G3 iMac w/10.3.9 won't see my external HD. Why?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ShopJockey, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. ShopJockey macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2005
    I have an external IDE drive that I formatted in OS9, HFS+ as usual.
    The enclosure has Firewire and a USB1.1 (I think) ports so into a slot-loading iMac G3 I'm using a usb cable.
    Problem is that OS X 10.3.9 won't mount it. System info does indeed list a "Mass Storage Device" on the USB chain, but that's where it ends. If I boot into OS 9 on the same machine it mounts perfectly. Can anyone suggest wtf is up with this? I have been to the enclosure AND drive manufacturer's (name escapes me now) website and downloaded the few OSX drivers they've posted which have done nothing.
    Shouldn't be this difficult should it?
  2. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    How big is the drive? If it is too large, I don't think it will work with your older machine. (128 GB is the limit)
  3. ShopJockey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2005
    It's a 160Gb drive. So the age of the machine dictates the capacity it can 'see' rather than the OS?
  4. TMA macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2003
    Yes & no.

    Older macs, such as iMac G3's, PowerMac G3's and I think early PowerMac G4s will not detect more than 128gb on an INTERNAL drive. This is because of a hardware limitation in the controllers on the motherboard.

    These computers should work with bigger External HD's just fine, as the controller for these is contained in the case with the HD. Your macs hardware should just see it as a firewire HD and the board in the external case does the rest.

    This doesn't solve your problem unfortunately. The easiest thing to try might be to back up everything important on that drive using OS 9, and then run disk utility and re-initialise it. This will delete everything on there but OS X might start seeing it.
  5. ShopJockey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2005
    Thanks TMA. Looks like the only course of action.
  6. rockandrule macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2004
    Jacksonville, FL
    Actually, I had a similar problem with an external HD of my own. It is also a 160GB. I was trying to run it on my girlfriend's PM G5 using 10.2.7, and it actually said that the drive either had to be partitioned to smaller sizes or that the drive would have to be formatted to a Mac only HD, deleting the FAT32 drivers. Luckily, this wasn't a problem being that I am not going to use this HD on anything other than a Mac. Look into your manuals and see if there might be something to do with the drivers. It's worth a try.
  7. zakatov macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2005
    South Florida
    Just like the older Macs do not recognize >128GB HDs, some older ATA-> FW/USB chipsets also fail to recognize them, and judging by the USB 1.1 port on the enclosure, that might be the problem.
  8. ShopJockey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2005
    Fascinating stuff - I hadn't thought of this at all.
    Thanks for the great ideas guys.

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