Skip navigation

Partitioning an external Firewire drive

547 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Oct 17, 2012 4:35 AM by Nick Taylor RSS
Nick Taylor Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 9, 2012 8:38 AM



I'm trying to partition an external 150gb Lacie Firewire drive with the Disk Utility under OSX10.3.9 and I've gone through the Erase procedure and DU is telling me I'm left with 149.1gb after formatting.


So now under the partition tab I'm trying to set out the size of each partition and I know these sizes are gonna sound a bit random but bear with me so I want :-


3 partitions of 10gb = 30gb

6 partitions of 8gb = 48gb

1 partition of 71.1gb


After setting, naming and locking the first 9 partitions, when I get to the final partition, which I want to be 71.1gb, DU won't let me set a figure above 16.81gb.


Now I fully appreciate that disk sizes are, to a degree, 'approximate', that after formatting you do 'lose' a few gb's and that each partition will have a filesystem installed on it but where the heck am I losing 54.29gb of storage space from ?!!


I have experimented with fewer partitions and, to be fair, it seems you lose less space with less partitions but is it really the filesystems on each partition eating up that space ?


I'm using HFS+ (journalled).


Many thanks for any help you can give as this has been a real headache today !



466mhz G4 PowerMac, Mac OS X (10.3.x), 895Mb RAM
  • roam Level 6 Level 6 (13,545 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 9, 2012 4:48 PM (in response to Nick Taylor)

    ...with the option key held down in order to give the choice of drives to boot up from, I only get the main system drive, not the external firewire drive

    You have two of the three requirements, a Firewire connected volume formatted as HFS+. That leaves the bootable backup as questionable. What backup method are you using? Have you tried to cloning the HD using SuperDuper! You will need to use the older version 2.1.4 for your Panther 10.3.9.

  • roam Level 6 Level 6 (13,545 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 10, 2012 2:44 AM (in response to Nick Taylor)

    I am not so sure about those folders you are seeing. Bootable volumes should appear as drive icons either HD or Firewire icons.


    I have not used carbon copy cloner, but I do use Superduper on a frequent basis.

    To make a bootable clone requires an external drive connected, (Firewire in your case and formatted for Mac OS) and simply run Superduper. It sits in the Applications folder, and opens like any other application.

    On completion, quit it and if all is well, you have just replicated your HD onto the external. The OS CD plays no part in this process.


    To check if it is bootable, restart, as you know, with the Option key and it should be offered as a choice along with the internal drive. At least that is the story normally. See if you can produce this event as well with a cloned version.


    Message was edited by: roam

  • roam Level 6 Level 6 (13,545 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 10, 2012 3:03 PM (in response to Nick Taylor)

    t's ok then to boot my machine up as normal from the internal HDD, run  backup software that's installed on that drive and then backup the same drive?

    Yes, as I detailed above. I crossed out your last phrase, as there is no need to do anything further. Running Superduper makes the backup. After it has finished that's it. There is no extra step required.


    Just an extra point, when I am running Superduper, I have all other applications closed and just have it running solely. Whether this is neccessasy or not, I do this anyway to maximise the success of the operation. 

  • roam Level 6 Level 6 (13,545 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 14, 2012 3:46 PM (in response to Nick Taylor)

    Hi Nick,

    I think we need to go back a bit. Without being able to create a bootable volume with neither DU's Restore or a Superduper clone, should be the main concern.


    I checked on my 10.3.9 setup and a bootable volume is indeed shown as a folder as you have mentioned. (It is later systems that shows the drive icon) so that is good, except there is only one of them not two.


    That you have tried two backup methods and both failing to make the ext. drive bootable, makes me think the ext drive might be defective. I'd be starting again with the drive. Incidentally I think you have far too many partitions. Have one partition for each bootable volume and one other for storage using folders rather than partitions to differentiate content. On this recommendation two partitions would be sufficient.


    Has this drive worked as a bootable backup before? How old is it? What Mac was it connected to previously? Is it an externally powered unit or self powered? Is the Firewire cable good? So here I am suspecting the ext drive is the problem.


    At this stage I'd try and find another PowerPC Mac and see if the ext. drive shows as a bootable volume.

  • roam Level 6 Level 6 (13,545 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 16, 2012 2:09 PM (in response to Nick Taylor)

    It must be connected by a Firewire cable. If it appears as a bootable volume in the startup disk panel try selecting it. Then restart and it should start with the external. If that does not happen I'm out of ideas.


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.