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JadeNB
08-06-2006, 08:22 PM
Hi. I have a Powerbook G4 running Mac OS X.4.7. I recently bought a 200 GB internal Seagate drive. (I put external in the subject line because I put it in an external enclosure.) When I try to partition the drive, Disk Utility locks up -- and stays locked up (say, overnight). As best as I can tell (by putting my ear up to the drive), there's no drive activity. I'm pretty sure the drive is healthy -- I was able to partition it on my PC. I'm pretty sure the connection is good -- once I partitioned it on the PC, I was able to mount it on the Mac. I just can't partition it on the Mac. I can't even format it -- that is, I can't convert an existing NTFS or FAT32 (or even `free space') partition to HFS+.

I had the same problem with the last hard drive I bought, except that that one I could format, once I'd first partitioned it using my PC. This one I just can't format at all, making it useless.

By the way, when Disk Utility hangs, it responds promptly to a kill -2; but the DiskManagementTool process it starts can't be killed, even with a sudo kill -9. In fact, it won't even stop when I shut down -- I have to do a hard shut down.

JadeNB
08-06-2006, 08:28 PM
Oops, sorry. I didn't preview to check if that worked.

JadeNB
08-06-2006, 08:32 PM
In another thread, the advice was given just to format, and worry about partitioning later. I've tried this, too, without success.

regulus6633
08-07-2006, 07:14 AM
This seems like a weird problem, i.e. nonstandard, so you need to isolate where the problem lies. Start at the beginning with the external case. Have you tried using another case or changing the wires? Is it a computer related problem... have you tried it on another mac? Is it a software problem... have you tried it in a new user account or have you tried formatting with other tools than Disk Utility? Have you tried diskutil in the Terminal? You need to narrow down the problem more before we can help you.

JadeNB
08-07-2006, 10:53 AM
I don't have another enclosure, and changing the cabling doesn't seem to make a difference.

I don't have another Mac, but, as I mentioned, I can format it in my PC, and I can mount it on my Mac once I've done so, so I think it can't be that the connection is bad (I'm using the same enclosure and the same cabling to connect it to the PC and the Mac).

The connection is USB, and I know my USB port is OK, because a mouse or keyboard plugged into it works just fine.

I have tried it in a new user account; it doesn't seem to make any difference. I tried using diskutil from the command line; it also hangs. I don't know any other tools for formatting disks.

I would love to narrow it down farther, but when the problem is that a process hangs almost immediately, indefinitely, and reproducibly, I don't know what diagnostics I can use! If you have any other suggestions, I'd be grateful.

JDV
08-07-2006, 11:17 AM
What partition did you put on the drive via the PC? Since it is a 200 GB drive and you didn't say you used any special partitioning software, my guess is that the PC formatted the entire drive as NTFS, since the disk partitioning utility in Windows for FAT32 is limited to 32 GB.

If THAT is what happened, there would be no free space on the drive to add an HFS+ partition. You might try actually DELETING the partition added by the PC entirely (from the PC) and then see if the Mac can create an HFS+ partition on it at that point. If you want a FAT32 partition as well, make sure to leave room for it and then create it AFTER the HFS+ is created. You can do that on the Mac or on the PC, I believe, as long as there is unpartitioned space on the drive. NTFS is preferred by Windows NT, 2000 and XP, but not very useful for a Mac, which cannot write to an NTFS drive. Getting multiple partitions on a drive is trickier than it ought to be.

By the way, you aren't alone in not having a lot of equipment sitting about to test whether it is a hardware issue, but your description of the problem makes it sound unlikely.

Joe VanZandt

JadeNB
08-07-2006, 12:20 PM
I put four partitions on it on the PC; two were free space (which I intended to format to an HFS+ and a UFS disk on the Mac), one was an NTFS disk, and one was a FAT-32 disk. I tried formatting the free space, and then just erasing the whole disk, but neither one worked.

I have just tried formatting the disk on my Mac at the office, with the same result. That is, after a very short initial burst of disk activity (which I hadn't noticed before), Disk Utility locks up and the hard drive doesn't even spin.

JDV
08-07-2006, 01:26 PM
This is strictly conjecture, but I suspect that the Mac is choking on the NTFS partition. I recommend removing ALL the partitions FROM YOUR PC's Disk Manager. If you have access to Partition Magic, that program is far more powerful in manipulating partitions. What I think you want to do is to get your drive back to it's original state as possible, and then BEGIN the partitioning process on your Mac, creating the appropriate HFS+ and UFS partitions there, and THEN seeing if the PC will partiton the free space with NTFS/FAT32 in the way you want.

Joe VanZandt

JadeNB
08-07-2006, 01:37 PM
Unfortunately, that's how I started -- by formatting it straight-outta-the-box on my Mac. The hanging happened just the same. (Although it's certainly tempting to believe it's having problems with the NTFS partition, this doesn't really explain why the drive wouldn't spin while I attempted to format it.) I only tried formatting it with my PC to make sure the drive and connection were good.

JDV
08-07-2006, 01:51 PM
This is curiouser and curiouser.

1) The drive is known good because it can be formatted on the PC;

2) Presuming you used the same cable, the cable doesn't seem to be at fault for the same reason;

3) You didn't say, but I am assuming it is an externally powered drive enclosure (it is known that the USB ports often don't provide sufficient power to external drives);

4) So, we're sort of left with the enclosure itself. What is the manufactuer and model of the drive enclosure? Maybe there is some incompatibility with the Mac that isn't well-documented.

Quite honestly, I don't know where else to start looking!

Joe VanZandt

JadeNB
08-07-2006, 02:04 PM
Thanks for spending the time to think about this. Your assumption in (3) is correct. I agree that it's hard not to focus attention on the enclosure. It's some generic one bought from Newegg -- I can't even remember the brand (and it's not printed on the enclosure itself). As I mentioned, I actually had this problem with a previous drive, too, but, by some trickery (I think, partitioning it on the PC first and then re-formatting the partitions of interest on the Mac), got it to work with my Mac.

trevor
08-07-2006, 03:04 PM
There is the quite distinct possibility that the firmware used in the external case is not compliant to the USB Storage Device specification, but IS close enough that it works on some PCs.

If you look in System Profiler while the external drive is connected, what is reported regarding that drive and it's enclosure?

Trevor

JadeNB
08-07-2006, 04:25 PM
It's really impressive to get such helpful replies so fast -- thanks a lot! Here's what System Profiler says about the enclosure:
---
Mass Storage Device:

Capacity: 186.31 GB
Removable Media: Yes
Detachable Drive: Yes
BSD Name: disk1
Version: 1.00
Bus Power (mA): 500
Speed: Up to 480 Mb/sec
Manufacturer: Prolific Technology Inc.
OS9 Drivers: No
Product ID: 0x2507
S.M.A.R.T. status: Not Supported
Vendor ID: 0x067b
Volumes:
mbd2:
Capacity: 74.51 GB
Available: 74.47 GB
Writable: Yes
File System: Journaled HFS+
BSD Name: disk1s1
Mount Point: /Volumes/mbd2
XFER2:
Capacity: 9.32 GB
Available: 9.31 GB
Writable: Yes
File System: MS-DOS FAT32
BSD Name: disk1s3
Mount Point: /Volumes/XFER2
---
On the advice of my sysadmin, I tried attaching it to a system still running Panther, just in case -- and it formatted without any problem! (As you can see, those newly-formatted volumes are recognised by System Profiler.) How can that be?

hazkid
08-20-2006, 09:00 PM
i have the same issue. i have an 80gb iomega external hdd, and disk util hangs in the same way. it formats fine in Vista and Ubuntu, but i need hfs+. i don't have a panther computer. Disk utility hangs on a 1.5 gigaherz 12" PB, a Dell hackintosh, and the leopard install disc.is there any way to farmat as HFS+ in linux?

JadeNB
08-21-2006, 11:54 AM
So you have an external HDD, not an internal HDD connected through an enclosure? Is the connection USB?

ThreeDee
08-21-2006, 12:31 PM
a Dell hackintosh, and the leopard install disc

Uh... You got the disk where?

JDV
08-21-2006, 12:36 PM
I don't think there is any difference between an "external HDD" and and "internal HDD connected through an enclosure". There is no intrinsic difference between the drives; the enclosure just serves as the firewire/usb bridge to the Mac. If you have the right connectors and space in your machine, the drive in the enclosure can be removed and put into the Mac and Voila! you have an internal drive.

Regarding formatting HFS+ in Linux, I do not believe that is possible. I'm really quite puzzled that JadeNB was able to achieve this in Panther but not in Tiger, as I wouldn't have anticipated a difference there.

Joe VanZandt

jeremyoliver
08-21-2006, 01:57 PM
I think I had similar problems. I erased the entire drive, then used partition magic on my pc. I formatted the drive as FAT32 and partitioned it in two (add more partitions if you'd like at this point). works smoothly on either mac or pc.

JDV
08-21-2006, 02:03 PM
If hazkid really needs HFS+ for some reason, I don't thing Partition Magic can help him with that. If all that is required is access of the drive by a Mac, then you are right, he could use FAT32 as the format.

Joe VanZandt

voldenuit
08-21-2006, 04:51 PM
The problem may be related to some flakiness of the el-cheapo Prolific chipset.

Using linux with the hfs+ fs compiled into the kernel is an interesting alternative to partition a drive.

Also make sure there is no permissions problem at the mount point.

hazkid
08-21-2006, 06:27 PM
I want to backup my Mac on it (before leopard install), and you cannot copy .exe, .mpkg, .app, and files over 4 gig from an HFS+ partition. neither carbon copy cloner or disk util allows backup on fat32.

JadeNB
08-22-2006, 09:15 AM
So one of those objects sold as an 'external HDD' can be disassembled into an internal HDD and an enclosure? I didn't know that. Anyway, the main reason I ask is that, when I submitted this as a bug to Apple, they asked me to see what happens with a smaller disk. I don't have one that I can format right now, so I thought that, if hazkid's setup was the same as mine, that might be the data point for which I was looking. (In particular, I'm a little curious if the important point is whether the connection is USB or Firewire.)

By the way, I found the packing slip for my enclosure, and it's a Speeze Masscool enclosure. I'm not sure how to find out what chipset it's got.

trevor
08-22-2006, 09:36 AM
You can find out what chipset an external drive case has using System Profiler--look at the entry for the drive.

Trevor

ThreeDee
08-22-2006, 11:18 AM
Yes, FAT32 has a limitation where you can't have files over 4GB...

JadeNB
08-25-2006, 02:47 PM
It appears from the System Profile which I posted earlier that the chipset is indeed Prolific. Is the Oxford chipset better?

So finally I bought a Firewire enclosure to test, and, in that, the drive formatted without complaint.

trevor
08-25-2006, 04:19 PM
Is the Oxford chipset better?

In my opinion, yes, the Oxford chipset is better.

Trevor

tehsuck
10-14-2006, 10:59 AM
I am having the same exact problem, it's driving me nutty...

Details: Mac Pro w/ 10.4.8

Here's the details on the USB drive:

Capacity: 149.05 GB
Removable Media: Yes
Detachable Drive: Yes
BSD Name: disk4
Version: 1.00
Bus Power (mA): 500
Speed: Up to 480 Mb/sec
Manufacturer: Prolific Technology Inc.
OS9 Drivers: No
Product ID: 0x3507
Serial Number: 0
S.M.A.R.T. status: Not Supported
Vendor ID: 0x067b


Is this considered a bug in OS X yet? I am going to try to format this to something else on my PC and bring it back to the Mac. Wish me luck.

*edit* I just formatted it 100% FAT 32 w/ Partition Magic on XP Pro and brought it back to the Mac and it seems to be working.

theloonyape
11-16-2006, 02:54 AM
Hey, I would like to share that I'm having the same problem.

I'm using a USB 2.0 Sarotech HardBox external enclosure, supposedly a better one but it seems that its also using the prolific chipset. I'm using a Hitachi 250 GB and this is a new one that I've just exchanged from the vendor.

rawchicken
01-06-2007, 03:11 PM
I am also having the same problem. I eventually formatted the drive as FAT32 with a Ubuntu live CD, and it seems to work at first, but once I move more than a couple small files to it, it freezes the finder. Is there any way around this, or should I just get a new enclosure?