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Thread: writing zeros in OS X?

  1. #1
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    How do I initialize my second ATA drive (on internal bus) using the write zeros feature in Mac OS 10.1.5 like in AppleCare Document 24764? I see no option for such an animal in Apple's Disk Utility. Does this mean I have to use a third party software?

  2. #2
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    Why would you want or need to? Do you think there are bad sectors? Copy some huge files to the drive to force it to do a write will almost do the same with any disk drive. As for needing to initialize a new drive, even a 'small' 60GB drive will take 'a while.'

    Today's drives auto map out bad blocks during normal operations. You might want to invest in FWB's new native utility that enables SMART log reporting to alert you to block errors. My experience is that FWB is overly sensitive and would give false positives too often to be totally useful. It told me some drives were failing when it might have been the cable, as the drives weree fine. But they do have a $40 native OS X utility. Don't know if it initializes or just enables embedded technology.

    I have seen only one drive among dozens that required using OS 9 to format. And if you do need to use Drive Setup under OS 9, what's wrong with that?

  3. #3
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    Well, here's the deal. I have a chirping sound coming from my G4 and my second IBM 120GB ATA is definately the source. I read AppleCare document 95044 a while back and posted in this forum--you gave me some help:
    http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/Forum8/HTML/000710.html

    I have been so busy with home repair that this issue got push aside. I have a little 'quiet-before-the-storm'--i.e. Christmas--and wanted to fix this problem.

    I should also say I plan on upgrading to 10.2--I have the disks and I successfully upgraded my iBook--I was waiting on the G4 cause I want to do a small video project for a X-mas present. I thought maybe I could fix my chirping 120GB right now, because it is empty of all video files. My main hobby is miniDV/FCP and I use the 120GB for media only.

    Cornfused what to do next?

    Thanks for the help Greg,
    Jesse

  4. #4
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    Hum... you think it sounds funny and about to go belly up? Disk First Aid and Disk Warrior give clean bill of heath, and why not just use Drive Setup to do this? That's the part that... you have it, DS and Disk Utility are both supported on your systems.

    btw, I've had to wait an extra week to get a replacement from Seagate, I had an IBM (both sent same day) within a week - for sending, turnaround, and replacement. Outstanding service.

    Throw it into a FireWire case and play with it and get one of the better 180GXP's that trounce the earlier models.

  5. #5
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    Lemme just get this straight, Drive Setup is Man OS 9, right? So I boot up in 9 and do it in Drive setup? Even though I'll using it under 10?

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    I don't talk in riddles.

    How can you boot and install Jaguar or OS X if there were no disk drive? How would you initialize the drive unless you had another disk drive.

    You need to somehow get a picture. The "MAC OS: MISSING MANUAL" Series are good, easy to read and understand.

    I remember when people had trouble knowing what a disk drive vs. what "memory" or "RAM" was and hadn't a clue.

    I would suggest buying another disk drive If and Before you need one, and keep one system for playing and learning and one for work etc. and so you can always get online for email, research, etc.

  7. #7
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    I'm sorry, you totally lost me.

    I re-read my post, and I misspelled two words--let me try again.

    The drive in question is the second drive in my G4 tower; I bought after I bought the G4, from MacGurus. There is no OS installed on it; I use it for media only. I was asking you if I should use Drive Setup to initialize with option to zero all data, to hopefully fix the chirping problem. I was confused because Drive Setup is a Mac OS 9 Utility (correct me if I'm wrong). It just didn't make sense to me to use an OS 9 Ulitity on a hard drive that I will be using with OS 10. Do I need to do this or not? I don't know if the hard drive is bad or not. That is what I'm trying to figure out. Should I talk to IBM? I thought I should come here first, because this is where I bought it.

    Sorry for my ignorance. I hope I'm not beating a dead horse; I just need a little direction.

    Thank you,
    Jesse

  8. #8
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    Keep in mind that if you want to low level/test a drive, you don't have to use the
    same OS as you eventually install.

    If you wnat to use Drive Setup (yes, it is OS 9), boot from a second drive or CD and go for it. If the drive passes and seems OK, you can go ahead and install X or 9, or both.

    Heck, you could wipe/test the drive on a PC if you like, and still intialize and install a Mac OS.

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    I was saying that you can't pick yourself up by your own boots. The idea of having to use an OS X disk utility to LLF. A little knowledge is dangerous. Before doing a zero all, it is more likely that the boot blocks are damaged, the driver could also be damaged, and updating the driver and running Disk First Aid and then Disk Warrior first, before taking the hours to zero all which is ONLY forcing the drive to write to every block, then read back what it wrote. Drive Setup has a TEST function that will spot 90% of the bad block errors and attempt to reallocate the block, can be run in the background safely.

    Me, I'd have ordered a new drive from GoogleGear and had it two days later with free shipping. FWB HDT enables SMART diagnostic reporting, probably HDST 3.5. FWB is NOT OS X compatible, HDST is.

    In all of this, what IBM model? and check the Reliability Database on StorageReview. I assume it is a 120GXP or 60GXP? It's under warranty and in under a week you could have had a new drive in your hands (though same model, not one of the better new models).

  10. #10
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    Gregory, the only reason I ever brought up the low-level format is because you told me to do it your orginial email. I just want to fix this drive from chirping. I guess this forum is not the place to get help on returning a drive bought from MacGurus (are you guys open or even on these forums?). I've emailed IBM to get further help. I also checked the Reliability Database on StorageReview (yes, the drive in question is a 120GXP) and there were three other drives listed with similar noises. Maybe this is common? I only brought all of this up because of the AppleCare document #95044--thought maybe it was bad.

    I did erase it in 10 and tested it again in Diskwarrior and Drive setup and they found nothing. I've been using it for the past few days and it made no noise. Just in the last two the strange chirping sound has come up again.

    Jesse

  11. #11
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    I am glad it is working. LLF or zero-all is a "last resort" and takes HOURS and should only be done, according to Apple, if Initialization fails (search for "low level" in the Knowledge Base, or "zero all" and the 3-4 articles on using Drive Setup that come up, along with Disk First Aid).

    There were people on the bbs www.xlr8yourmac.com and elsewhere who had noise like yours but was "fixed" by using Disk Warrior. Apparently a damaged directory can cause trouble which doesn't surprise me, and DW will also repair 'boot blocks' in the process.

    The 120GXP is a pretty darn good drive and 80% of returns are actually functional drives and corrupt driver or OS etc - even so, the RMA process on IBM's web page is easy, and quick, and when I've sent in a drive, gotten one back from IBM (but NOT from Seagate even after weeks) in one week's time, rather than deal with an "iffy" drive.

    Initializing tests the first 1000 blocks only. Test is sort of a 'lite' version of zero-all and has found bad blocks without the risks inherent in running the other full "LLF." Test can be stopped and won't damage a drive if killed. LLF or zero-all should NEVER be killed or stopped because it can render a drive totally useless, in addition to time etc. Test can be done in the background safely.

    Some people have posted recordings of the sound of disk drives making noise to let others listen. I think companies should and maybe IBM does have that so users could know. Seems like Apple needs to provide access to the drive's internal diagnostics SMART log to see if and how many read/write failures have occurred. Nice that FWB does, they've already had two updates in less weeks though, and while I feel the need to have on hand a large number of 3rd party utilities, in general, buying another drive, making sure to have Disk Warrior, and a good backup drive on hand (an extgra while waiting) make more sense.

    After initializing a drive, I like to fill it to 80% full with large 4GB files to insure writing to most of the blocks as a good test.

  12. #12
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    The drive was always working. I was concerned it might crash soon. DiskWarrior and Disk First Aid report nothing wrong with the drive. The sound is really strange; it just can't be a normal operating sound. It happens a lot when I access the drive, i.e. rendering in FCP. I'm currently in contact with IBM via emails to see what could be wrong or if it needs to be replaced. They just are asking a lot of questions so far.

    Jesse

  13. #13
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    Don't know where to put this but an interesting article on hard drives none the less.
    http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/article/1540/

    There is also a thorough background on disk drives, IDE and SCSI, on www.storagereview.com

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>If you can boot in OS9 you can run MacAAM ( ftp://ftp.heise.de/pub/ct/ctsi/macaam12.sit )and setup acoustic management on your disks. bbs.xlr8 thred <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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