SATA external drive won't mount to iBook
April 7, 2006 11:15 AM   Subscribe

I just got a new 250GB SATA hard drive and a SATA to USB 2.0 enclosure to put it in. When I plug everything in & hook it to my iBook, I get the following error: "You have inserted a disk containing no volumes that Mac OS X can read. To continue with the disk inserted, click Ignore" (3 options: "Initialize...", "Ignore" or "Eject"). How do I get it to work?

The box claims that the thing is compatible with Mac OS 8.6 or above.

- Link to the enclosure:
- Link to the HD:
posted by cg1 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
If the drive is brand new, you have to initialize it.
posted by jjg at 11:18 AM on April 7, 2006

You haven't used the drive yet, right? It's totally empty?

You just need to format the drive. That's what "Initialize" will do. It's not an error message, the drive just hasn't been set up.
posted by bcwinters at 11:18 AM on April 7, 2006

This is true, but once you have done it once don't do it again unless you want to erase the drive. There are some mac external harddrive errors (I think mostly on Firewire drives, though) that can result in you seeing this error for a formatted and filled drive.
posted by OmieWise at 11:24 AM on April 7, 2006

Response by poster: I'm confused about Initialize. If I just want 1 huge storage container, do I go to "Partition" and name it, then click "Partition"? Will this not give me an annoying sub-directory within a larger container? I don't want the drive broken up, ultimately...
posted by cg1 at 12:08 PM on April 7, 2006

Just create one partition using the 250 gigs; Whatever you type here will be the name of the mounted external drive.
posted by AllesKlar at 12:17 PM on April 7, 2006

Think of partition's like this: You have an empty pie dish. A single partition would consist of the entire pie (pie being... well... empty hard drive space... It's existential pie, really.) while multiple partitions would instead be parts of that tasty existential pie.

What you have when you buy the drive is a plate. The term "partition" is a bit misleading when you're only creating a single partition, but the partition needs to be formatted so that it's ready to receive data. I could extend the metaphor to say that the unformatted, unpartitioned drive is like an empty pie dish... and that once partitioned, still unformatted, it's like uncooked dough that needs baking... And that once baked (formatted), it's just awaiting the filling, which would be your data... But I won't. Because now I'm just thinking about pie.
posted by disillusioned at 12:28 PM on April 7, 2006

I always thought of a new hard disk as a piece of completely untouched property. Before you can build on it, you have to grade it and level it to your needs (Initialize) You can then keep it as one big piece of property (1 Partition), or subdivide it (lotsa partitions). This has been a metaphor.
posted by potch at 12:34 PM on April 7, 2006

The name you give the partition will be the name that the drive has on your desktop or in the Finder. It won't be the name of a folder inside the drive.

You will have a single empty volume.
posted by voidcontext at 2:11 PM on April 7, 2006

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