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Resolved Cannot Initialise and Format SSD

TheShortTimer

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Original poster
Mar 27, 2017
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The 10GB HDD in my iBook G3 had very quickly reached its limits, even for basic stuff so I decided to take the plunge with SSDs and I bought a 128GB unit from China that I'd read others had enjoyed success with for similar upgrade scenarios. I decided to set up the SDD in advance with a dual-boot of OS9 and Tiger by placing the SSD inside a USB to mSATA enclosure and this is where the problems began. Disk Utility hung with no indication of any activity or progress during several attempts on the G3 and two other Macs running El Capitan. Similar efforts failed on my Windows PC too.

As a process of elimination, to rule out the possibility of an incompatibility or fault with the USB enclosure, I tested the SSD internally with my G4 Mini - because dismantling that for a quick test is much easier than with the iBook!

This is the adapter that I used for the internal test:



I then connected the Mini to my iBook via Firewire to confirm whether the problem is with the SSD itself. You can see for yourselves the extent of the progress (or rather the lack of) after an hour:



Have I overlooked something or am I correct in concluding that the SSD is a dud and needs to be returned to the seller?
 

eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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Which brand of mSATA did you get?

I had horrible issues with my first mSATA and the converter case you show above when formatting. The second time around I went with a different adapter case and instead of trying to format I used CCC to clone back my drive from a disk image. I did the same thing with my third mSATA SSD and that went fine too.

Both times I did a block level clone.
 
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1042686

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Sep 3, 2016
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CCC works great and is easy. You could go one step further in TDM and clone your ibook to your G4 mini but it is weird that you're having issues across multiple systems and operating systems. Do you have another msata to test the 2.5" pata enclosure?

Best of luck to you either way.
 
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TheShortTimer

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Which brand of mSATA did you get?

This one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vaseky-mSATA-Drive-Solid-30x50mm/dp/B07BCYP2FS

I had horrible issues with my first mSATA and the converter case you show above when formatting. The second time around I went with a different adapter case and instead of trying to format I used CCC to clone back my drive from a disk image. I did the same thing with my third mSATA SSD and that went fine too.

Both times I did a block level clone.

That's interesting, I purchased that PATA adapter case because I saw a review where an iBook user reported that it had worked for them. I've used CCC to clone all of the partitions that I wanted to back up and then restore respectively but I don't have that block level clone option because the drive can't even initialise properly.

On that note...

Did you go in and partition it HFS+ first?

As you can see I'm unable to partition it. The process stalls. Its progress remained at this stage for around 10 minutes and eventually I gave up.



My Snow Leopard running 2006 MBP ran into the same problem. The drive will not initialise correctly, attempts to partition or format halt indefinitely.

CCC works great and is easy. You could go one step further in TDM and clone your ibook to your G4 mini but it is weird that you're having issues across multiple systems and operating systems. Do you have another msata to test the 2.5" pata enclosure?

Best of luck to you either way.

I strongly suspect that the drive is faulty because it hasn't worked within the USB enclosure nor the PATA one but I should have another mSATA available to me later today so I can test both enclosures and ascertain this. :)
 
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eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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That's interesting, I purchased that PATA adapter case because I saw a review where an iBook user reported that it had worked for them. I've used CCC to clone all of the partitions that I wanted to back up and then restore respectively but I don't have that block level clone option because the drive can't even initialise properly.
The thing about block level clones is that you don't need to format the drive before hand. That's a low level clone that has all the partitioning information contained therein so it 'formats' as it goes to the exact same formatting that the original disk was.

But…are you saying that CCC won't give you that option at all?
 
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TheShortTimer

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The thing about block level clones is that you don't need to format the drive before hand. That's a low level clone that has all the partitioning information contained therein so it 'formats' as it goes to the exact same formatting that the original disk was.

But…are you saying that CCC won't give you that option at all?

I found it! :D



However, the SSD (connected via Firewire TDM) does not appear within the destination list:

 
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Hughmac

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Feb 4, 2012
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It's the enclosure that is at fault. I have one of these white ones and a known working 128GB SSD is recognised as a 299GB, and will not format.
What you need is a black enclosure which has no jumper pins at the end of the IDE connector.
By the way I have tried jumpering the white enclosure with no success.

Cheers :)

Hugh
 
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Amethyst1

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Oct 28, 2015
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It's the enclosure that is at fault. I have one of these white ones and a known working 128GB SSD is recognised as a 299GB, and will not format.
What you need is a black enclosure which has no jumper pins at the end of the IDE connector.
By the way I have tried jumpering the white enclosure with no success.

The OP is having issues with a USB-to-mSATA enclosure as well, which would point to the SSD being at fault.
 
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Hughmac

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Feb 4, 2012
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The OP is having issues with a USB-to-mSATA enclosure as well, which would point to the SSD being at fault.
You're probably right, but those particular enclosures have given me no end of trouble in PowerBook G4s.
Also I'm sorry but I think I have misled people as they all seem to have jumper pins (I've just had a look at one of my working black ones).

Cheers :)

Hugh
 
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bobesch

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Oct 21, 2015
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Kiel, Germany
Unfortunately not available in the UK, where the OP (and myself) are based.
Cheers :)
Hugh
You may go for this one from overseas instead: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DeLOCK-6...907052&hash=item2f36530458:g:17EAAOSwi81ddhum (mods, not my auction nor affiliation to that shop)
I have 5 of them Delock-converters running without any problems for 3-4y now - and all with a dual-boot configuration (either os9/OSX or Tiger/Leopard) and a third partition left for data (as and SSD-upgrade for a Clamshell #188, an TiBook, the 12&15"G4PowerBook and a 12" iBook G4).
Prior to installation I've attached the mSATA-IDE-combo with an IDE-USB-adapter to the further host-PowerPC-machine for formatting and partitioning and finally cloning the host's drives to the mSATA using CCC .
Function can also be tested prior to installation by booting the PPC-Mac from that USB-attached mSATA-IDE-combo.
 
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Hughmac

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Feb 4, 2012
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You may go for this one from overseas instead: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DeLOCK-6...907052&hash=item2f36530458:g:17EAAOSwi81ddhum (mods, not my auction nor affiliation to that shop)
I have 5 of them Delock-converters running without any problems for 2-3y now - and all with a dual-boot configuration (either os9/OSX or Tiger/Leopard) and a third partition left for data (as and SSD-upgrade for a Clamshell #188, an TiBook, the 12&15"G4PowerBook and a 12" iBook G4).
Prior to installation I've attached the mSATA-IDE-combo with an IDE-USB-adapter to the further host-PowerPC-machine for formatting and partitioning and finally cloning the host's drives to the mSATA using CCC .
Function can also be tested prior to installation by booting the PPC-Mac from that USB-attached mSATA-IDE-combo.
Thanks, these look more substantial than the ones I have, and very similar to the Addonics adapter mentioned above.

Cheers :)

Hugh
 
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TheShortTimer

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The OP is having issues with a USB-to-mSATA enclosure as well, which would point to the SSD being at fault.

Correct! As I suspected from the beginning, the SSD is indeed at fault.

Yesterday evening, this SSD arrived: https://www.amazon.co.uk/TCSUNBOW-SunBow-mSATA-Solid-State/dp/B01N4J7XVK

I formatted it on my G3 using the USB to mSATA enclosure and success! :D



Next, I installed the new SSD into the PATA enclosure inside the Mini and it was recognised in Disk Utility and Finder when I powered it on and used CCC via Firewire TDM on the G3.



Once the cloning process was completed, I rebooted the Mini and everything had gone without a hitch. :)



We know that the PATA adapter definitely works with the Mac Mini G4 and anyone seeking to replace their Mini's IDE drive can purchase this in the knowledge that it's compatible. Hopefully it will also work with my G3 as I have another adapter here and I've ordered the same Sunbow SSD again. I'll share the details of the outcome. Dismantling the iBook G3 will be quite an involved task!

Some questions - now that I've got some extra room, is it worth installing Leopard alongside Tiger as a dual boot? Apparently there has been success with getting OS 9 to run, does anyone have any experience with this?
 
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Amethyst1

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Oct 28, 2015
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Some questions - now that I've got some extra room, is it worth installing Leopard alongside Tiger as a dual boot? Apparently there has been success with getting OS 9 to run, does anyone have any experience with this?

I'd say go for a Tiger and Leopard dual-boot. Leopard gives you access to more [recent versions of] applications, while Tiger has the Classic environment (which becomes a moot point if you also have OS 9 running natively) and is a little bit faster than Leo in my experience. There's an OS 9 distribution that can be installed on a Mac mini and I found it to be delightfully fast. On my Mini's 80GB drive, I have OS 9, Tiger and Leopard. I also used to have Jaguar and Panther on it but Jaguar suffers from no graphics acceleration (or Quartz Extreme), which caused me to move the installation to a fully supported machine; and Panther was only used for Mac-on-Mac, a Panther-exclusive port of Mac-on-Linux which allows virtualising Puma. That, too, has been moved to a faster machine so I don't need Panther on my Mini anymore.

EDIT: Just for the LOLs, I tried booting Puma natively on my Mini too. Result: a nice kernel panic. ;)
 
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ahunter3

macrumors 6502
Oct 15, 2003
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Me Too...

I'm trying to set up my PowerBook 17 with an SSD. This computer is from the pre-SATA era so it expects parallel ATA internal drive.

So I acquired this adapter, specifically for housing a mini SATA SSD and providing the connections for an old-fashioned ATA environment:


Looks just like the one in the original post for this thread, up above, doesn't it?

... and here's the SSD I bought to go in it, a Zheino Q3 120 GB mSATA:


I figured on plugging that into my old Mercury on-the-go FireWire external enclosure for parallel ATA hard drives, and then formatting it and using Carbon Copy Cloner to replicate the operating system.

Here's the more modern Mercury on-the-go; it looks like this but it's older and designed for parallel ATA whereas this one is for SATA drives, and takes the older FireWire 400 cables instead of the FireWire 800:


a) The PowerBook doesn't mount it as a volume; Disk Utility doesn't see it as a drive. System Profiler sees there's an "Unknown Device". MacOS 10.5 PPC.

So then I take the same enclosure to my more modern MacBook Pro which has FireWire 800. Plug it in via a 400-to-800 cable. Again, doesn't mount and Disk Utility doesn't see it as a worthwhile target for formatting. System Report (MacOS 10.11.6) sees it as an "Unknown Device" but at least recognizes it as having a GUID formatted storage device of some sort.

What are my next steps?

I could open up the PowerBook and install this sucker as an internal and boot from the existing drive, putting it inside the external drive carrier, but is there any reason to assume the OS would see it as a formattable drive when it's in the internal drive slot, when it doesn't recognize it in the external?

Did I buy an SSD that can't be used for this purpose, but you know of a different one that would work with this mSATA adapter drive housing, that you could recommend?

And/Or is the adapter housing not appropriate for the purpose I'm attempting to use it and I should have bought a different one for adapting an SSD for use in a parallel-ATA era PowerBook?
 

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Amethyst1

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Oct 28, 2015
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Can you check if the Mercury enclosure works at all, ie with a PATA drive? Just in case.

And even though your adapter looks the same as the OP's on the outside, it may have a different converter inside that might be incompatible or quirky and causing these issues. Adapters with green PCBs are known (around here) to possibly be less reliable.

The Delock 62495 adapter, for example, is a little on the expensive side but known to work. It has a striking red PCB inside.
 
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eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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Me Too...

I'm trying to set up my PowerBook 17 with an SSD. This computer is from the pre-SATA era so it expects parallel ATA internal drive.

So I acquired this adapter, specifically for housing a mini SATA SSD and providing the connections for an old-fashioned ATA environment:


Looks just like the one in the original post for this thread, up above, doesn't it?

... and here's the SSD I bought to go in it, a Zheino Q3 120 GB mSATA:


I figured on plugging that into my old Mercury on-the-go FireWire external enclosure for parallel ATA hard drives, and then formatting it and using Carbon Copy Cloner to replicate the operating system.

Here's the more modern Mercury on-the-go; it looks like this but it's older and designed for parallel ATA whereas this one is for SATA drives, and takes the older FireWire 400 cables instead of the FireWire 800:


a) The PowerBook doesn't mount it as a volume; Disk Utility doesn't see it as a drive. System Profiler sees there's an "Unknown Device". MacOS 10.5 PPC.

So then I take the same enclosure to my more modern MacBook Pro which has FireWire 800. Plug it in via a 400-to-800 cable. Again, doesn't mount and Disk Utility doesn't see it as a worthwhile target for formatting. System Report (MacOS 10.11.6) sees it as an "Unknown Device" but at least recognizes it as having a GUID formatted storage device of some sort.

What are my next steps?

I could open up the PowerBook and install this sucker as an internal and boot from the existing drive, putting it inside the external drive carrier, but is there any reason to assume the OS would see it as a formattable drive when it's in the internal drive slot, when it doesn't recognize it in the external?

Did I buy an SSD that can't be used for this purpose, but you know of a different one that would work with this mSATA adapter drive housing, that you could recommend?

And/Or is the adapter housing not appropriate for the purpose I'm attempting to use it and I should have bought a different one for adapting an SSD for use in a parallel-ATA era PowerBook?
I have a 128GB Zheino mSATA in my 17" PowerBook so I highly doubt it's your SSD. It could be, but unlikely.

I am way more suspect of the adapter you got. A lot of people here have had success with this but so far my experience has been that these are cheapo garbage. Spend a few $$ to get a decent adapter and you won't regret it. There's one mentioned farther up in this thread.
 
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ahunter3

macrumors 6502
Oct 15, 2003
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Got it all working

a) Booted the PowerBook in Target Disk Mode. Mounted it on the MacBook Pro desktop and made a sparseimage disk image using Carbon Copy Cloner

b) Opened up the PowerBook and swapped out the HDD for the mSATA SSD in its little carrier.

c) Booted PowerBook in Target Disk Mode once again. Formatted the SSD. Used Carbon Copy Cloner to replicate the content on the sparseimage to the SSD.

d) Rebooted normally.
 
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