External HDD won't format to MS-DOS (FAT)

Discussion in 'Apple Desktop Hardware/Software' started by bevanbraves, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. bevanbraves

    bevanbraves Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2003
    Messages:
    2,043
    I own a MacBook Air. I am trying to copy files from my MBA to a new Western Digital WD Elements external HDD.

    In the past i've had to format the external HDD to MS-DOS (FAT) to be able to copy/paste to it.

    This new WD Elements is currently in OS X Extended (Journaled) and will not let me Disc utilities/erase/MS-DOS (FAT) it. It gives me a "Erase process has failed. Press done to continue" message.

    the WD Elements also won't let me copy/paste to it or create new folders in its current state (OS X Extended (Journaled).

    Any ideas how to make the external HDD accessible?

    * I'm using Safari 11.0.3
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  2. damo13579

    damo13579 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    1,108
    Location:
    Newstead, Tasmania
    Can you erase it via disk utility while keeping the format the same or does the same issue happen?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    bevanbraves

    bevanbraves Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2003
    Messages:
    2,043
    I have been trying to erase it via disk utility and i can choose to change the format type. But it was giving me the "didn't work" message.

    I tried again today and realised i could choose to format "a level up", and that has formatted it and i have been able to save to it thanks.

    New problem ..... it says 1.8 gig available when i do "get info". And it should be a 4 gig unit. Is it the wrong size, or can i do an extra check?
     
  4. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    52,856
    Location:
    brisbane
    use a GPT partition and ex-FAT. not sure it that will work but you need a GPT partition for 4TB drives.
     
  5. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    31,596
    Location:
    Brisbane
    That, and FAT32 has a maximum volume size of 2TB with standard cluster size:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table

    FAT is old, unreliable, and out of date. So is HFS+, for that matter. If you're a Mac user, APFS is a better choice. If you want interoperability between operating systems, then you're SOL with proprietary vendors at the helm.
     
  6. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    52,856
    Location:
    brisbane
    the best way imo is just to use a GPT/NTFS drive and add some sort of NTFS writer to your mac there are a few.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    bevanbraves

    bevanbraves Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2003
    Messages:
    2,043
    SOL = shit out of luck? OR something else?
     
  8. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    31,596
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Shit Outta Luck.

    Open standards make for good collaboration and cross-system compatibility. Closed standards make for "fuck, what can I format this disk so everything can write to it, and performance doesn't suck?" type questions.

    Oblig XKCD.

    Indeed there are a few. All of them suffer poorly for performance, and can corrupt data if devices aren't ejected properly or systems power down unexpectedly.

    In 2018, there is no universal, high performance, trustworthy, cross-platform file system. And that sucks.
     
  9. theSeekerr

    theSeekerr Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Messages:
    2,682
    Location:
    Prospect SA
    exFat is a better choice for Win<->Mac. Apple paid to license the relevant technologies from Microsoft, so their exFat implementation is fine.

    No mainline support in Linux though.
     
  10. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    52,856
    Location:
    brisbane
    agree - which is why it was what i suggested first - OP seems to want FAT32 or the highway. well highway it is OP.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    bevanbraves

    bevanbraves Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2003
    Messages:
    2,043
    Thanks for your replies. I'm in a bit over my head with the technical talk. I don't know that i have a preference as such.

    I just want my external HDD to be able to work on windows and apple.

    Picture below of what choices i have. Can you please tell me which one is the one i should be using? Sounds like its the bottom choice, being "ExFat".
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Hater

    Hater Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2012
    Messages:
    2,033
    Location:
    Canberra
    Yes, ExFAT.

    If you want to use Fat32, you're going to have to format the external and make a few smaller partitions
     
  13. crepuscular

    crepuscular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    309
    Location:
    Sydney OR Osaka, Japan
    mac can read, but cant write to NTFS out of box
    there are fiddling methods via command lines to get mac to be able to write to NTFS

    if you dont wanna go through all the troubles like me, just install Paragon, gives write access to NTFS drives
     
  14. telefragd

    telefragd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2003
    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Perth, WA
  15. waltermitty

    waltermitty Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    531
    Location:
    BRISBANE
    Nah BSD's Fast File System (FFS) and derivatives don't work on Windows or Linux.
     
  16. everybodies

    everybodies Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2017
    Messages:
    61
    are you using High Sierra?
    i've had weird issues in High Sierra and disk utility formatting whole drives.
    sorry, dont recall specifics, apart from 'fails'
     
  17. flu!d

    flu!d Ubuntu Mate 16.04 LTS

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    11,488
    I've had similar issues with High Sierra, specifically mounting external drives, they just won't mount so that I can format them.

    High Sierra is a mess, I actually regret upgrading to it TBH.
     
  18. HobartTas

    HobartTas Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Messages:
    649
    Any reason you haven't considered UDF? You will need to format it using the highest version both OS's will support, according to the Wikipedia page in MacOS you use newfs_udf and Windows also has had read and write support for it since I think Vista and you can only do it from the command line e.g.

    FORMAT volume [/FS:file-system] [/V:label] [/Q] [/A:size] [/C] [/X] [/P:passes]
    [/S:state]

    /FS:filesystem Specifies the type of the file system (FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS,or UDF).
    /V:label Specifies the volume label.

    /R:revision UDF only: Forces the format to a specific UDF version
    (1.02, 1.50, 2.00, 2.01, 2.50). The default
    revision is 2.01.
    /D UDF 2.50 only: Metadata will be duplicated.
    /A:size Overrides the default allocation unit size. Default settings
    are strongly recommended for general use.

    Format will immediately stop processing if it decides that
    the above requirements cannot be met using the specified
    cluster size.

    The Wikipedia page states that the max UDF volume size is "2 TiB (with 512 byte sectors), 8 TiB (with 2 KiB sectors, like most optical discs), 16 TiB (with 4 KiB sectors)" however the NTFS /? format command does not list any sector size options and entering anything other than /A:512 immediately comes back with the error "UDF FORMAT does not support user selected allocation unit sizes." and I'm thinking that 512 bytes may be the only available option in which case if your happy to only create a 2TB UDF partition on your 4TB drive and leave the rest of it free then this is a viable option. You can try formatting using larger sector sizes like 2KB and 4KB in another OS but I suspect that NTFS probably won't mount them given it doesn't allow this option in the Format command in the first place. I'd say Linux is probably in the same boat as well with 512 bytes the only option. In practice I've found that hard drives formatted in UDF transfer data at about 50% of the speed an NTFS formatted one would work at but other than that it seems to work well without any problems.
     
  19. everybodies

    everybodies Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2017
    Messages:
    61
    apart from several times formatting issues it's been fine. havent had any issues, have you?
    i really like the icloud caching built in.
    what machine are you using? havent had any mounting issues
     
  20. flu!d

    flu!d Ubuntu Mate 16.04 LTS

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    11,488
    I use a 2012 iMac with 16GB ram and SSD. The OS is perfectly clean as I'm predominantly a Linux user, I have this Mac as I run an IT/Repair business and you need a Mac to repair Mac's - And that's literally all this Mac gets used for, repairing other Mac's.

    As can be expected, the mounting and formatting of HFS/HFS+ disks is fairly important on this machine and under High Sierra it's a damn mess.
     

Share This Page