How do I format a bare hard drive to macOS Sierra?

Hi, I'm brand new to working with hardware so bare with me.

Recently during startup, my computer would throw a kernel panic error, and shut down. I spent a large amount of time trying to understand just what was going on, and it came down to either my hard drive or its cable being broken. It looked like it was my hard drive so I decided to buy a hard drive and replace it using the guide on this website.

So here's the problem: The computer starts up at least, and doesn't throw any kernel panic error. Instead, my computer does not recognize my internal hard drive at all. I'm assuming it's because my new hard drive probably came unformatted, and therefore my computer doesn't recognize it. So, how do I format my internal hard drive so that it is compatible with macOS? I've heard of a multitude of options, such as using a firewire or a thunderbolt cable, or using a usb with a macOS partition on it, or restoring files directly from an external hard drive, but which of these actually work? The only item I have of the above three options is an external hard drive which holds a backup of my computer's files. Would I be able to somehow format my new unrecognized hard drive through my external hard drive files? If my hard drive is not recognized in Disk Utility at all, would it still work? If not, what should I do in order to make my computer recognize my unformatted hard drive, how can I reformat it, so that I can reinstall macOS Sierra on it and restore from my external backup?

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Sometimes there is more than one way to do something ;-}

In your case you have quite a few options depending on what you have setup beforehand and what your given system is able to do. So here's the options:

The first choice is to leverage Internet recovery (if you have a new drive installed). Here is the Apple TN that talks about it: About macOS Recovery. You do need an internet connection and the connection speed will impact how fast this will take. You might just start it before going to bed and letting it run.

If you have access to a second Mac you could connect the two systems back to back using Target Mode. Here's an Apple TN on it: Share files between two computers with target disk mode. In your case you'll use Disk Utility from the other Mac to prep the drive and then use the OS installer app to then install the OS on to it.

The last way is if you have already created a bootable drive to then run Disk Utility from as well as run the OS installer. But thats only an option if you did this beforehand. Here's an Apple TN that goes over it: How to install OS X on an external drive connected to your Mac. Once you get your system running you might want to setup a USB thumb drive so your prepared the next time you need to diagnose or fix your drive,

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This doesn't explain how to get a hard drive that is not recognized by Disk Utility to recognize it.

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@epsidetrac - Re-read the question the drive was a new drive so it does need to be prepped.

To get there you need a bootable drive to gain access to Disk Utility to prep the drive. Thats what the answer answers.

You are correct it does not answer the second part of the question as we never got that far to know what the result was in getting to the first step.

I can't answer what is bad until I get an idea what disk utility reported and then running diagnostics.

So is this where you are?

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