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Fix a Western Digital My Book drive formatting problem Storage Devices
Twice now I have had problems formatting a new Western Digital My Book external drive under 10.5.x. Disk Utility fails to format the drive as Max OS X Extended Journaled with a "Format failed..." message. The first time this happened, I found an obscure firmware update at Western Digital's forums. This time, I found a quicker solution in this thread over at macForums. Here's a short executive summary version:
  1. Open Disk Utility and select your drive.
  2. Go to the Partition tab, name the drive as you wish, and choose one partition. Partition the drive.
  3. Select the partition you just created. Go to Options (on the bottom of the dialog window) and select GUID Partition Table/OK, then click Apply.
That's it; you can now format the drive successfully.
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Fix a Western Digital My Book drive formatting problem
Authored by: conner_ on Sep 10, '08 10:27:04AM
I had the same problem with my new 1TB MyBook. On my second attempt, I got a strangely 'hung' formatting process in DiskUtility (I was able to quit without any trouble), which left me looking for other solutions.

To format the drive without any trouble, I didn't try anything listed in this post, I did it all from the command line
diskutil eraseDisk "Journaled HFS+" desiredvolumename disk1 FTW!

my MyBooks location was disk1, you can determine yours with
diskutil list

Seems simple enough, but whatever works, you know? good luck

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Fix a Western Digital My Book drive formatting problem
Authored by: bkitchman on Sep 10, '08 02:59:26PM

So the issue is pretty simple to explain. The drives are shipping partitioned with MBR. You can not use HFS+ * with MBR partitioned drives. So you need to repartition in either APM (Apple Partition Map) or GPT (GUID Partition Table). It doesn't matter which you do unless you are going to use the drive as a boot volume. Use GPT to boot intel machines and APM to boot PPC machines. That is not to say that you can not boot an intel machine with a drive partitioned APT, it is just not supported.

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