Unable to format 3 external HDDs on Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by CaptainCowPie, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. CaptainCowPie macrumors newbie

    CaptainCowPie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    #1
    I have a mid 2007 Macbook Pro, 2.4GHz, 4GB Ram, 160GB HDD. My iPhoto library has been slowly taking up all of my disk space, currently almost 80GB worth. So I decided to get another external HDD to temporarily move it to until I replace the Macbook Pro's HDD.

    So I initially purchased two 1TB drives, one a WD My Book, and one a SimpleTech. I hooked them into my powered USB hub along with my two other 500GB external drives, and started formatting the first one while zeroing it out (as per instructions on a site about how to set up a RAID mirror).

    It said that it would take 16 hours, so I came back the next morning and the format had failed. I tried to redo it, but it would not work. The error is:

    Disk Erase Failed
    Disk Erase failed with the error:
    File system formatter failed.


    Next I tried to format the other drive, and got the same error. Both drives were unreadable by OSX (they were initially formatted for Windows). So I thought that maybe putting 4 drives on the USB hub may have maxed it out?

    Finally, I purchased another drive, a 1.5TB Free Agent, and tried to format that. Same problem as the others.

    I am just not sure what to do?

    I should mention that I am down to only 700MB of disk space, after having moved all my Documents to an external HDD, so things are really thin. Could the low disk space have an effect on the formatting?

    I appreciate any help on this. And sorry for the long post.

    Thanks,
    Vince
     
  2. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #2
    First of all MacFUSE lets your Mac read Windows formatted drives.

    Second, don't zero-out new drives. Just hit erase and change the format if they are already formatted.

    Third, USB hubs and hard drives DON'T MIX. Each HDD MUST have its own USB port straight to the computer. Using a hub is almost a guarantee the data will be corrupted. If you want to use more drives, daisy chain them with firewire. Firewire 400 is also faster than USB.
     
  3. CaptainCowPie thread starter macrumors newbie

    CaptainCowPie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    #3
    Yeah, I had never zeroed out a drive before, but a RAID article recommended it.

    Now I didn't know about the USB hubs and HDDs. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I had started using a USB hub recently with the extra drives I had.

    But I did solve the problem, at least temporarily. I had an old G3 that I didn't use much, and decided to power it up and try formatting the drive on that. Worked perfectly. So I just moved the iPhoto library to the new drive and will be checking it out.

    Thanks for the help on this,
    Vince


     

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