Can't partition hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jern, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. jern macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    #1
    I just put a new seagate 1T hard drive in my Macbook Pro (mid 2010). I booted from a Snow Leopard DVD. Disk utilities sees the hard drive but refuses to partition it. Any ideas?

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Knoodles macrumors 6502

    Knoodles

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2003
    Location:
    Gone to the Beach
    #2
    Are you selecting the hard drive or the volume?
     
  3. jern thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    #3
    I selected the hard drive - went to partition - defined one (1) partition - got an error message.

    Actually, I think I may have to send the computer to Apple. I decided to run the hardware diagnostics program and it locked up after 1.5 minutes. I may have a bad memory module but I really don't know. I'll let Apple sort it out.

    Thanks
     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #4
    "I selected the hard drive - went to partition - defined one (1) partition - got an error message."

    I doubt you'd have to send anything to Apple.

    What did the error message say?
    (Hint, write it down and post it here)

    If you can initialize the drive, you can partition it.
     
  5. jern thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    #5
    Fishrrman - if you can solve this I'll be indebted to you.

    1. loaded install DVD (Snow Leopard)
    2. went to disk utilities
    3. selected 1TB ST1000 LM024...etc hard drive
    4. went to partition
    5. selected Volume Scheme - 1 Partition named Mac OSX - format Mac OS Extended Journaled
    6. went to option
    7. selected GUID Partition Table
    8. clicked apply
    9. Answered dialog question "Do you want to partition disk" by pressing partition.
    10. computer shows "unmounting disk" for about 30 sec
    11. computer shows partition error occurred
    12. error reads...
    Partition failed
    Partition failed with error
    POSIX reports: The operation couldn't be completed. Cannot allocate memory.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    "1. loaded install DVD (Snow Leopard)
    2. went to disk utilities"

    My suggestion is this.

    DON'T try to partition the drive yet.

    Install a clean OS onto it using your install DVD (with just the original partition created when you initialized the drive)

    After the install is done, create a new account on it.

    At this point, open Disk Utility and see if you can partition the drive while running DU. What does that do for you?
     
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #7
    I think where you are going wrong is by using the partition tab instead of erase. Just boot to the DVD like you did and start Disk Util. Then click on the drive itself (1TB ST1000). Now go to the erase tab and select Mac OS Extended and name the drive Macintosh HD the click okay. That should do it.
     
  8. jern, Mar 4, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013

    jern thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    #8
    ====================================
    Well, my problem is that when I go to the second screen where it asks what drive to install the OS on, there is no drive shown. I assumed that it didn't show the hard drive because it wasn't formatted or partitioned, but reading your replies it seems that the hard drive should be there. It shows up in the disk utility but that's all. I can't do a clean install until I am allowed to select the disk. Right now I can't select a disk.

    ----------

    I went to the erase tab and did as you suggested. However, on my screen there is not an "okay" button to click - just "erase free space" (greyed out), "Security Options" and "Erase". I actually tried "Erase" hoping that it would accomplish a format that way, but I got basically the same error message that I got when I tried to partition the drive.

    My wife has an older Macbook. I think I'll try installing the hard drive in her computer. It's just possible that I came home from Best Buy with a wonky drive. Guys, I really appreciate you taking the time to help. Thanks.
     
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #9
    "My wife has an older Macbook. I think I'll try installing the hard drive in her computer. It's just possible that I came home from Best Buy with a wonky drive. Guys, I really appreciate you taking the time to help. Thanks."

    I hesitate a bit to post this, but I'll go ahead.

    If you had taken the time to "set up the drive externally", and THEN "do the drive swap", you'd probably be up and running now.

    How to do this:

    First, you're going to need a way to hook up the new drive externally. I suggest you spend $28 and get one of these:
    http://www.amazon.com/Plugable-Dock...=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B003UI62AG

    It will prove to be a very useful accessory to have around in the years to come.

    Once you have that, do this:

    Download "CarbonCopyCloner" from here:
    http://www.bombich.com/download.html
    You can use it free for 30 days.

    You now have the tools with which to do the job-at-hand.

    Take the new drive OUT of the Macbook, put the old drive back in (for now).

    Boot up the Mac with the OLD drive in it.

    Put the new drive into the USB3/SATA dock

    Connect the dock to the Macbook and power it on.

    You may get a message stating that the drive is "unreadable" (not yet initialized). Or, it may just mount on the desktop if it's already initialized.

    I suggest you open Disk Utility. Locate the NEW drive.
    First reinitialize it. Takes only a few moments.
    Next, click the "partition" tab and set up your partitions.

    If this works, you will end up with one or more drive icons on your desktop (in addition to the internal drive).

    Now it's time to "clone over" the contents of your OLD drive in the Macbook to the NEW drive in the dock.

    Launch CCC -- in CCC's window, set up your "source" (OLD drive) on the left. Put your "target" (NEW drive) on the right. Note: CCC can also copy over the recovery partition, but I've never tried this myself (I have no need for a recovery partition because I use nothing but cloned backups).

    CCC should clone the contents of your OLD drive to the partition you selected on the NEW drive.

    When done, it's time to do a "test boot" -- to be sure everything is working as intended.

    Do it this way:
    Restart the Macbook (leave the dock connected). AS SOON AS YOU HEAR THE STARTUP SOUND, hold down the option key and KEEP HOLDING IT DOWN.

    In a few moments the startup manager will appear. Select the NEW drive and click ok.

    The MacBook should now boot from the docked drive. When you get to the finder, choose "About this Mac" and it should say that you're booted from the external drive (it will look EXACTLY like your internal).

    If this is the case, you know the clone is good and the new drive is bootable.

    Shut everything down, and now it's time to "do the drive swap".

    Get the new drive installed and reboot.
    How do things look now?
     
  10. jern thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    #10
    good idea, but...

    Fishrrman,

    I like your suggestion. However, The reason I am putting a new drive in my Macbook is because the old drive is deader than the proverbial doornail - read uncloneable. All I got trying to boot from that drive was a folder with a big question mark.

    Anyway, I've got to figure out why my computer isn't recognizing this new drive. I ran the hardware analysis program (long version) again and it doesn't show any problems with my hardware. That leaves me wondering if I have an intermittent problem (a piece of slowly failing hardware) or a brand new, but bad drive. I think I need to check the drive first. If it's OK then I'm sending my box to Apple.
     
  11. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #11
    1. In Disk Utility.app, select the disk drive.
    2. At the bottom of the window, what does it show for:
    Disk Description
    Write Status
    S.M.A.R.T. Status
    Partition Map Scheme


    You can select the text that appears at the bottom of the window, then copy and paste it into a post.

    Or make a screenshot and attach it to a post.
     
  12. jern thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    #12
    Chown33,

    I'd copy and paste it if my Macbook was working. Right now, all I can do with it is boot from a DVD to an unuseable install progam. So, what's below is being typed in on an old PC - please excuse any errors.

    This is what the Disk Utility program reports about the drive. Everything looks great, but the drive doesn't show up on the page where you would choose the install drive.

    Disk Description: ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB Media
    Connection Bus: SATA
    Connection Type: Internal
    Total Capacity: 1 TB (1,000,204,886,016 Bytes)
    Write Status: Read/Write
    S.M.A.R.T. Status: Verified
    Partition Map Scheme: Unformatted
     
  13. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #13
    You won't be able to install an OS (or anything else) on the HD. It's unformatted:
    Partition Map Scheme: Unformatted
    The obvious step is to format it using Disk Utility.app and the Partition tab. Unfortunately, you already tried that and it failed.

    At this point, you probably need to evaluate each major component separately:
    1. The computer logic board (with no hard drives at all).
    2. The old HD.
    3. The new HD.

    Since you didn't say anything about your experience at taking apart and reassembling computer geary, you should probably evaluate that, too. That means you have to consider whether you might have broken something, or misconnected it, when replacing the HD.

    Evaluating the computer / logic board:
    You already noted that the hardware test failed. This may be significant, or it may not. It seems to have been done with the new HD installed, and if that's malfunctioning, it may cause the hardware test to fail. I don't know, so you have to keep it as an open possibility.

    If you have an external drive case, or one of the SATA docks noted above, you could try either of the HDs with that, and see if you can boot from the SL DVD, and then see if anything is visible on the HDs.

    If you don't have an external drive case, it's going to be a lot more difficult to evaluate either of the HDs.

    Evaluating the old HD:
    How do you know it's dead as a doornail? Suppose the thing that broke was the SATA interface on the main logic board. Would the symptoms differ from a dead HD?

    If you plug the old HD into the builtin SATA interface and run Disk Utility, does it show up as a disk drive, in the same manner as the new HD, or does nothing show up at all?

    Evaluating the new HD:
    You need to connect it to another computer or to an external case or SATA dock, in order to test whether it's alive or dead in that situation. If it's alive, it tends to indicate the SATA on the logic board is broken (or something else on the logic board is broken). If it does the same thing (i.e. show up as a drive, but not write a partition map when formatted), it tends to indicate a defecting HD.


    The basic strategy here is to evaluate each component separately, using known-good components (e.g a computer, a SATA dock, an external case) to test the viability of the unit-under-test.

    The way to test the logic board of the computer is to use a known-good HD already formatted and with files on it, that you know works in another computer. If you plug it in and it works, then problems are likely in the 2 HDs. If you plug it in and it fails, the problem is likely in the logic board.

    If you don't have any of these extra known-good components, then you're pretty much stuck. You'll have to take all your parts in for someone else to evaluate and repair.

    I know of no other strategy that would work here. You don't know which components are good and which are bad, and without some way of identifying which are testably good, I don't see another path forward.
     
  14. jern thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    #14
    chown33,

    Basically I agree with you. However, there are a few points in your analysis that I question.

    1. The hardware diagnosis program locked up twice. The third time, it ran to completion and didn't see any problems. That suggests that the problem is intermittent.

    2. In reference to my original dead drive you ask, "Suppose the thing that broke was the SATA interface on the main logic board. Would the symptoms differ from a dead HD?" Probably not, however if the SATA interface on the board was broken it would also affect the new drive. The old drive wouldn't boot and the disk utility couldn't see it - it's dead. The disk utility sees the new hard drive. I doubt the SATA interface is malfunctioning but I could be wrong.

    As I said earlier, I'll test the new hard drive. If it's OK then I'll send my computer to Apple to get it fixed.

    Thanks for your analysis.
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    "All I got trying to boot from that drive was a folder with a big question mark."

    That doesn't necessarily indicate the drive is "dead".

    All it indicates is that the drive is "un-bootable".

    The drive itself may still be in working condition, and it may still have data on it, even though it will no longer boot the Mac.

    If you had a USB3/SATA dock on your desk, you would be a lot closer to being able to analyze your problems and get things going again.

    If, by the time you have read this post you have made no more progress towards your goal of being up and running again, I suggest you go back to my post #9 above and order the dock from amazon.com. It will cost you only $28 and it will become a VERY important tool to have around in the future.

    My next suggestions:

    Your wife has a Mac of some sort, is this correct?

    Once you have the dock, connect it to her Mac.

    Try putting the OLD drive into the dock while it's connected to her computer. Listen to the drive closely. Does it "spin up"?

    If it does, does it mount on the desktop (even though you didn't boot from it)?

    If it does that, that's a VERY GOOD sign.

    Next, try the NEW drive in the dock. Of course, it has nothing on it yet.

    But if you can initialize it (and partition it, if necessary), you can install a "fresh" OS onto it, get it bootable (and do a "test boot" on HER Mac, just to be sure), then "swap it out" into your Mac and see if that gets you going again...
     
  16. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #16
    I don't know exactly what the hardware test does to test the SATA interface. If SATA is intermittent, it could explain a lot of things. It may not explain everything, but a lot.

    Simply seeing the new HD is inconclusive evidence for SATA correctness. Since nothing else works with the new HD, it doesn't tell you much about where the problem is. It could be a defective new HD, or it could be the SATA interface, or it could even be a problem elsewhere on the logic board. That's why testing with known-good components is important for isolating the fault.

    If you have an external SATA case or dock, it's probably worth testing the old HD in it. I don't see how it could hurt, and if you can recover some data, it's a possible improvement.
     
  17. jern thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    #17
    Or, I could just take the drive back to Best Buy and let them run all of the tests on the hard drive. I'm sure they have all of the test equipment you are suggesting I buy.

    I eight years, with four Macs, this is the first hardware problem I've ever had. It's less expensive for me to just let expert technicians sort it out than to go buy a lot of test equipment that I may use once in a blue moon.

    Thanks for your help guys, but my pocket book is saying send the computer to Apple. By the way, how do you get an Apple repaired? Do I have to take it into an Apple Store or can I just box it up and mail it somewhere? The nearest Apple store to me is in Salt Lake City, about 250 miles by car.
     
  18. spanthoefer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    #18
    can u tell me the end of the story? i got the same problem as you and i dont know how to fix it. what did apple do in the end?
     
  19. burunoh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    #19
    Did you find a solution?
    I'm having the same problem as you, I bought a new hard drive, but continuous the error.

    Thank you
     

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