Mac OS Leopard can’t format a USB hard disk? Seriously? | iLounge Backstage


Mac OS Leopard can’t format a USB hard disk? Seriously?

Though I spend most of my waking hours working with them, I spend almost no time actually writing about Mac computers. Generally, I love my Macs, and wouldn’t trade them for anything. But ever since Leopard was released, I’ve been having serious multiple-hour-wasting problems doing straightforward things. And when I go to research possible solutions, I see that lots of other people are having the exact same problems. Today’s example: formatting a USB hard disk with Disk Utility.

Last week, after trying Time Capsule and realizing that there was no way I could—at least with its current software—rely upon it as a device for streaming iTunes video content around the office or house, the 1TB Capsule went back to the store and was replaced by a brand new 1TB G-Tech G-Drive Q. For the uninitiated, G-Tech makes great drives, and Q is a fast but wire-tethered option. It was a snap to transfer the contents of a smaller 500GB USB 2.0-only G-Drive onto the newer 1TB unit, but when I went to format the 500GB model, I hit a snag. Apple’s Disk Utility couldn’t do it.


Specifically, when you use the Erase tab—which anyone would do when trying to erase a drive—Disk Utility gets stuck at the very start of the formatting process, when it’s supposedly creating a partition map. When displaying the “Creating Partition Map” message, the adjacent barber pole-style progress bar grinds and grinds for hours, until it’s terminated.


Closer inspection of the application showed that it was hung. Reading numerous support postings online showed me that other users have been experiencing this issue for quite some time. Trying the same format with another Leopard machine produced the same results, and trying a format from the OS X 10.5 installation DVD did, too.


After contacting G-Tech, which tried its best to be helpful, I was presented with only two known solutions: find an older version of OS X, or use a PC with MacDrive to format the drive. “Ah,” I said, “I have 10.4.10 installed on my Mac mini.” Amazingly, that didn’t work, either. It turns out that when G-Tech said older, it meant “pre-10.4.6.” Apparently, Apple has been aware of this issue since April of 2006, when OS X 10.4.6 was released and Disk Utility started to hang when formatting USB drives (see G-Tech’s FAQ, CURRENT FIREWIRE/SATA/USB PRODUCTS, #10). Nearly two years have passed, and the bug hasn’t been fixed, persisting through the 10.4 point releases and now 10.5, as well.

So there’s good news for those of you who have been having USB hard disk formatting problems: if you can find a Mac OS X 10.4 install disc that’s pre-10.4.6, pop it into your computer, hold down the C key, and run Disk Utility straight from the DVD. Pick the Erase tab, hit Erase, the formatting process will take 30 seconds or less, and you can go back to using your USB drive normally. Can’t find an old Mac OS X disc? Use a PC with MacDrive. Amazing, isn’t it, that something as simple as this—in an application that once worked just fine, and still works just fine from DVD—hasn’t been fixed for so long? And that for recent Apple customers whose only OS discs contain 10.5, the easiest solution might be to use a PC?

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I also run into this problem when I recently bought a WD MyBook drive. My solution was to use terminal to carry out the formatting which worked well enough.
I agree that its pathetic how Disk Utility just doesnt work any more - so much so that I completely avoid using it.

Posted by Dood on March 11, 2008 at 1:55 PM (CDT)


Is this something that happens (only) on bigger drives? I just tried formatting a 40 GB, 5400 rpm, USB 2.0 drive and the whole thing happened in less than 30 seconds. I’m on 10.5.2.

Posted by antiorario on March 11, 2008 at 2:50 PM (CDT)


It’s unclear what sorts of drives are and aren’t affected. According to G-Tech, and from the user reports scattered around the web, it is limited to USB drives, but not any one brand of drives. Should you be lucky enough to have a USB drive with FireWire or another interface as an option, you can switch over to the non-USB connection and it’ll work fine. I’m also on 10.5.2.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 11, 2008 at 3:09 PM (CDT)


I’ve formatted two SimpleTech USB drives (160GB and 320GB, which I’m using as my Time Machine backup) with no problems. That was on 10.5.0.

Posted by Robert Floyd on March 11, 2008 at 3:19 PM (CDT)


I recently erased my 93 GB Fujitsu USB drive I use for backups without a problem… but I’m still using 10.4.11, and I’m wondering if it’s really a good decision moving to Leopard, I just ordered the thing and it should arrive soon… but I’m scared!!! :D

Posted by Mario on March 11, 2008 at 4:12 PM (CDT)


A reader, Karl Thomas, e-mailed with an additional tip that may help some users: rather than using the Erase tab, try the Partition tab, change the Volume Scheme from Current to 1 Partition, select the GUID Partition Table radio button, select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) under Format, and click Apply. Hope this helps someone; thanks Karl!

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 11, 2008 at 4:43 PM (CDT)


I spent the entire weekend having troubles with Disk Utility and trying to format two different external hard drives…a WD MyBook Premium and an Iomega Portable drive.  I also spent hours scouring the net to no real avail.  I’ll likely try to format them on my PC at work and see if that works since I don’t want to mess around with booting from a disk and screwing things up even more!  I’m not glad you had the same problems, but makes me feel better that I am not the only one with problems.

Posted by TosaDeac on March 11, 2008 at 5:04 PM (CDT)


It’s likely that there’s a problem with certain USB chipsets in use by some drives. This problem certainly doesn’t affect *all* USB drives. Every single USB drive that I’ve ever hooked up to a Mac (and I’ve used more than a few) has been successfully formatted in my experience. It doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but it’s likely to not be a problem.

So for the scared posters above, don’t be scared. Everything is probably going to work just fine and if it doesn’t, at least now you know the solution.

Posted by Tyler on March 11, 2008 at 5:08 PM (CDT)


I just bought a LaCie 1TB USB2 hard drive and I have experienced the same problems. Mac OS X 10.5.2 doesn’t recognice the hard drive and I’m not able to format it.

I’m not sure if I should try to format it from a PC or to return it straight away to the store :-(

Posted by iamroberto on March 11, 2008 at 8:23 PM (CDT)


Had the same exact problem regarding the inability to format my 1TB USB drive. This worked for me flawlessly - make sure to change to GUID as suggested…


Posted by Darren on March 16, 2008 at 5:06 PM (CDT)


After spending 3 days trying to get my Lacie 500 HD to come back to life, using Techtools, DiskWarrior & Disk Utilities I found this article.

I hope it works for me

Posted by gord on April 2, 2008 at 4:16 PM (CDT)


i wonder if others have had problems with spotlight not working well to index external drives: I have a 500g drive with loads of photos, and even when i was sure of the name, leopard’s spotlight would not find a single search result. I even just typed “I” and “kind: image” thinking that since there are hundreds of images titled IMG_ that i would at least know spotlight worked—but it didn’t. Has anyone had similar issues?

Posted by peijin on April 24, 2008 at 11:12 PM (CDT)


Go to the Partition tab. Create two partitions. Under Options, select GUID Partition Table (what you would use to make a Mac OS boot disk) and click OK then Apply.

• Once your partitions are in place, do it again, reverting back to just one partition, but still keeping the GUID Partition Table option. Click OK and Apply again, and at this point you should be cool.

Posted by MacMaster on May 23, 2008 at 9:36 AM (CDT)


I had the same problem with a 1To Lacie USB Hard Disk formated in FAT32.
I couldn’t format it directly from the Leopard disk utility erase tab in Mac OS X extended.

You have to select the disk and go to Partition. then select options in partition and use GUID (Mac OS bootable disk) instead of Master Boot Record(PC bootable disk).

Yes. that’s the pb: you cannot format in MacOS X extended a disk that contains a PC Master boot Record!!!!!

Posted by Lorenzo on May 23, 2008 at 9:43 AM (CDT)


I have just upgraded to Leopard and went out and bought a Maxtor 1TB. it tells me to use disk utility to reformat the drive for Mac users. Help tried everything! Don’t understand idisk why can’t it do this seemingly unsophisticated task

Posted by Mark Gibson on May 30, 2008 at 1:41 PM (CDT)


i tried #6 and #13 and got:
“Partition failed with the error: Input/output error”  on an st316002 3as 149gb usb drive.  any thoughts welcomed

Posted by bud levin on July 4, 2008 at 4:16 PM (CDT)


I was able to get the utility to partition and format by either using the MS-DOS filesystem type or creating multiple partitions (750G Maxtor OneTouch / USB 2.0)

Posted by dextro on July 13, 2008 at 6:55 PM (CDT)


Darren   (post 10)

your suggestion of using partition and making sure it was on guid seems to have worked! Thank you.

Posted by David Poole on July 26, 2008 at 4:47 PM (CDT)


I tired partition a 1TB Western Digital Drive after it failing to reformat the drive. I had no success with this either. So disappointed in apple! What a bore.

Posted by annotated on August 15, 2008 at 9:24 PM (CDT)


Ridiculous is all I can say.  I have a MacBook Pro and a Mac Pro and I rely on being able to format drives.  Disk Utility just won’t work.  Apple needs to address this immediately.

Posted by Aaron on September 4, 2008 at 5:07 PM (CDT)


I was having issues formatting a 1tb Western Digital Essentials USB drive, it was giving a partition error.

I followed Lorenzo’s advice in post #14 and this resolved the issue

Thanks Lorenzo!

Posted by Josh on September 11, 2008 at 5:28 AM (CDT)


I have tried all of the above several times to partition a 500GB Samsung drive.  I have gone to PC machines, formated and then attempted to partition, etc.  I have really tried everything I can think of.  Does anyone know of MAC formatting software other than Disk utility.  Paralles can format but I still cant partition the disk for mac-permission denied.

Posted by Chris on September 26, 2008 at 10:44 AM (CDT)


#13 worked for me after trying to format my 1TB Fujitsu/Siemens USB External to no avail. Don’t use the erase tab, make two partitions and select GUID (in fact I managed to create 2 partitions without selecting this). And then reformat as 1 partition GUID.

Posted by MatthewPH on October 16, 2008 at 4:39 AM (CDT)


This problem is NOT a USB problem. Weather your using USB or Firewire, 10.4 and 10.5 will NOT format a volume larger than about 500G.  If you have a machine running 10.3 it will work just fine. But if you want to format a drive larger than 500g (using 10.4 or 10.5) you need to break it up into 2 or even 3 partitions, then it will work.  Of course who wants to do that? APPLE SHOULD JUST FIX IT!!

Posted by Stephen Schleick on October 25, 2008 at 6:05 PM (CDT)


Is there a bug filed with Apple support wrt this issue?

There is also a problem with using disk utility operations. They all stop because of the “resource busy” message. lsof | grep disk<3> does not find the process that using the disk resource so I cant kill it.

I think the problem may also be related to Time Machine.

Posted by DP on November 20, 2008 at 5:13 AM (CST)


I had a similar problem, but delayed it for a few weeks.
Today I decided to fix it.

I had already been able to format the disk, but only as MSDOS FAT type. Now I partitioned the disk as Apple journaled.
This works fine, you can select any number from 1 - many partitions (up to a silly amount).

1. We can format (ms dos).
2. We can partition (1-n partitions), and select the filesystems for the partition.

Does this help?

Posted by Bert van Veenendaal on December 3, 2008 at 2:01 PM (CST)


#####y situation. After reading all these posts i’m wondering how to force quit the already 3h long process. Isn’t going to harm the disk, i wonder? Got a brand new 1Tb Iomega Prestige. Need urgently disk space and this is just great. Never thought of such stupid bug.
Apple, move your ass…

Posted by Luis Cardoso on December 11, 2008 at 9:30 PM (CST)


I have been struggling with trying to format a new Maxtor 1.5 GB hard drive, using OSX 10.5.6   Your tip to use Partition and the GUID button seems to have solved the problem.  Thanks for that.  But what a roundabout way to have to do it!  Can’t understand why Apple have not sorted this one out.

Posted by Trevor on December 18, 2008 at 8:09 AM (CST)


Tried all the suggestions here and can’t successfully partition a 250GB disk in a Nexstar GX enclosure. Furious with Apple for not fixing this problem. Linux can do this and it’s free.

Posted by Nathan on December 18, 2008 at 8:23 AM (CST)


Thanks people! Just returned my LaCie 1TB today, thinking it was the drive that malfunctioned. Got another one and same problem. Thanks to your simple tips about partitioning it works.
thanks a load!

Posted by Nathan on December 18, 2008 at 2:28 PM (CST)


I have a problem with my WD 1TB firewire drive that is not showing up in my finder window on my 10.5.5 system. It does show up on my 10.4 system and I can format it and partition it, but it still does not show in my finder window.
Can anyone help me with this?

Posted by onno on December 21, 2008 at 8:40 PM (CST)


my WD 1Tbyte worked fine,
had to stop the utility that came with the hard disk, then partition worked.
it is now properly formatted and partitioned as Mac journaled extended…

Posted by karl wachs on December 28, 2008 at 8:27 PM (CST)


I just bought a 1.5 TB Barracuda, hooked it up usb, and it partitioned in one partition and formatted guid without a hitch.  I am surprised to see others having issues, but this is my experience.  So not a usb over a certain size issue.

Posted by JonB on December 31, 2008 at 9:48 AM (CST)


I stumbled on to this thread ad said to myself, “You have got to be kidding.  Mac users do not know how to Partition and Format a New Drive.”
I’m a new Mac user and recently bought the iMac 24”.  Last week I bought a 1.5TB drive.  Yesterday I installed it with no issues.  The problem looks like it is with the “Erase” function.  A New drive is already “blank”, there is nothing to erase because it is not formated.  Maybe the Erase process is trying to find something to erase and the App hangs because there is nothing to erase.  Anyway, with any “New” drive always uses the “Partition” option, not “Erase” and select the format of the new partition, i.e. Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

Notice in the first application picture above, the drive is selected and the “Partition Map Scheme” (Bottom, Center) is telling you that the selected drive is “Unformatted”.  Hence, there is nothing to erase.

You must always partition and format a “New” drive on any OS.  Drives shipped from the manufacturer are always unformatted.  Just so you know, USB Thumb Drives and SD/XD/Compact Flash multimedia cards are always pre-partioned and formated.  One more thing, You can re-partition a USB Thumb drive with more than one partition and format each partition with a different filesystem. 


Posted by Jason Hawthorne on January 4, 2009 at 8:10 PM (CST)


Miraculously my new and old FireWire/USB drives no longer mount via FireWire.  I was able to mount via USB and copy data to the newer ( and larger drive ).  I tried to reformat the older drive ( I thought it would be faster than deleting all the data ) but OS X ( 10.5.6) refuses to.  I get an input/output error.  The drive formats fine on a Windows XP PC.

Posted by Khürt Williams on January 25, 2009 at 11:24 PM (CST)


Yep, a pain, but your solution to run off an older version worked a treat.  I knew hoarding thos OS discs would come in handy!!

Posted by Jezbee on February 2, 2009 at 8:23 PM (CST)


Switched from usb connection to firewire to firewire on the mac book and finally worked. Whew!!

Posted by trevorblanco on February 2, 2009 at 8:57 PM (CST)


I just put a new seagate drive in the MacBook Pro 17” and had a devil of a time to get the drive to format (“erase”) / partition using the “disk utility” application (booting from the start-up DVD disk).  It kept hanging on the “creating partition map.”  I took it to the apple store to have a mac “genius” look at it and he was of no help - said that the drive was probably bad!  I came home and tried again - this time I booted from an external drive (which was the old drive) and then ran the “disk utility” from that and then used the “erase” function and it formatted the drive in 10 seconds.  Now i’m restoring the old disk image to the new drive - says it has 7 hours left.

Posted by Inextirpable on February 3, 2009 at 3:20 PM (CST)


Thanks for that very timely advice! I thought I’d bought a ‘pig in a poke’ when I first hooked up a Toshiba 1Tb UHB drive. (I’d read a review from someone saying they had bought one and it DID work on the Mac despite not listing it as suitable hardware).
I had another problem with the OSX 10.4 tip, though. It won’t run as a start up on an Intel machine. I was lucky and used our old PPC iMac which runs on 10.4 anyway - as my wife has a few OS9 games she still wants available.
Thanks again….C

Posted by Chris Hartley on March 3, 2009 at 12:47 PM (CST)


Karl’s solution of partitioning not erasing (6 above) appears to have worked for me. I just bought a Toshiba Hi-Speed USB 2.0 1TB 3.5’ External Hard Drive and had the reformatting from FAT 32 problem described. Thanks all for posting ideas and Karl for the one that worked.

Posted by John Raby on March 20, 2009 at 12:47 PM (CDT)


Luckily I found my old 10.4 disc before I went off and sold it. Even crazier it wouldn’t even boot from the disk on my new MacBook (late 2008), which I found some documentation on involving DiskWarrior.

Anyway, I had to do it on my old iMac. I booted up 10.4 from the DVD and in about 20 seconds my headaches were gone. Good thing I hadn’t sold it yet.

Thanks for your post, I was lost without it.

Posted by Jason on May 6, 2009 at 6:23 PM (CDT)


Karls solution (Comment 6) also worked for me. Kudos to you, goes fast and is an excellent solution to formatting a backup disk!!

Posted by Jay Fletcher on May 21, 2009 at 10:17 AM (CDT)


Yes! Thank you Karl - Thank yopu guys , for saving me hours on this incredible bug! Karls solution worked for me too on my new WD disc.

Posted by Ellen on June 6, 2009 at 3:46 PM (CDT)


Another trick to try, worked for me. I had similar problem- Disk Utility could see my USB DRIVE but not the partition within it. When I tried to erase the drive I got “resource busy” error.

Solution was to press Security Options & choose “zero out data” before pressing “Erase”.

Once this had started working (hear disc activity) I pressed Skip so as not to wait whole 7 hours, then all was fine.

Posted by Mike Burton on June 15, 2009 at 5:51 PM (CDT)


Same problem with Fujitsu harddisk (40 GB, some years old): No chance to erase or partition with my brand new MacBook (2009, OSX 10.5.5)!
No way even after starting from OSX instal disk.
No other way around this problem than asking a colleague to download MacDrive on his Windows PC and to format my Harddisk for OSX use!
I tried all other tips given in this thread - no chance!
What a shame to Apple!

Posted by Ines on June 19, 2009 at 2:24 AM (CDT)


I have started experiencing this on two of my ISCSI San devices.  Overland Reo running Seagate drives.  I can mount the drives, however, when I try to format, it hangs.

Any suggestions?  Overland Storage and Apple is aware of issues, but no fix.  How lame.  I can get it working on 10.4.x, but not 10.5.x.

Posted by KC Christensen on June 24, 2009 at 1:57 PM (CDT)


TRavelstar HTS541080G9AT00 has this problem, i will try in MacDrive to format it and see if it works as a boot drive for a macbook 12

Posted by dave on June 29, 2009 at 2:09 PM (CDT)


Yep…same same here….in a Iomega external case no go…BUT! with a raw IDE/USB adapter for $10 no probs.  Go figger? 10.5.6 DG31PR Hackintosh

Posted by White_wolf on July 10, 2009 at 8:31 PM (CDT)


I have the same problem but this tip did not work for me…
I am so desperate, copied all my photos on WD 320 GB and while I kept my Macbook pro on during the night to copy the rest of my files on the WD, in the morning I was shocked!!! My WD disk was making an awkward noise and the partition was lost… I have searched on the net all the weekend and could not find out a solution that may work…

What a shit! I am so disappointed of both Mac and WD.

Any suggestion is welcome.

Posted by Dani on August 22, 2009 at 8:43 PM (CDT)


Lorenzo (#14) is right.  Tried it out, and it works perfect.

Posted by Jeff on September 11, 2009 at 10:18 PM (CDT)


Well, I tried everything. The only solution was use Macdrive and Paralells, but it doesn’t create GUID partitions. What can I do now?

Posted by Mocomedia on September 14, 2009 at 11:06 AM (CDT)


I had the same problem with a maxtor 300GB drive.  I could not erase the disk, or add a partition.  I do not have a pre 10.4 mac, nor do I have the mac software for my PC you were talking about.  I DID figure out how to fix it though… if you have a partition on there already, the erase tab for the partition will work just fine, and convert the partition to a clean HFS+ partition… at least it did for me.  Took about 30 seconds.  cheers

Posted by Lawrence Snow on October 18, 2009 at 3:31 AM (CDT)


I’m in the middle of this problem right now. This is my second drive that has locked up like this. The first one was reduced to a clicking, whirring paper weight after two attempts to format…both hanging at the “creating partition map” stage. I figured the drive was bad so I exchanged for another. Now, same problem. The drive(s) is a Seagate EIDE 400GB and I’m using a USB 2.0 enclosure I picked up from Fry’s. I figured it might be the enclosure until I found this and a few threads like it just now. My biggest question: How do I interrupt this process without killing another drive? The hard drive doesn’t seem to be spinning, but I think I hear a very faint tick very once in a while, like it’s writing a tiny bit of information, then no noise for a long time. The Disk Utility app isn’t locked, though. It’s still responding and gives me the option to quit from the File menu. Should I go that route? Any input would be great. Thanks.

Posted by Marbert on October 30, 2009 at 11:06 PM (CDT)


Nevermind. With the Disk Utility in Leopard still locked up, I put in my 10.4 Installation CD (Disc 1) and opened Disk Utility on that CD. From there I used someone’s suggestion of checking ‘zero out data’ in the security options, then hit skip to avoid the 7 hour process. This did the trick. Formatting finished with the Disk Utility running off the CD, and seemed to give the locked up Disk Utility app a kick in the butt that got it unstuck. Drive is formatted and getting filled right now. Strange bug.

Posted by Marbert on October 30, 2009 at 11:47 PM (CDT)


I was frustrated as well recently, attempted to backup my older 60g macbook to an even older 60g iomega HD.  The Iomega was FAT, and disk utility (snow leopard) was useless… downloaded demo version of MacDrive on PC and formatted it there… viola!

Now as Time Machine runs in the background I am singing the praises of iLounge.  Thanks for the tip.

Posted by JMakowsky on December 24, 2009 at 2:26 AM (CST)


I got a 1.5 TB USB drive and tried to format it, but had the same problem. Then I read post #13, tried it, and the formatting was done in about one minute. OS X 10.5.8. I highly recommend this procedure.

Posted by R Davis on December 30, 2009 at 6:12 AM (CST)


Solution in post #6 worked in about 20 seconds after wait TWICE for 13 hours to fail in format on an Iomega 1.5TB.

Posted by Bent on January 1, 2010 at 10:32 AM (CST)


I had the same problem (with 2 different USB drives at the same time) on my MBP with Leopard 10.5.8 and therefore tried on a friend’s MacBook running on Snow L. 10.6.1 ... and there it worked w/o a problem.

Posted by Phil on May 19, 2010 at 2:37 PM (CDT)


# 13 works for me. I am using Toshiba 1T External. Thanks for the tip.

Posted by Francis on June 21, 2010 at 9:42 PM (CDT)


It worked !!!    DOS to MAC format Thank you !!

Comment #6

A reader, Karl Thomas, e-mailed with an additional tip that may help some users: rather than using the Erase tab, try the Partition tab, change the Volume Scheme from Current to 1 Partition, select the GUID Partition Table radio button, select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) under Format, and click Apply. Hope this helps someone; thanks Karl!

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 11, 2008 at 1:43 PM (PDT)

Posted by Debbie on July 9, 2010 at 12:03 PM (CDT)


I just bought the 1tB Toshiba USB external (and an iMac).

What’s the best way to make it work between PC and Mac? 

I need to transfer a ton of stuff from PC to Mac, AND continue to use the drive as a go-between and backup for BOTH machines.

Posted by Brian on July 23, 2010 at 2:19 PM (CDT)


I just got a new iMac. Must say that the exact issues you mention I’m having and not even Macdrive seems to work (forget the ever hanging Disk utility).

All I’ll say is piss poor Apple: Uncle bill got this right with window 3.1.

If I was american I’d sue them for saying “it just works”.

Posted by Brent Petersen on August 9, 2010 at 5:51 PM (CDT)


Mac OSX 10.6.4 and I still can’t format a USB key that works on my PC!

Posted by Ray on September 7, 2010 at 5:31 PM (CDT)


I just formatted a 2tb external USB hard drive (Buffalo) in OSX 10.6.4 with no problems at all, using Disc Utility in the usual way, and selecting Mac OS extended (case sens, journaled) under the Erase tab. I am just adding this comment to show that this problem does not occur across the broads- I wonder why it only affects some drives?

Posted by big tom on September 30, 2010 at 2:33 PM (CDT)


Bought two Verbatim 1TB drives (HItachi inside) - tried formatting as Mac Os Extended Journaled via USB-2 with disk utility 10.5.8 - didn’t work.
Used the tip from here, but couldn’t startup my black intel macbook from a bootable tiger CD.
However, just running disk utility from the tiger CD already let me format the hard drives as Mac Os Extended Journaled - there was no need to start up from the Tger disk actually.
Hope that helps.

Posted by jayrope on October 13, 2010 at 11:40 AM (CDT)


This [#6] worked for my Iomega 1TB USB Drive

“A reader, Karl Thomas, e-mailed with an additional tip that may help some users: rather than using the Erase tab, try the Partition tab, change the Volume Scheme from Current to 1 Partition, select the GUID Partition Table radio button, select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) under Format, and click Apply. Hope this helps someone; thanks Karl!”

Posted by JackB on January 15, 2011 at 6:16 PM (CST)


Apple is a major corporation. Like any other, it has to negotiate economies of time, scale, and public perception.

This means that if a problem is sufficiently obscure that it can be covered up or ignored completely without loss of market share, it is literally not worth the time or manpower to fix.

You’ll see this with every hardware and/or software provider bigger than a two-person shop. Each has its long unaddressed bugs - some quite major, if you run a certain combo of hardware and/or software.

The answer is - must always be - too bad. This is a mass-market industry, and you, Mr. of Ms. User, are not a market segment. Even if there are 100,000 of you, you do not matter.

Posted by Frank on February 6, 2011 at 12:47 PM (CST)


In my case, none of the suggested fixes helped.  I have a 1.8 TB USB/eSata Fantom Drive using the USB connection to my Mac Pro.  I had to download a firmware update that fixed the problem and let me partition and format the drive as a single large partition.  For anyone still struggling with this issue, I would suggest going to the drive manufacturer for support.

Posted by James on February 9, 2011 at 2:09 PM (CST)


Thank you for the help thus far ! I bought myself NEW a Lacie 1TB LaCinema Classic HD
I’ve managed to switch it using Karl’s advice..

Now Im not sure if I lost my mind already because of this Lacie-Mac situation but right now when I plug in my Lacie, nothing happens ?

Was there something on it, such as recognition software or something that i did erase then ?

Posted by Vincent Sluyts on February 21, 2011 at 12:41 PM (CST)


hey dude
i also had this prob but after 10 i figured it out
use disk utility
1. erase disk ( where it says format change it to what ever you are after

its stupid but easy

Posted by Jordan S on May 24, 2011 at 5:11 AM (CDT)


Thanks Jordan, been trying for a couple of days, gave up and did it on my Windows machine.

Just read your post, tried it and worked just fine. Like you said: “stupid but easy”, once you know, that is.

Posted by Richard E on May 24, 2011 at 12:54 PM (CDT)


i am desperately trying to back up everything on my imac before taking it in for serious work before my applecare runs out.  two different external hard drives have failed.  thought i would try iomega prestige this time.  followed the instructions on iomega site like no. 6 recommends.  the backup via time machine seems to have hung up at 1.84 gb for a long time and now is slowly progressing.  isn’t this supposed to be easy and automatic?  i am getting quite fed up with these little mac issues.  hope to leave it overnight and find it complete by morning (140.74 gb total backup content).  any advice???  thanks!

Posted by jean w on May 28, 2011 at 4:39 AM (CDT)


I just used one partition and it worked fine. Had to partition and choose GUID. now it works. what a silly workaround.

Posted by jo on June 10, 2011 at 11:23 AM (CDT)


I have been trying to get a 320 Seagate and 1TB WD usb drive to work and have had nothing but problems using Disk Utility.  It would not format, it would sometimes not mount, and often told me that the disk was not properly ejected.  I removed my USB drive from my USB hub and plugged it directly into the mac USB port and my problems went away.  Not the best solution, but a possible solution for some.

Posted by MikeB on June 18, 2011 at 9:43 PM (CDT)


Had much the same problems as all above with a Verbatim (Samsung) 1Tb External USB and OS 10.5.8

Tried the tip with partitioning in to 2 and then back to 1 and formatted as GUID.

Worked a treat - thanks a million.

Posted by PhilG on June 20, 2011 at 3:12 AM (CDT)


i have a 8 gb flash drive when i try to make it a bootable 10.6 disk an eror come out and closed. to try it again i try to erase teh disk but an eror again could not unmuont the disk i tried to close the finder to close the working program on the disk but it doesnt work the disk still says couldnot unmount what can i do if you guys help me i will be very apreciated

Posted by Mkee on July 21, 2011 at 9:07 PM (CDT)


#6 suggestion using the Partition option worked for me; reformatting a WD 1 TB XHD, using Leopard 5.8. Prior to that it would only erase and reformat for DOS, for what that was worth. Anything else it would quit and not recognize the drive at all.

My Apple loyalty came about because they took care of things like this, they become more like Gates every year.

Posted by John Ellis on August 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM (CDT)


Nr 13* worked fine for me:D

Posted by LakseN on December 21, 2011 at 6:58 PM (CST)


I had the same problem with a 500 GB Lacie USB Hard Disk formated in FAT32, and MacOS x 10.6.8
Trashbin wouldn’t empty: “empty trash” would get into a loop I stopped when it had reached 70000+ files to delete. The trick I found to reformat the disk was to run timemachine on this disk, then it said it had to first reformat the USB disk. Once the disk was reformatted I quit timemachine, and the disk is now clean and empty.

Posted by Jean on February 23, 2012 at 11:16 AM (CST)


Go Karl!! A huge thanks. Spent 24 hrs literally trying to zero out the external drive, which failed. Karls method worked in less than a minute. You can’t know how grateful I am!!

Posted by Rebecca on March 14, 2012 at 5:40 PM (CDT)


I have had problems too witha 2TB Lacie drive. After i partioned it as 1 drive and formatted (GUID) it works fine again. Hope it stays that way…

Posted by Maarten on March 20, 2012 at 3:33 PM (CDT)


Thanks, I had the same problem. I used a install disk with Mac OS X 10.4 and thats it, problema resuelto!

Posted by Ulises Rivera on April 9, 2012 at 10:00 PM (CDT)


God bless you. Struggled with this for 48 hours and your solution worked in 5 minutes. Thanks

Posted by Stuart on April 14, 2012 at 3:37 PM (CDT)

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