Missing "Free Space" partition on new external drive

Discussion in 'macOS' started by frickkit, May 7, 2017.

  1. frickkit macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2017
    Hello Fine Smartypantses,

    So I'm finally getting around to updating my OS from 10.6.8, which I've bought a 2TB WD MyPassport for Mac drive. I was informed by the .dmg install that it wasn't compatitble with my current OS, so I formatted it to 750 GB for Time Machine, with the other 1.25 TB for "Free Space."

    The TimeMachine backup worked fine and great, but I can't seem to access the "Free Space" part. When I plug the drive in, the icon in finder shows as the TimeMachine one, after only about a minute of appearing as a standard drive. This appears to be so even as it is not doing a backup. Also, it seems to be fully named Time Machine, but that is only what I named the .75TB part... so what have I done here, and how do I get on with it? I'm totally confused.

    Thanks a bajillllllion.
  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Free space is, well, free. That is, not used (and not formatted)
    And, you can't access it because it is still free space (not used or formatted.)
    Open your Disk Utility.
    You should see the free space (about 1.25 TB) in the list under the manufacturer's line.
    Click that "partition", then click erase. You can name it, if you like.
    Once you have erased (or formatted) that free space, it will be available for you to use.
  3. frickkit thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2017
    I thought I did format it when I did the 2 partitions...? If I don't format something into "free space"... what's the format that I should give to my sort of auxiliary storage that wouldn't be that?

    I did erase the drive basically brand new out of the box before I partitioned it; am I correct that simply erasing the drive is a way of formatting it? I'd like to be able to plug this guy in and access my random file collection outside of TimeMachine.

    Anyway, I beg your pardon, I'm still confused.
  4. MC6800 macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2016
    As DeltaMac said, you need to turn that remaining "Free Space" (unpartitioned drive space) into a partition to make it accessable, usually as a named volume containing a filesystem.

    I think the problem you're having is that "Free Space" means different things in different contexts: within the partitioner, it's the remaining part of the drive that has yet to be assigned to partition(s). Within a partition (if that partition is a filesystem), it's the remaining part of that that hasn't been assigned to a file. I believe they renamed it "Available Space" in later versions of Disk Utility but I don't know when that changed.
  5. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Yes, that's correct. When you first erased the drive, it is considered a format.
    But, you decided to create your time machine partition at a smaller size, choosing NOT to do anything with the leftover space. And, Disk Utility does nothing with that extra space (leaving it named free space. And that free space does not mount (can't be used for file storage, etc.) until you specifically do something with THAT free space.

    So, yes, you absolutely did format all the space on your new MyPassport. One part was for your Time Machine backup, and you adjusted that space for your use. That's fine! But, Disk Utility didn't do anything with the rest of the space, so it was left as Free Space (and not formatted - also not usable until it is formatted).
    Easy to fix: Open Disk Utility. Choose the free space partition (you may need to go to the Partition tab to do that, I'm not sure), then name it (or leave it as the default "Untitled"). The format will, by default, be Mac OS Extended. That's fine.
    Click the Apply (or Erase) button. Wait for a few seconds while that finishes.
    And, now you can use your new partition.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I must be getting older, for I have a hard time trying to figure out what you're trying to accomplish by reading your post above.

    In my own experience, I've found that if you're going to partition an external drive, and then install the OS onto it (as well as use the other partitions for other things), it's best to partition and set up the drive so that the partition that holds the OS is "the first one" in the partition list.

    What I would do next:
    1. RE-initialize the external drive.
    2. Set up the partition which will hold the OS as the FIRST partition (in Disk Utility's list)
    3. Set up the partition to serve as the Time Machine backup to be the SECOND one "down".

    Does that make any difference?
    By the way, which partition scheme are you using? I believe it should be "GUID".

Share This Page