In Snow Leopard's Disk Utility (OS X 10.6.8) what does the error:

Partition failed with the error:  
This operation requires a newer version of Mac OS X for this disk

mean? I've never seen it before, and Google yields few results. The error in question occured when trying to erase a partition with Lion installed on it.

2 Answers 2


This means the partition in question uses a version of hfs+ not compatible with the disk utility in snow leopard. Lion introduces a transparent, partition encryption, so even if the partition is not encrypted there are some changes in the file system (hfs+) details.

Because the disk utility in snow leopard is older than lion, it stops right there so it won't mess up anything.

Hopefully there will be an update to the disk utility in snow leopard...

  • For now I think it's best to just keep the Lion test partition, then install Lion on the main one and use its new Disk Utility to get rid of the one in question. Jul 4, 2011 at 10:49

I followed the directions here (copy / paste) to merge the recovery HDD with the Lion partition:


I then went into the Disk Utility GUI and deleted the Lion partition as if it were any other partition. It worked just fine.

  • It would be nice to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link only for future reference.
    – slhck
    Jul 4, 2011 at 16:03
  • I was able to see the Lion recovery partition in Disk Utility, though I am not sure if it was the result of holding the option key down or running 'diskutil eraseVolume' on the recovery partition. Anyway, once you delete the recovery partition, you can use Snow Leopard's Disk Utility to delete the Lion partition as you would expect.
    – joebolte
    Sep 22, 2011 at 21:13

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