I have an external hard drive (1 TB Western Digital) that is currently formatted as FAT32 and I want to reformat it to a single partition of HFS+ for my Mac. I realize that I can read FAT32 from my Mac but want HFS as it has other feathers like permissions that I'd like to have.

I have tried using Disk Utility to format the drive as I have done in the past, but when I go through the process it fails and throws out an error stating that it is unable to reformat the drive to HFS.

Error messages:

Partition Failed

Partition failed with the error: File system formatter failed.

What might be the reasons that this could happen? Are there any diagnostics I could run on the physical disk to check if it is running well?

  • Feathers? What does the error message actually say? May 12, 2010 at 20:26
  • Sorry - forgot to copy in the error messages. They are now in the original post. Thanks!
    – dtlussier
    May 12, 2010 at 21:10

1 Answer 1


Re-partition the drive using a GUID Parition Table.

  1. Go into the “Partition” tab and choose “1 Partition.”
  2. Click the “Options…” button and choose “GUID Partition Table.”
  3. Set the format to “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and Apply.
  • This. I'm not sure HFS+ was ever a properly supported volume format for Master Boot Record (MBR)-based drives. Switch it to GPT.
    – Spiff
    May 12, 2010 at 23:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.