Target Disk Mode

What Does Target Disk Mode Mean?

Target Disk Mode (TDM) is a special boot utility available only for Macintosh computers. Any Macintosh computer booted in Target Disk Mode can be connected to the port of any other computer (Mac or PC), with the Macintosh computer acting as an external device.


Target Disk Mode is also known as Target Mode.

Techopedia Explains Target Disk Mode

Target Disk Mode can help users in sharing files between two computers which are connected by FireWire, Thunderbolt, USB or Ethernet ports. When the “T” key is is pressed during power-up of a Macintosh that supports Target Disk Mode, the operating system does not boot; rather, the firmware in the device enables the device to act as an external mass storage device which can be connected to other devices.

There are many advantages associated with Target Disk Mode. Some Macintosh computers allow their CD drives or other internal or external peripherals to become available for use to the host computer. Target Disk Mode is also helpful with high transfer speeds, data retrieval or when the display of one of the computer is not functioning. It is also a popular technique transferring data between two computers, and also for troubleshooting malfunctioning Macintoshes.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…