I have a Snow Leopard with a case-insensitive file system. I wonder is there a way to convert the FS to case-sensitive without having to format and then reinstall the whole OS. In Linux there are utils like parted that enable to change the partition FS (at least ext2 to ext3 for one), is there something similar for Mac OS X. I mean that case-sensitivity seems to be a small option to change, does it absolutely require a format+reinstall of hd?


I haven't used it, but iPartition claims to be able to convert in-place between case-sentitive and case-insensitive HFS+ formats.

  • I bought iPartition for this exact purpose, and converted a terabyte filesystem to case sensitive in a couple of minutes. Well worth it. – Ville Laurikari Jul 15 '11 at 11:40

This can't be done unless you reinitialize the volume in question.


What might work is if you create an image of your installed system (with Disk Utility or Carbon Copy Cloner) and then restore this to a case-sensitive file system.

Be careful, though, as switching to a case-sensitive FS might have some strange issues with programs not really tested for this.

  • Doesn't restoring an image set the case-sensitivity and journalling? – aaaidan Jan 28 '11 at 5:54
  • At least CCC should be able to use the given (case-sensitive) filesystem, as it basically uses rsync as long as you don't tell it to do a block-level restore. I haven't tested this though, so beware. – Sven Jan 28 '11 at 9:13

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