[Noisebridge-discuss] Mac MSDOS FAT32 XHDD drive formatting problem...

Aaronco Thirtysix aaronco36 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 11 17:51:38 UTC 2013

>> I have a X USB HD formatted OS 10.5 FAT32 that I would like to format as a Windows XP drive.

Besides what Eric wrote, you could also use a Linux Live distro to
partition and format the X USB HD "as a Windows XP drive".

>> XP will not recognize it, no driver letter appears when I connect it via USB cable.
>> It only shows up in Control Panel, Device Manager and there only as a USB, from which I have found no way to format it.
>> I've tried every trick in the book but nothing works.

Since you are starting off using WindowsXP, there is almost always
just _bound_ to be an extra USB port and/or an optical drive (i.e., a
CD/DVD drive) on your device for the purposes booting a Linux distro
from live media. If it's an extra USB port you've got (and your
device's BIOS boot-order recognizes USB), then you'd use a bootable
liveUSB; if it's an optical drive you've got instead of a second USB
port, then you'd use a liveCD.

You might wish to do at least these four things:
1) Visit a Linux live distro site such as
- SystemRescuCD, http://www.sysresccd.org/SystemRescueCd_Homepage
- The UltimateBootCD (which has Parted Magic Linux),
- SLAX, http://www.slax.org/
- Puppy Linux (Wary, Slacko, or Precise versions), http://www.puppylinux.com/
- Knoppix, http://www.knoppix.org/
- plenty of other live distros just as good...

.. and then download to your hard drive, the .iso image file of one or
more of these.

2a) If you are Yes able to boot from a liveUSB through re-ordering
your device's BIOS, then download and install to WindowsXP the YUMI
Multiboot USB Creator --
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/ -- to create
a working liveUSB from the .iso image(s) you downloaded from above. Of
course, you would need an extra and empty USB drive of sufficient
capacity for this multiboot liveUSB to work.

2b) If you are UNable to boot from any liveUSB through changing the
boot order of your device's BIOS, then you'd need to burn one or more
of the .iso image files you downloaded from above onto separate blank
CDs using a Writeable CD/DVD drive. If using WindowsXP for this, you
might need to additionally install image-writing software such as
CDBurnerXP, ImgBurn, DeepBurner, ...etcetera, assuming you don't have
something suitable for this already installed.

3) You'd boot up your device with your liveUSB (or liveCD is
necessary) inserted, and make sure in your BIOS boot-order that the
liveUSB or liveCD boots 1st before the WindowsXP HD does. Once a boot
menu for the live media comes up, you should take the default
selection (take the choice of booting into Parted Magic if using
UBCD). If the default menu selection somehow doesn't work, then
depending upon the Linux distro, you might have to reboot and then
choose another boot menu selection.

4) Once booting w/ a working Linux live desktop, the next steps are to
insert your X USB HD into a free USB port and then use the Linux
distro's utilities to diagnose and maybe repartition and reformat that
X USB HD. Might have to use any of these distro's Command Line
Interface (CLI) XTerm windows to do these tasks. Typically involved
are the Linux CLI commands 'badblocks' (like the Windows XP CHKDSK but
more thorough), 'fdisk', 'cfdisk', mkfs', ...etcetera. Eric's
suggestion of using NTFS seems okay; also might want to consider using
another fdisk/cfdisk FAT32 partition-type such as type 0B or type 0C
and then running a complete 'mkdosfs -F 32 -cv

>> The drive is fully functional when connected to a MacBook Pro and can be
>> formatted back and forth from MS DOS FAT 32 to OS10.5 which tells me it's working.
>>Any suggestions?

_Fully_ scanning this drive for any possible media errors as well as
properly partitioning+formatting the drive (steps 1-4 above?) are
definitely some suggestions here.

Others ought to definitely step in with more and even better suggestions.

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