Disk Utility Won't Initialize 3TB Drives?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by HoosPhotog, May 8, 2012.

  1. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    That just means you're really really old! :D:D:D:D:D

    For what it's worth, I've used 3tb with no issues in all my machines except a Netgear NAS device.
  2. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    Yeah ... after reading your RAID-0 posts, I have been thinking of getting another 3TB matching drive to RAID-0 them for the speed. I really don't need 6TB of storage, but getting the speed using the larger drives would be nice.

    I suppose the measured speed differences could be due to our specific test parameters and test programs used. I was using BlackMagic DiskTest and I believe the default 4GB test file size.

  3. Tesselator, Mar 15, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Well, also to consider is that you really don't get 6TB of storage with that setup. At least not 6TB of fast stable storage. One needs to keep rotational media at least 40% empty for stability, speed, and migration concerns.

    Yeah, IIRC BlackMagic tries to be less synthetic by encoding and decoding the streams. So those rates are encoded stream rates. Still in that bench I get pretty good; Here's two of them in RAID 0 with the read speed on it's way up to the mid/high 380's:


    And with the newer version of BM DST they stick in place for better screen-shotting. Here's 4 of those drives in RAID0:


    And there's still a difference even with the newer version. Other benchmarkers show rates of around 700MB/s and slightly over with that setup. Personally I like this way best. It's faster at all things (even 4k files @ around 40MB/s average) than a single super fast SSD, the overall cost is still less than a single sizable superfast SSD and of course that's 12TB (or about 7TB managed). The only downside is that it takes up 4 of the 6 internal SATAII connections.
  4. jackhenri macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2011
    Back to original post.. help!


    I to am pulling my hair out trying to format a 3TB seagate drive in my MACPRO 3,1, OSX 10.8.3.

    I have tried everything;
    Formatting from Recovery mode
    Formatting first as NFTS in a windows PC
    Formatting with multiple partitions
    Formatting with GUID & Apple Partition Map
    Formatting through Time machine (read it on a forum- didn't work)
    Installing Seagate sleep override

    everytime, the progress bar get's half way, then I get the 'File system Formatter Failed - error)

    Does anyone have any tips?, I would be forever greatful..


  5. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    You may just have a bad drive. My 3 and 4 TB Seagates formatted just fine.
  6. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    That could very well be.

    Jut to note that I've tried every which way to format my 3TB drives under 10.7.5 on my MacPro1,1 and they all just work fine. No troubles at all. Fast format, Erasing empty space, Adding partitions, dumping unpartitioned unformatted drives into a RAID0 array list, removing partitions, and doing all those things plus more on a Windows 7 system first before placing them into the Mac. In all cases the Mac had no trouble recognizing, formatting, partitioning, and RAIDing them. (I bought a whole case of the 3TB Seagate ST3000DM001 drives after I saw how the 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB drives handled. Very nice drives!)

    So I was a little confused when I read the older parts of this thread myself.

  7. jackhenri macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2011
    Thanks Tesselator.. I think maybeI might try and reformat the drive again in a windows PC and erase empty space etc.. I was expecting the drive to work out of the box as previous drives have..
    The drive is the same that you mention 3TB SeagGate ST3000DM001 Barracuda 7200.14 SATA III 6GB/s.. I was thinking that the problem might have to do with the 6GB/s, when disk utility does actually recognise the drive(unformatted) it shows as a 3TB 3GB/s

    I'm a bit of a luddite I'm afraid, so I'll do my best....


  8. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Just to be clear; I'm saying any and all of those things worked individually. This includes directly out of the box and into the Mac.
  9. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    I have a couple of those 3TB Seagate drives and they worked fine in my 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 ... and in my new 2012 Mac Pro 5,1. They are pretty nice drives, really fast!

    Formatting them in Windows may have problems with the 2.2TB limit depending on your Windows machine and version. But no problems with OS X.

    Sounds like a defective drive to me.

  10. jackhenri macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2011

    thanks for your help everyone.. I'm ashamed to say, I ended up just returning the drive...

    I don't actually think the drive itself was defective, but I just had no luck with it. I tried everything with my mac pro, then I tried putting the drive in external enclosures etc, attached to my 2011 mac mini..but still no joy..

    I think I am going to exchange it for a WD black 2TB.. It's for use as a write drive for Pro Tools in my mac pro 3,1...

    thanks again...
  11. jackhenri macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2011
    drive was faulty!

    Well according to the folk at 'ebuyer' where I bought the drive, after rigorous testing, 'the drive was faulty'.

    Seems if I had pursued the drive diagnostics tests, i would have saved myself a lot of time, trying to format a faulty drive..


  12. absolutmp5 macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2004
    This is still a big issue

    Hi Everyone,

    working on a 2012 Imac running mountain lion 10.8.3, and I have tried using my voyager external dock with both (firewire via thunderbolt and vanilla usb3) to format not 1 but 4 different 3tb Western Digital red drives to no avail. Even a 2tb green drive brings no success.

    I tried using disk utility to even create a single guid partition with no luck.

    Does anyone know if there has been a solution yet regarding this?

  13. ShaggyDog macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2013
    1TB ADF Hitachi 7K1000 internal drive won't inialize

    I have a MacBook Pro i7 (late 2011) 15" 2.26Ghz with 8GB and 250 Samsung SSD (540/520), plus a second 500GB drive where CD-ROM Lived) running Maverick 10.9. Runs great.

    Purchased a 1TB HGST (Hitachi) Advanced Drive Format 7200RPM "7K1000 model" 2.5" drive as a second drive (to replace the 500GB).

    On first boot, it took 8 mins to finally boot into OSX.

    I went to Disk Utility and the new 1TB drive didn't show up, so restarted, and repeated the same action. Still no 1TB drive in Disc Utility or on desktop.

    I read these forums, and did my share of searching the web and others had had success (with 2Tb & 4Tb ADF drives) by booting into OSX Install menu and running Disc Utility from their. Thus booted into OSX (from a boot able USB as I didn't have a CD drive) to try initialize the drive in disc utility. Drive still didn't show up, not even grayed out.

    I rebooted (waited the 8 mins again - without the second 1TB drive Mac boots in about 12 seconds) and tried disc utility again, nothing.

    The 1TB just doesn't show up. I wondered whether the second drive bay was damaged, so I removed the 1TB and put it into a USB Caddy and then tried formatting it in Disc Utility - SUCCESS!!! Drive initialized no problems.

    Believing I had solved the problem, I went about the arduous task of reinstalling the 1TB drive in the second drive bay again.

    When the Mac finally booted up (8mins plus again) - no drive showed up on desktop nor disc utility. Eventually an error message appeared on the screen saying something like "drive not readable do you want to initialize/ eject" I clicked initialize. The Mac then tried to initialize the 1TB drive again in Disc Utility. It got all the way to the end and then put up a message saying it couldn't complete the initialize. I tried this several times still not success. I removed the 1TB drive again, reinitialized from USB caddy, ran Disc Verify and Repair no problems reported.

    I have now re-installed the 500GB drive and the Mac runs fine and still boots in about 12 seconds.

    Funny thing is, the new 1TB drive works fine when connected with a USB caddy, however I purchased it as an internal second drive for data to replace the current 500GB drive and the Mac just doesn't like it.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  14. rachinc macrumors newbie


    Jul 17, 2008
    what about for maverick

    I read this and when I did the partition, it finished and still read as 801.57 gb on the drive. I'm running OS X 10.9.1. PLEASE HELP!
  15. Njzkillahsin, Jan 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014

    Njzkillahsin macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2014
    Solution that worked for me

    So I experienced the same issue as the user above with a seagate 3TB drive. I formatted the drive using terminal and it worked flawless. Use the command below!

    Step 1
    Type "diskutil eraseDisk JHFS+ diskname diskidentifier" into terminal.

    Change disk name to whatever name you want for your drive
    Change disk identifier to your drive identifier for example disk01 etc..

    You can find your disk identifier by clicking on your drive in disk utility and clicking on info

    I hope this helps.
  16. macdog007 macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2014
    Same problem - no solution yet

    The solution posted by Njzkillahsin did not work for me:

    It still produced a 800+ GB disk.

    Seagate Barracuda 3TB ST3000DM 001 Drive in LaCie USB Case
  17. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    I have several "older" enclosures which have a chipset limit of 2TB maximum disk size. I discovered this when I installed 3TB drives and as I recall it too only showed 800GB or so. Upgrading to a newer version of this case with newer chipset (OWC GuardianMAXimus and Qx2) resolved the issue with the 3 TB drives.

    Does your LaCie USB case support larger than 2TB drives?
  18. TheEasterBunny macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2013
    Try partitioning it into two 1.5TB drives.
    See if that allows it to format and recognize.
    I remember trying to force old macs into accepting modern drives in the past. and that was my work around, partition in a machine that could do that, and the old one seen the drive(s) as multiple appropriate sized drives.
  19. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Jun 15, 2008
    Sagittarius A*
    You sure you don't have an apple raid card fitted which plugs into the sleds? With the sleds directly connected to the logic board they should partition fine.

    If not it sounds like a mac version of the intel windows rst bug with 3tb plus drives only seeing 746gb. If your seagate's have a jumper for XP compatibility try using that, the wd's do work fine with their jumper set but I have no idea about the modern seagate spinning disks as I stopped using them years ago. If there is no jumper could possibly be a boot cd to configure them like the samsung spinners do for SATA mode and delay start..
  20. StrudelTurnover macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2008
    Just updating this longstanding but very useful thread with another experience.

    Under 10.9.5 and Mid 2011 iMac I ran into different issues with a bare WD30EZRX drive, now pretty popular and affordable. I would not expect these issues to persist in post-2012 Macs?

    I use a lot of JBOD and single drive enclosures (USB and firewire), and have Thermaltake's BLAC X Duet and solo "holsters" as well as two Icy Boxes. For dealing with more awkward PATA drives I have an offbrand multiadapter that supports IDE and SATA.

    The upshot is that from the factory the drive needed to be initialised, and Disk Utility only wanted to give me 2.2TB using the BLAC X Duet. Partitioning and ejecting the drive a few times making sure the GUID partition was updating didn't help a lot. So I tried with my other quick connectors (not the Icy Box), both of which were only able to report 800+GB. Without wanting to reboot yet, I returned to the Duet and Disk Utility finally gave me the option to format as a 3TB drive, which I did as 2+1. It recognised my earlier partitioning of 1.1+1.1 and the remaining space at the end was blank, as I expected.

    I write this without being able to check if the other connectors will be able to see the new partitions, but just be aware that things are still finicky on any USB hardware and BIOSes prior to 2012. My understanding from reading another thread today, is this is a SATA protocol issue with 512B sectors, even under GUID/GPT.
  21. KCC macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2016
    --- Post Merged, Mar 20, 2016 ---
    I too, had issues with Seagate ST3000DM 3TB drives that I had used in a NAS and wanted to use one for a TimeMachine drive. My iMac has a Thermaltake BlacX USB and eSATA cradle for 2.5 and 3.5" SATA drives attached. My old 1.5TB drive worked fine, here. However, my 3TB drives all showed as 800GB regardless of formatting, partitioning, etc.

    I have a NUC format PC with Centos on it, and I tried using the disk utility and gparted utility there. It showed as 800GB there, too. It passed all the self-tests.

    I popped the bottom of the NUC off, and used the SATA connection to the Thermaltake. Behold! It was recognized as 3TB. I reformatted, (GUID), and brought it back to my iMac. Again, only 800GB recognized.

    Looking back at earlier replies, I wonder if there's something not quite there for the USB portion. The NUC PC is new. The iMac is iMac11,1.
    There are various hard drive replacements with 3 and 4TB drives, but they connect via SATA, internally. I think the USB hardware is the issue here.
  22. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2007
    Midwest America.
    So I'm trying to replace the drive in my iMac. Will I have to format this drive in my Mac Pro, and then swap it with the internal drive, and boot from the old internal drive to carbon copy clone it?

    Maybe I should ask: Will that work?

    I only get the ~800 GB on that drive using an external USB drive caddy on the iMac. If this is a USB issue, well then I guess it's just an issue, but if it's an OS X issue, *COUGH*, Apple, it's 2016. We DO have drives that large. Some are even larger.
  23. ActionableMango, Aug 12, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016

    ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Something is wrong. OS X can use drives far larger than 800GB and has been able to do so for many, many years.
  24. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2007
    Midwest America.
    That's what I thought. Is it the machine that is limiting the size, although that doesn't make a lot of sense.

    I don't know what to do. To use my MacPro, I'll have to remove an existing drive, and do the 'deed'. Tedious... Pain in the butt!!!
  25. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    You need a new USB enclosure. The one you're using doesn't support the 3TB disk; this has nothing to do with Apple.

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