically.

  2. Don’t attempt to defrag MacBook Pro Solid State Drive


So, Disk Utility lacks a feature to defrag MacBook Pro hard drive and the debate of defragging a Mac never end. But with this article, now you are aware of a free / paid procedure that will assist to defrag MacBook Pro on El Capitan. Do leave your thoughts in the comment section.

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