Mysterious new tiny partiton?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ActionClaw, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. ActionClaw macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2008
    I've been playing around upgrading an old Mac PowerPC 8500 with a Sonnet G4 processor, IDE card, etc. There have been pitfalls (yes, I realize it may not have been worth doing) but things seem to be falling together to keeping the ol boy useful.

    There's been a lot of drive swapping, software installations, OS upgrading, etc. so I'm not certain at what exact point the problem began.

    I have three identical 40 gig IDE drives all initialized, formatted, partitioned into 3 volumes, at the same time using the disk tools, drivers, etc of (I believe) OS 9.0.3. Two of them then lived happily in iMac G3s for a while. One was upgraded to 9.1 then 9.2.

    I'm now (at least temporarily) using these drives in the 8500.
    It did not happen at first but what's recently begun to happen is that, upon startup, I get a "This disk is not readable.." alert asking to initialize this disk as a 5k Mac OS partition. This mysterious new partition has been added to at least 2 of the 3 drives.

    - Cancelling, the rest proceeds to load and work fine.
    - Disk First Aid shows 4 volumes and shows this volume as unknown: "This is not an HFS disk"

    - I was reluctant to do so but eventually opted to go ahead and initialize it confident it would only address the one partition leaving the others alone. It came back "could not be initialized".

    I'm not certain but I think it may have begun after the OS 9.1 upgrade. Is it possible that the disk drivers were updated, are maybe smaller and left this little hunk of unformatted disk?

    I remember years ago when formatting new scsi drives there was usually a little extra bit of unused space one could claim by just grabbing the bar and dragging it over. (I don't recall the application used). I don't see anything similar with any IDE tools I've tried thus far.

    I guess I could leave well enough alone and keep hitting cancel as these disks may not be staying in this machine anyway except..

    1. if you don't do so immediately the machine sometimes freezess up
    2. I think I recall the same thing happening years ago with scsis used in this machine (possibly when I upgraded to 9.1 ). I don't know if there's a connection but these drives eventually crashed and I don't want to chance that happening again.

    What caused this? What can I do to get rid of it or format it without risk to the other partitions?
    Suggestions for other tools/applications to use.

    Thanks for any help
  2. ActionClaw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2008
    Really? No one else has encountered anything like this?

    Perhaps if I simplify & reword my question thusly:

    Is there a disk utility (either OS 9 or OS X, preferably freeware, shareware, etc.) that, without reformatting the drive, can modify drive partitions or update/install drivers?
  3. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    That's a little odd. I'd expect to see that on a Windows machine... not an old Mac. However, it's a possibility that it has something to do with the fact that the PowerMac 9500 shipped with a PowerPC 604 processor which doesn't support 9.2 and later. You could try zapping PRAM [or boot into Open FirmWare, and type init-nvram] to see if that helps matters.

    If this doesn't help things, you might want to look into DiskWarrior; that's fixed every hard drive problem I've ever had on a Mac. Latest for OS 9 is 2.1.1, I believe. I could actually send the file to you in a couple weeks when I get home, if you wanted.. I think you'd probably have trouble finding a DW version that old for sale.

    Disk First Aid sucks. As I understand it, it cleans up some of the minor mess-ups OS 9.2 makes on a regular basis, but not much else... which in older versions of the Mac OS it did pretty much nothing, since any issues you had were more serious than it could handle.

    I assume these are all HFS+ disks.

    I also assume they were formatted under OS 9.2 or earlier, not OS X... that can cause some problems sometimes.

    I wouldn't say upgrading/maintaining an 8500 is a waste of time/money (unless it's money you really don't have). I just eBayed a PowerMac 9600 for $10 (plus a ridiculous $45 S&H); 288 MB RAM, OS 9.1, 200 MHz 604e, some small HDD. I've got three or four G3 and G4 CPUs lying around... not sure if I can buy an adapter or if I'd need to buy a daughtercard with CPU to upgrade it... two PCI ATA/133 cards and a free 6 GB drive as well as a few CD-ROM drives and a spare CRT, so I can have some fun messing around with that. Bought a B&W G3 too, for $1.29, haha.

    Actually, do you know if there are cheap adapters I can plug a G3 or G4 CPU into so that I can upgrade the 9600? Or would I need to buy the whole thing? If that's the case I'm not going to bother. Would be a pain to have a 200 MHz CPU though. I'd probably be happy enough with a 300 or 350 MHz 604ev though, lol.

    Oh, P.S., you might have better luck at the Apple Discussion Forums under Pre-G3 computers.... people who have 8500s might know about this.
  4. MaddMacs macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    Flagstaff, Az
    Check out Other World Computing

    I used to have a PM8500 and a PM9600 and donated both to the local high school. The 8500 has a G3 500mghtz chip, and the 9600 has a G4 800mghtz chip. They are both still running OSX Tiger. If you eventually need something a little more modern you can install Tiger, and still run 9.2 in classic mode (9.2 booting is not supported for pre-G3 with out a helper program). I have a lot of experience in installing OSX on to those computers. First go to Other World Computing and pick up a copy of Xpostfacto (, then read their installation instructions. It also has the 9.2 helper there too. I bought an IDE/ATA card for the 8500 to put some bigger hard drives into it, but the bus speed was so slow it stuttered during any audio playback, video was un-bearable. I then found some large SCSI discs and they worked fine, and kept the card for the DVD player (which is required for the Tiger install disc). The hard drives did have to be formatted HFS+. The installation on the 9600 required me to clone the OS and do a Bless Old World Disc in Carbon Copy Cloner for me to install on my WD caviar drive (some bug with the card ,WD drive and XPostfacto) worked fine on my other Segate drive. The bus was fast enough to play audio and some video with out stuttering from the IDE/ATA card (Tempo Trio). Have fun! Those computers are still working great as audio machines & word processing for the high school drama department. I’m not sure about the mysterious partitioning, but my systems were rock solid. Hope this helps.
  5. MaddMacs macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    Flagstaff, Az
    I don't know of any adapters, but to upgrade the 9600 you may have to look for an upgrade card for it, I think the highest you can go is 900 mghtz G3 (powerforce?)or a 800 mghtz G4 (sonnet). The Mac changed to the ZIF socket the next year, as you may know, with the Beige G3, and was not backwards compatible, to my knowledge.

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