How many hard drives does it take, before WinXP can see them?
June 23, 2008 8:42 AM   Subscribe

External hard showing "weird". Better known as, sharing an external/portable hard drive between osx and winxp.

I have tried out no less than 3 of these Lacie external hard drives.

They are formatted FAT32 and register perfect on my macs at home. However on 2 WinXP machines they register as a regular drive, are listed as "full" and nothing can be loaded or read from them. This all started because they initially could not be found on the winxp though device manager "saw" them just fine and disk managment found it "healthy". I got it enabled and allocated a drive. Now it does not show in disk management. This is what I have done so far:

1) Reformatted one on a mac for pc -- still not "mounted" though seen by device manager. Forced allocation using disk management. Unable to format on the PC to NTFS after it mounted. Unable to read or write because "full" or not recognized;

2) Plugged in a "virgin" FAT32 drive after forced allocation and it can be seen but now only registering as a drive with no further info and again, "full" cannot read nor write nor found by disk management;

3) MacDrive 7 unable to find or read the drives initially until I forced allocation and again, no read nor write nor formatting. App keeps asking where the mac drive is;

WinXP service pack 2 on my machine; hard drives connected via USB 2.0; Novell Zenworks and network drives are a part of my environment.

The drives are new and Lacie is generally a reputable firm. FAT32 should be able to be read by a WinXP machine. This is a consistent problem after trying 3 drives. Any advice would be nice.
posted by jadepearl to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
1. Are you able to add/delete partitions on these drives using Windows? Have you tried deleting the partition, replacing it, and then formatting? Or if Windows won't delete the partition, how about using OS X to remove it, then seeing what happens when you plug the unpartitioned drive into Windows?

2. Are you allowed to turn off the Zenworks? Are there any non-Zenworks-using Windows machines around you can try the drives with?
posted by equalpants at 9:15 AM on June 23, 2008

Response by poster: In answer to questions:

1) unable to read and recognize drives in disk manager so unable to reformat under xp. Tried the reformat in osx and no dice on recognition when looking in "my computer" but it was visible to disk management and device manager. Now since I forced allocation and made the drive "enabled" it is not visible to device or disk management though now it shows in "my computer" as a disk drive but full and unable to read/write;

2) I do not have access to a non-zenworks machine
posted by jadepearl at 9:37 AM on June 23, 2008

Have you tried calling Lacie?
posted by rhizome at 11:43 AM on June 23, 2008

Response by poster: I have emailed as of last Weds. I have combed through the site for information and have Googled for anything similar.
posted by jadepearl at 12:06 PM on June 23, 2008

They appear to have a phone number if you create a support account on their website.
posted by rhizome at 12:10 PM on June 23, 2008

posted by rhizome at 12:10 PM on June 23, 2008

I'm guessing this is a zenworks problem. Have you tried any USB flash sticks? If they behave the same then you've probably got an XP/Zen problem.

If you are desperate, you can boot your PC from a live CD linux distro and test if they can see the drives. This would at least narrow down the problem to software configuration on the XP machine.
posted by chairface at 3:23 PM on June 23, 2008

Response by poster: USB keys work in the environment. Can't boot the machine with a USB key in because IT uses USB keys to image the machines so USB has priority otherwise, it shows correctly and works.
posted by jadepearl at 7:00 PM on June 23, 2008

Best answer: OK. Problem solved and I provide the solution for any other poor Mefite. Thanks to Christopher at LaCie support.

Reformat the drive to NTFS via command line. The GUI way is problematic. Though it can be invisible in multiple ways to the machine do the following on the WinXP machine:

- From your Start menu, choose Run.
- Type in ‘command’ (without quotes- anything within quotes in the instructions is what you type, just without the quotes).
- At the prompt, type in, ‘diskpart’ and hit enter. The prompt should change to DISKPART>
- Type in ‘list disk’ and hit enter.
- This drive should be in the list reporting approximately **GB Make note of its Disk number in the first column.
- Type in ‘select disk #’, the # being what disk number it is from the previous step, and hit enter.
- It should report back, ‘Disk # is now the selected disk.’
- This next step will absolutely guarantee the drive is erased. If you’re sure it is ok, type ‘clean’, then hit enter.
- It should report back, after a moment, ‘Diskpart has succeeded in cleaning the disk.’ At that point, you’re done. Anything other than that is indicative of a hardware problem.
- Type in ‘exit’ and hit enter. Do it once more and you should be back to your desktop.
After Diskpart succeeds, the next control panel is Disk Management.

IF the drive does not show properly or as described in the Diskpart utility, please change the ** cord, if possible the power supply, and try to repeat the steps from a different computer.

- Right click My Computer, left click on Manage.
- Select Disk Management on the left.
- If an initialization window should appear, cancel out of it.
- A top and bottom window will appear on the right. In the bottom window, this drive will show up as a Disk reporting approximately ***GBs. It should be showing 'Uninitialized' with a graphic of a red circle with a white line through it.
- Right-click on the square reporting the GB, and choose Initialize. A small box will pop up, just click OK through it.
- The large rectangle to the right should be saying 'Unallocated.' Right click and choose 'New Partition'.
- Follow the prompts, and leave everything default. On the panel with 'format options', there are only two things to do, other than defaults. Where it says, 'Perform a Quick Format,' you can check that. And where it says 'Volume Label', which defaults typically to 'New Volume', you should type in a new volume name. An important step towards making sure corruption doesn’t occur again, is giving the volume a new name it never had previously.
- Once the partition wizard is finished, it should take anywhere from 1 minute to 5 minutes to complete the partition. It will go to saying Healthy, to let you know it is finished.
- Copy some data to it after that. If it copies in, you should be all set.

I checked the drive using both firewire and USB on more than one XP machine and on OSX. I will post the results of how I migrated a 200GB iTunes Library later.
posted by jadepearl at 1:33 PM on June 24, 2008

Best answer: I post this as an easier alternative solution. Caveat, I use a reputable hard drive company, Lacie, so I can get support for the hard drive; my winxp machine is using Novell and is a clone; If you cannot get your FAT32 visible on the WinXP here is a solution that is working for me:

1) Reformat the hard drive to MAC native format on an actual MAC using OSX;
2) Buy a copy of MacDrive. I NEVER advocate software unless absolutely necessary. Make this a clean install and do a full blown restart even if the software does not force you to;
3) Even if the manufacturer of your hardware on the PC or drive side says that it can be powered with a single USB or firewire still plug in the extra power cord. Maybe it is the manufacturer of my PC but the USB bus was SERIOUSLY underpowered and the hard drive only starting behaving properly when it got extra power;
4) On my particular machine I could not have the hard drive plugged in during a boot because my IT group does imaging off of flash drives so an external hard drive using USB throws it for a loop;

I have successfully migrated my iTunes library between my MAC and my WinXP machine in the ~200 GB range. The read and file system seems to work fine.

I do not recommend having your mac drive connected to the winxp machine all the time because it seems if the drive is spinning A LOT even when not in use so I would go the back up or transfer route and not the mission critical/operations level with it.

Hope this helps you all.
posted by jadepearl at 1:52 AM on September 30, 2008

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