Create a case-sensitive partition on Mac OS-X with Disk Utility

A project I work on needs to distinguish between files that differ in case only. Since my disk was partitioned with a single case-insensitive filesystem, this caused problems.

Solution #1: convert the whole disk to a case-sensitive partition. On the internet there is talk of converting the whole disk to a case-sensitive format.

Solution #2: keep the OS and all applications on the default case-insensitive partition — after all it is the default and everything runs without problems — and create a new small partition for the only the projects that need case-sensitivity.

This guide describes the steps I took to perform solution 2 with the standard Disk Utitlity tool.

Disclaimer: use this guide at your own risk. Do not proceed if you do not have a full backup of your disk, such as a Time Machine backup.

Open Disk Utility

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 13.10.43

Click Partition

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 13.11.57.png

Click +

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 13.13.01.png

Add a name, choose a case-sensitive Format option, and pick a size for the new partition

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 13.13.43.png

Click ApplyScreen Shot 2017-08-21 at 13.14.58.png

Click Partition

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 13.16.20

Now you can watch the progress.. after a relatively short while you will get the following confirmation window:

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 13.18.05

This volume is mounted at /Volumes, go to Finder and press Shift-Command G and go to /Volumes, or open a terminal and do ls /Volumes

$ ls /Volumes
Case-Sensitive Partition Macintosh HD
$ mount
/dev/disk1 on / (hfs, local, journaled)
devfs on /dev (devfs, local, nobrowse)
map -hosts on /net (autofs, nosuid, automounted, nobrowse)
map auto_home on /home (autofs, automounted, nobrowse)
/dev/disk2 on /Volumes/Case-Sensitive Partition (hfs, local, journaled)

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