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Using FireWire MSDOS disks System
I ran into the problem of reading a MS-DOS partitioned FireWire drive. I would plug the drive in and a dialog box stated that the drive was in an unknown format. I remember being able to read (and even format) MS-DOS over SCSI, but with the FireWire, it wouldn't work even in OS9. After trying to get it to work and messing with some Unix commands I stumbled across an interesting way to mount the msdos right on the desktop in Aqua!

Read the rest of this story if you're interested in seeing MS-DOS formatted FireWire drives on your desktop.

First of all, BE CAREFUL!!! You have the potential of really messing things up. Now, use the OS X Disk Utility (in Applications -> Utilities) to view some information about the disks connected to your computer. There is a mount option in the menu, but presently it only supports UFS, HFS+, and UNIX file systems. But UNIX can mount almost any file system so...

In the OS X Disk Utility, select the desired drive partition. The information tab will give you the MS-DOS partition information, under the heirarchy but it will say it is not mounted. Then, under the First Aid tab, when you click Verify it scans through and says something like:
Verifying disk "Untitled 1"
** /dev/disk1s1
Verify Completed
This gives you the UNIX device name and will be used to actually mount the device through UNIX in a few steps.

Make a directory at the root level to make a directory point to mount the drive.
mkdir /msdosdisk
The next step is the magical UNIX step that mounts the MS-DOS drive to the directory that was just made. Make sure that you replace the 'disk1s1' name with the device name you found with the disk utility.
sudo mount_msdos /dev/disk1s1 /msdosdisk
Now, in the Finder use command ~ or select "Go to folder" from the menu and type:
/msdosdisk
and pop the drive will appear on the desktop! You can go ahead and start copying files.

To unmount the disk you need to drag the disk to the trash. This removes it from Aqua but then you need to also unmount it from Unix with the following command:
sudo umount -f /msdosdisk
As a side note I was also able to format drives for MS-DOS FAT32 using the following command:
sudo newfs_msdos -F 32 /dev/disk1s2
[NOTE: BE VERY CAREFUL!! You have the potential of really messing up your system if you wrote in disk1s1 instead of disk1s2. In this case I would have erased my hard drive instead of the desired drive because of one digit!]

I have had no problems with the above code in 10.1.1; however I don't know how this actually works, it just does. By using the sudo command you are messing with the system and void any warranty that that no problems will occur.

I hope this is helpful to some people, there will probably be some easier ways and maybe some GUI method to do it in the future (hopefully Apple will include this in with the GUI of the disk utility in later versions.) If anyone knows an easier way to do this let me know.
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Using FireWire MSDOS disks | 8 comments | Create New Account
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... but not USB
Authored by: shacker on Nov 23, '01 02:13:18PM

Unfortunately this does not work with external USB drive enclosures. Or at least mine doesn't show up as a drive in the Disk Utility (regardless the filesystem type). If anyone knows how to get OSX to recognize one of these, please post!



[ Reply to This | # ]
USB should work
Authored by: mbultrow on Nov 23, '01 07:59:07PM

You have to wait two or three full minutes before it will appear. This is NOT an exageration. That's how long it takes. Just plug in the USB drive and wait :)



[ Reply to This | # ]
USB should work
Authored by: ajmas on Nov 24, '01 09:28:22AM

I too experience this long recognition time, for me it is around 5 minutes. I am using the MacAlly USB enclosure. Either way this is something Apple really needs to work on.



[ Reply to This | # ]
what about NTFS?
Authored by: Siegling on Dec 04, '01 11:25:41AM

Does this work with an NTFS formatted drive? I am more likely to try to swap files with Windows 2000 machines.



[ Reply to This | # ]
It works!!!
Authored by: doctorosos on Feb 12, '02 02:49:57PM

Your steps worked for me.

I was attempting to connect a VST slim 30GB FireWire Drive
to a iBook Dual USB...

thanks,
Doctor Osos



[ Reply to This | # ]
No need to maunally mount
Authored by: tung on Apr 14, '02 11:57:12AM

Brought a taiwan made external Harddisk box which can use either USB 1.1 or firewire (designed for both Win PC and Mac, i.e. with USB drivers for windows and Mac OS 9.1 or above)

Of course I connect via firewire,
a few seconds later, a firewire icon appear on desktop with name of my harddisk volumn name
so I use Finder and ....
I can read the file on my Win98 harddisk right away ....
no need to do anything like "sudo mount_msdos" ....

nothing, just connect and read ...

is it new features of OSX 10.1.3 ?
or it is some magic circuit in the taiwan made harddisk box ?



[ Reply to This | # ]
No need to maunally mount
Authored by: dougyoon on May 01, '02 01:02:14PM

This works on FAT16 disks (under 2GB).
I just got a 20GB Firewire drive, and experienced the same problem...



[ Reply to This | # ]
Mount automatically under 10.1.5 but not share ?
Authored by: Koril on Aug 21, '02 07:16:44AM

I use an external firewire disk MS-DOS formatted (i.e. FAT 32) which mounts automatically on my desktop, and I'd like to share it via a local ethernet network. SharePoints 2.0.6 works fine for my internal disk (HFS+ formatted) but not with the external MS-DOS one. The share for this disk seems to work fine when I create it with SharePoints but in fact is not effective on the network, it doesn't appear at all !!
Any idea or solution ??
Thanks !!



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