Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Problems Using PC-Formatted Drive with Leopard & Time Machine

Whew! I was pretty excited tonight when Leopard was in my mailbox. Finally! (It was supposed to be here yesterday, grumble grumble grumble). I'll save my Leopard thoughts for later - just wanted to document my first Leopard problem (which, SURPRISE, was indirectly caused by my old Windows PC).

I have a 750GB Western Digital MyBook. It's pretty sweet. I was using it as my backup drive for my Windows PC, and it was formatted FAT32. When I trashed my PC and got an iMac a couple weeks ago, I checked WD's web site and sure enough, they had a Mac version of their backup software. Sweet!

Then came Leopard and Time Machine... automatic backups that can be accessed in a completely granular fashion. Imagine! Buh-bye, WD Backup. Hello, Time Machine!

I plugged in my WD MyBook after installing Leopard, and like promised, Leopard asked if I wanted to use that drive to backup with Time Machine. Absolutely! Time Machine said it needed to be reformatted to the Mac format. Sure, no problem.

Except that the format failed.

Disk erase failed with the error: File system formatter failed.

Yikes!

I tried using Disk Utility to no avail. It would format fine as FAT32, but not as any Mac format.

Already-too-long-story-short:

Gizmodo saved me!

Thankfully, the fix is easy.

• Go to the Partition tab. Create two partitions. Under Options, select GUID Partition Table (what you would use to make a Mac OS boot disk) and click OK then Apply.

• Once your partitions are in place, do it again, reverting back to just one partition, but still keeping the GUID Partition Table option. Click OK and Apply again, and at this point you should be cool.

• To be safe, you can then go to Erase and set formatting for Mac OS Extended (Journaled), then format it once and for all. But when you get there, you will probably see that your volume is already formatted in the right way.

Gizmodo reports that some users were able to get this solution working only creating one partition, and that the key seems to be using the GUID Partition Table option.

Whatever the case, these steps worked for me, and Time Machine is now happily chugging way with its first full backup of my new iMac - now dressed in Leopard skin :)

16 comments:

aaron said...

thanks so much for posting this! saved me a gigantic headache!

Shelly said...

You're welcome :) Hope it works for you too!

Kenette said...

Shelly, you are a geek girl angel! I was having a helluva time getting my external FAT32 HD formatted as Mac OS Extended (journaled). Got the same error message you did and Googled your blog. It worked! Many many thanks. - Kate (fellow geek girl)

Shelly said...

Hey Kate! Glad it worked! Geek girls unite! :)

Pat said...

Thank you kindly!

Shelly said...

You're welcome! Good luck! :)

Jussi Ruokomäki said...

Phew.. thanks a ton!

Heiko said...

you made my day :-)

Shelly said...

Glad to help!

JIm Martin said...

BRILLIANT

Frederick said...

AMAZING!!! Thank you soooo much!! I was getting really frustrated.

/Fredrik

jables said...

awesome. I had the exact same problem as you, and this worked wonders. Ready to set Time Machine loose now that my drive is accessible. Thanks again!

Scott B said...

I tried a well known 3rd party disk utility program to fix my TimeMachine drive. I found a lot of errors, but TM still wouldn't run after repair.

Formatting as a GUID drive worked! Thanks

Shelly said...

Glad it worked!! :)

Jennifer said...

I had the same problem with my brand new MyBook and MacBook Pro - thanks so much for posting this solution. Worked nicely and so quick!

Monik said...

Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the tip, I was sooo upset I could not get my 1Tb WD drive to work... it didi it for me.