Can't format a hard drive

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by Giuanniello, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. Giuanniello macrumors regular

    Giuanniello

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Location:
    Capri - Italy
    #1
    So, long story short, I have a 750GB HD off a MacBookPro, when I plug it on my ElCapitan MBPro via external dock it doesn't appear in the finder, after a while I get the warning the disk needs to be formatted but the initialization through DiskUtility fails; I did try on another computer with Os10.7 if I recall it correct, there I have the option to change the partition table and there is a small partition which can't be either erased or removed, end of the day the format on 10.7 works but when mounting the disk on the other computer it still isn't utilizable as it is and keeps appearing after a while with the same message which says it needs to be initialized.
    I gave it to a friend with a Windows computer and he said he also couldn't format it, nor through the operating system nor during the boot-up with the bios format utility or whatever is that called.

    Do you have any suggestion on how to proceed to try to initialize and recover the disk in ElCapitan or whatever any other Os/Software combination?

    Thank you
     
  2. komatsu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #2
  3. Giuanniello thread starter macrumors regular

    Giuanniello

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Location:
    Capri - Italy
    #3
    Isn't there anything like what you suggest which works on a mac since I have no more windows machines since 13 years...?

    Thanks
     
  4. KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #5
    You can do this in Terminal too (in your applications directory). Use the first command and paste the output here if you like. A disk can be erased completely with the second command (substituting ‘diskX’ with the disk’s identifier).

    Code:
    diskutil list
    diskutil erasedisk jhfs+ name diskX
     
  5. Giuanniello thread starter macrumors regular

    Giuanniello

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Location:
    Capri - Italy
    #6
    Same usual problem, it starts the process and after unmounting the disk it doesn't reappear, it's already ten minutes wait and the message is still the same, let's see what happens...

    Started erase on disk2

    Unmounting disk

    Creating the partition map

    Waiting for the disks to reappear

    [ \ 0%..10%..20%..30%..40%..50%.......................... ] 50% 0:00:04
     
  6. KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #7
    This might also be a hardware problem, i.e. failing hard drive. Do you have any other disks you can try?
     
  7. NoBoMac macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    #8
    What KALLT said. Especially in the light that the friend's Windows machine could not format the drive.
     
  8. Giuanniello thread starter macrumors regular

    Giuanniello

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Location:
    Capri - Italy
    #9
    So I raise hands and throw it away? Strange thing is that with another MacOs machine with an older OS it is recognized and DiskUtility finds this small partition it can't delete...

    By the way, no big deal, I thought to install it into the old Mini and use it to store and stream our music and movie library :-(

    Thanks everybody
     
  9. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #10
    The small partition is probably the recovery partition
     
  10. simon lefisch macrumors 6502a

    simon lefisch

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    #11
    If you have a Windows machine you can run SeaTools to see if it's failing. I haven't found a Mac counterpart unfortunately.
     
  11. BLUEDOG314 macrumors member

    BLUEDOG314

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2015
    #12
    You can check smart status in terminal, but I am fairly certain if it is connected over USB, smart can't be reported over USB. Try this:

    Connect the drive, go to terminal and type diskutil list, then get the identifier, diskX. X is probably 1,2,3 or something, usually 0 will be the internal drive.

    Now type diskutil unmountdisk force diskX. It is really important you identified the right number above, next step will nuke anything on the disk.

    Assuming it successfully unmounted, type sudo cat /dev/zero > /dev/diskX. terminal should drop down to a blank line indicating it is now writing zeros over the drive. let this run for a second or two, then press ctrl C to stop the process.

    Now type diskutil erasedisk jhfs+ name diskX.

    Keep in mind if the device does not unmount in the first place, there may be corruption on the drive to the point that once a process like fsck grabs the drive, nothing is usable. in this case, type in diskutil unmountdisk force diskX and leave it in terminal without executing it. Then plug in the drive and quickly press enter. The idea here being to catch the drive and unmount before any processes grab it. Then proceed with the rest of the directions. Just be careful, if you connect any other devices, the drive's disk number will probably change.
     

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