Formatting a dead drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by offthehook, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. offthehook macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    #1
    Hi folks,

    my Seagate external harddrive stopped working today. I used it as my main time-machine-backup-drive. When I plug it in, it still shows on my desktop (at least one partition does, the one that contains my backup won't mount). I tried accessing/re-formatting the drive using Disk Utility, but it just keeps searching for harddrives and does not list any as long as the faulty harddrive is plugged in (it lists all my drives as soon as the faulty drive is unplugged). I still have warranty on this crappy drive, so exchanging it would be my best option. However, there are still some private files on there and I don't want to return it before I wiped it clean. Also tried re-formatting the drive in "Recovery-mode" (CMD+R) but it won't show up there either. Strangely I can still access my files on the second partition, so it might not be completely dead. Is there any way to wipe the drive using terminal? I really need your help folks.

    Best regards and many thanks
    Max
     
  2. case2001 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #2
    You could try repartitioning the drive. Sometimes the partition will become corrupted and the drive may be able to read one partition but not another. This could keep you from reformatting.
     
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #3
    If the drive has experience a hardware failure (with the drive mechanism itself or perhaps with the controller board), you're not going to be able to re-initialize it.

    It's busted...
     
  4. offthehook thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    #4
    thanks everybody for the replies. can't repartition the drive as it does not load in disk utility. is there a terminal command to do it? I can still access and edit the second partition (even write files to it), but the drive has become useless for me and I just want to have it exchanged. is there a terminal command to force a wipe? anyway, thanks everybody for the replies!
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    If the drive won't "show up" in Disk Utility, it may indicate a hardware failure.

    Do you hear the drive "spin up"?

    If it's a hardware failure, NO software is going to be able to do anything with the drive...
     
  6. offthehook thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    #6
    Hi! Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I do hear the drive spin up and I'm able to read the files on the second partition (writing to the partition is possible as well). So I guess, the backup-partition has become corrupted. Therefore I would like to know if there's a terminal command to force a wipe or one that lets me re-partition the drive.
     
  7. jhsonderb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2015
    #7
    FWIW - My Time Machine backup disk does not show up using Disk Utility either (despite the fact that it is functional). I recently wanted to reformat it and found that using Airport Utility was the only way that I could Erase it. My situation may be different because I'm using an Apple Time Capsule (with an internal hard drive) for my Time Machine backups which may be why it shows up using Airport Utility. Having said that, I'm wondering if when you chose your external hard drive as a Time Machine backup disk it somehow made it compatible with Airport Utility (which has an option to erase it). I'm just brainstorming here and I may be full of crap but seeing if your Time Machine partition shows up in Airport Utility might be worth trying.
     
  8. offthehook thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    #8
    thanks for the tip!
     
  9. case2001 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #9
    I don't think your hard drive is dead. Can you access a windows or Linux machine? I would try to partition and format it.
     
  10. offthehook thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    #10
    hi case! thanks for the tip! I'll give it a try
     

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