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PowerBook G4 (Titanium) Hard Drive Upgrade Guide
Page 4 - Formatting the New Drive
by Mike
Published: 9/2/2001

Intro | Removing Old HD | Installing New HD | Formatting the New Drive

Formatting the New Drive

Now that the new drive has been installed, you have to format it before it will appear on the desktop. (Since it's the only drive inside the Powerbook, you also need to install an OS on it after it's formatted.)

Whenever possible, I use Apple's Drive Setup (OS 9.x) or Disk Utility (OS X), which is included with all Macs and Mac OS CDs. It works with every IDE/ATA drive I've seen and most SCSI drives also. Apple's drivers (installed by Drive Setup) currently perform about as well as any in most cases and have the advantage of compatibility with future OS updates. (Unlike many 3rd party drivers which often require updates for later OS versions, some of which cost $$ to buy the latest version.) Apple Drive Setup is inside the folder of the same name contained in the "Utilities" folder of the Mac OS 9 CD, or on your original hard drive (if you've moved the original internal PB drive to a Firewire case and are booting from it with the Option key).

Owning a portable (2.5in) Firewire case is a HUGE plus, as you can put the original Hard Drive in the FW case (here's a typical Portable FW case HD install guide) and boot from it (using Option key) and then use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the original drive to the new drive (after formatting it in Disk Utility or Drive setup.)

The images below were from another OS 9 drive setup guide in one of my previous install guides, so the sizes, etc. are just for reference. (OS X's Disk Utility can also be used, but when this guide was done OS 9 was still the primary OS used.) When I installed a 32GB drive in my PowerBook G4 (I later installed an 80GB drive), I used the 2 partition option and installed OS 9.x on one partition and OS X on another. Since the first partition is on the (faster) outer tracks of the disc, I'd install the OS you use most on the first partition. (Just a FYI...)

Note: If you're using OS X's Disk Utility to format the drive and you ever want to boot to OS 9, make sure you check the option to install OS 9 drivers, otherwise the system will hang when trying to boot to OS 9. (Also if the new drive is partitioned, do not uncheck that option on any partition - if you uncheck the option on one partition - none will have OS 9 drivers.)

Some users may want to have more than 2 partitions (one for Data, one for Apps, etc.) but that's a matter of personal preference. The images below show a single partition, but if you want more than one partition just select it from the menu option.

OS 9.x Drive Setup
Drive Setup Folder Contents

Run Apple Drive Setup and select the new drive, which is shown as uninitialized (see image below).

Drive Setup Initial screen

Once you select a drive in the list, the "Initialize" button in the lower right corner will become active. Click on it to bring up the initialization options panel. Although not a must, in that panel I always select the custom initialize option, even if I plan on selecting only one partition. The image below shows the custom Initialization screen. (The image below was taken during formatting a 18GB drive, so the formatted drive size will vary of course depending on the drive size you're using. A 32GB drive for instance has a formatted size of just under 30GB. The 'rated' size vs formatted size differences are primarily due to the decimal (drive rating) vs. binary (computer formatted size) numbering system. 1000 is 1K decimal, 1024 is 1K binary for instance.

Drive Setup Partition Screen

Note: Make sure you format the drive as "Mac OS Extended" format (aka HFS+), otherwise there will be a lot of wasted space on large volumes due to the older HFS format's large minimum block sizes. (I.E. a small file will take up many times its actual size on the disk since the minimum allocation block size will be very large. HFS+/MacOS Extended allows a much larger number of total allocation blocks, so each one can be smaller, increasing storage space efficiency.)

You can always reformat again later in the Finder if you didn't select Mac OS Extended at this point, but reformatting destroys any existing data, so best is to do it right the first time. (Note: Alsoft's Plusmaker can convert volumes from HFS to HFS+ (MacOS Extended) without erasing the data).

After the drive is formatted it will mount on the desktop and is ready for use. As I mentioned earlier, if you own a portable (2.5in) Firewire case you can put the original Hard Drive in it and boot from the FW drive (using Option key) and then use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the original drive to the new drive. Or you can use the MacOS CD to install a system to the new drive or a specific volume (partition). Once a system/OS is installed on the new drive, you can then select the drive as the boot disk using the Startup Disk Control Panel.

Related Links:

For other PowerBook G4 (or other PB model) articles, see the Systems page, Powerbook section.

For other storage related articles/reviews/guides, check the Main Site IDE, SCSI, or Firewire articles pages, which have other guides and reviews of drives, controllers and more. The Frequently Asked Questions also has topic areas on storage and Powerbooks as well as over a dozen other topics.

Index of PB G4 HD Upgrade Guide

Intro | Removing Old HD | Installing New HD | Formatting the New Drive

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