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  #1  
03-22-2009, 03:35 AM
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Recently a customer sent me a brand new Iomega/IoGear external USB2 hard drive, that was formatted for Mac OS X. This drive proved itself a nuisance in several ways:
  1. When I first plugged it into my primary desktop (Windows XP Pro SP2), the red light on the drive blinked slowly. Although the drive claims to draw power from the USB ports, it clearly wasn't getting enough juice.
  2. Next I tried my secondary desktop (Windows XP Pro SP3), and this was more interesting. The red light rapidly blinked, and the unit chirped at me, a low-pitched beeping sound. I felt like an agent in Mission Impossible, where it was going to self-destruct.
  3. Rather than try more desktop systems, I next tried on a laptop (Windows XP MCE SP2). Bingo! No noise, no flashing lights. However, there was no drive. No new hardware found.
  • I manually went to the Control Panels (Start > Settings > Control Panels), and told it to search for new hardware, and it did find a new USB2 storage device. But again, no drive letter.
  • Since I knew it saw a storage device, I went to the Computer Management console (right-click on My Computer), and the Disk Management Console. The drive was there, labeled as "GPT Protective Partition". A drive letter could not be assigned, and in fact I couldn't format the drive or anything else. Crap.
Google searches into the "GPT Protective Partition" error quickly showed that this was an Ext2/Ext3 Linux partition. Knowing that my customer is heavily Mac-based, and that OS X is a Linux-based OS, it became clear that I was dealing with new-age Mac-only hardware.

More attempts to access the external drive followed:
  • On the laptop, in Windows XP MCE SP2
    • I ran VirtualBox, and attempted to run several Linux LiveCD's, but none of them would see the drive either. It was less Linux, and more Mac.
    • I tried several Windows XP Ext-format-reading utilities, including FS-Driver. Still nothing worked.
    • I came across the payware application MacDrive from MediaFour, which looked promising. However, it didn't work either. (If it works for you, buy it cheaply from Amazon.com using this link!)
  • On the laptop, I decided to try something new!
    • Again, I ran VirtualBox, this time loading up my one and only extra copy of Windows Vista Business.
    • Vista natively detected the drive, but it would not read it either, either natively or with FS-Driver.
    • Next came an attempt with MacDrive. It was there! I could access the drive! I could write to it! (Again, you can get a good deal on MacDrive from Amazon using this link.)

What a rigamarole! This very minute, across the network (from the primary desktop that was housing all of the client's work), I'm currently transferring his files to his drive, by way of Windows Vista in a virtual session.

It's dirty, but it works.

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Someday, 12:01 PM
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  #2  
02-17-2010, 09:00 AM
golliver golliver is offline
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hi, had to register, just to give an explanation to what you've encountered.

you've encountered an GPT partitioned drive with HFS+ file sistem on it.
that is the real reason you couldn't access the data until you've installed macdrive on vista computer.

there are, however, GPT partitions that can have NTFS or some other file system, which would be normally accessible from within windows vista, xp 64-bit, 7 and 2003 server.

only solution so far i've come across is mediafour's GPT mounter (~$20). on their site you can see an explanation why you couldn't see the disk on xp although you installed macdrive.

so, the real step by step guide should be:

if you want to use an drive with GPT partitions created in osx (HFS, HFS+ file system), and have windows xp (32-bit) - you should:

1. buy and install mediafour GPT mounter;*
2. buy and install mediafour macdrive.
3. connect your drive

if you want to use an drive with GPT partitions created in windows xp (64-bit), windows 7, vista, or 2003 (HFS+ file system), and have windows xp (32-bit) - you should:

1. buy and install mediafour GPT mounter;*
2. connect your drive

*GPT mounter supports only drives up to 2TB.

also, GPT drives with FAT and NTFS file systems are easily accessible from within linux. osx is based on unix, not linux, although they seem similar.

btw. i'm still trying to find an free solution for using GPT disks inside xp 32-bit. buying GPT mounter is not an option for me.

cheers
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  #3  
02-17-2010, 09:23 AM
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Thanks for the added info.

Sometimes I think the best option is to re-format the drive into a partition type that both OS X and Windows will handle without requiring all the payware work-arounds.

FAT32 is obvious, but will be a problem on files of 4GB or larger. Large video files are one obvious scenario where this won't be an option.

You can use NTFS, but then we're back where we started: OS X can read but not write to NTFS by default. It requires a for-pay 3rd party plugin like Tuxera NTFS For Mac, currently $35 USD. It's based on their early free product NTFS-3G, which was not without it's own issues according to what I read at the Tuxera/NTFS3G blog.

For free HFS+ on Windows, give this Paragon software a test run: (Link removed, beta ended? Link was 404.) -- it's a beta, so some things don't really work yet (deleting from the HFS+ volume, for example).

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Last edited by admin; 07-08-2010 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Removed dead link to http://www.paragon-software.com
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  #4  
07-08-2010, 02:31 PM
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The beta program mentioned in the above post has ended.
The full version of Paragon HFS+ for Windows 8 is now at http://www.paragon-software.com/home/hfs-windows/
Current price is $39.99 for it. Still a pretty good price, if this is what you decide you need.

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  #5  
08-16-2010, 11:09 AM
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Hi,
I was googling up GPT partition when I came across this post, and decided to ask my question here.

Actually, it's more like a request for help.

Here's the situation in short:
- My friend had a portable Buffalo HD that worked fine
- She then hooked it up to a Toshiba HDTV that has USB recording function, and recorded some TV shows on the drive for me. The first time she hooked up the HD to the TV, it prompted her to format the disk, which she accepted.
- She passed the drive to me, and when I connected the drive to my laptop which is running XP, it doesn't show up at all
- Did a quick check from Computer Management and found that though the disk is there, it couldn't be mounted for some reason..
On the Disk Management page, I saw the following:
Volume: blank
Layout: Partition
Type: blank
Status: Healthy (GPT Protective Partition)

- I tried Macdrive, didn't work
- Googled around, and it seems that XP cannot mount GPT partitions, and that it needs to be read on Mac
- Found a willing friend with Macbook and tried connecting the drive, and still didn't work
- In Disk Utility, I could see the drive there.. Clicked "mount", and it didn't work. When we tried utilising it, it said that there are errors and need to be repaired. when we clicked Repair, it said there were errors and can't be repaired ( I can't remember the exact messages...)
- In Mac, we went to Properties, and saw the following:
Volume name: blank
File System: MS-DOS
Type: msdos
NAme: MS-DOS (FAT)
Partition Type: Microsoft Basic Data
Bootable: Not bootable

I've been trying for a while now to access the drive and copy the data, but no luck so far.
Would appreciate any help in this.. I'm willing to pay for the utilities if it works. (GPT mounter sounds like it could work, but there is no trial version and I don't fancy paying for it if i'm not sure it will work)

Thanks in advance
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  #6  
08-17-2010, 08:48 PM
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There's a strong chance that the Toshiba HDTV is using a proprietary storage format, or possibly one of the Linux-based ones (Ext3 or ReiserFS, for example, which Windows often does not understand). This is very common on storage used with video gear, such as DVD recorders, TiVo's and other DVRs/PVRs. Video game systems, like the XBOX, also use proprietary file systems.

Windows and OS X may also be lying to you about the GPT partition. The OS may not actually know what file system is present on the drive, so it's guessing at it, based on what it sees as being the closest (an educated guess by the computer, if you will). Although this is uncommon, I've seen it before. Linux is generally better about discerning the true formatting of a hard drive -- one reason so many recovery methods involve Linux software instead of Windows or Mac OS.

I have a feeling you won't be able to read this drive, and that it will only work with another Toshiba recorder.

Recorded by an HDTV? Are you sure about that? Maybe you mean a Toshiba TiVo box? I've never seen a TV set that could record video.)
EDIT: Nevermind, I stand corrected! These are new, as of 2010.
Toshiba Japan press release: http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press...4/pr_j1401.htm. No mention of the file system, however.

A poorly translated version of the specs reads:
Quote:
(1) Windows compatible 7 ("Z1"). Added support for Windows 7 PC with Windows "remote play" in, PC video and music on your hard drive "Reguza" can enjoy.
So whatever that's supposed to mean. Maybe refer to the book that came with this TV?
Looking deeper online, I have a feeling it will network with Windows 7, to transfer the videos across LAN, but there's no mention of using the hard drive on a computer -- only with the HDTV itself. Even the Windows 7 info is scarce, so I'm not sure if the transfer is bi-directional, or if it only allows one-way communication (i.e., computer to HDTV, not HDTV to computer). Again, you'd almost have to refer to the manual.

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  #7  
11-30-2010, 06:08 AM
azharalibuttar azharalibuttar is offline
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MBR-based partition table schemes insert the partitioning information in the master boot record (MBR) (which on a BIOS system is also the container for code that begins the process of booting the system). In a GPT, partition table information is stored in the GPT header, but to maintain compatibility, GPT retains the MBR entry as the first sector on the disk followed by a primary partition table header, the actual beginning of a GPT. Now here comes to the problem to convert this disk to MBR disk, there is a very simple and easy method to convert this disk to MBR disk but you will lose your data and partition from that disk. I assume that you have an empty disk where you have accidently enabled GPT and you need to convert it back to MBR disk.

You can convert your GPT protective partition to MBR if you dont have any data on it, you can use the clean command

I can share the link if there is no problem with this forum.

http://www.itoperationz.com/2010/11/...on-in-windows/
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11-30-2010, 10:15 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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The "brute force" way (assuming you don't need any of the data) would have been to just zero out the first couple hundred sectors of the drive... bye bye GPT.

Otherwise, just use Windows Vista/7. GPT is going to be mandatory for drives over 2TB (MBR reached its sector limit), and only x64 systems are going to be able to boot off of them (with EFI firmware anyway).
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  #9  
11-30-2010, 12:34 PM
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Thanks azharalibuttar, but that doesn't really solve the issue as presented at the beginning of this thread. I wanted to access data, not delete it. I've never tried, but I would think a simple fdisk would have the same results.

Another option is to convert the GPT back to an MBR, using a special utility like GPT fdisk. Freeware download at http://sourceforge.net/projects/gptfdisk. Of course, that requires Windows Vista, Win7 or OS X to run, which I didn't have at the time. And the tool did not yet exist in March 2009, when this was first written. It claims to convert GPT to "regular" hard drive (MBR) without data loss:
Quote:
* Edit GUID partition table (GPT) definitions in Linux, FreeBSD, MacOS X, or Windows
* Convert MBR to GPT without data loss
* Convert BSD disklabels to GPT without data loss
* Create hybrid MBR or convert GPT to MBR without data loss
* Repair damaged GPT data structures
Then again, this was client data, on a client drive, so I don't know that I'd want to experiment in that situation. Not good, not at all, if the experiment would have failed! Yikes!

Since writing this post 18 months ago, I now have one machine on Windows 7 64, two on Windows Vista x64, and a Mac mini on OS X 10.6. So this has largely become a moot issue. I will add that MacDrive 8 is still quite useful. Very cheap from Amazon for only $37 shipped! I don't know that I could operate as well as I do, without having that tool. Direct access of external Mac-only drives is a necessity, and always bogging down the OS X system for simple file transfer across a gigabit ethernet seems a bit silly. It's faster for direct drive access.

Thanks.

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  #10  
12-29-2011, 04:18 PM
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This page gets a good bit of activity.

Anybody that has further questions (or is confused by anything discussed on this page) is welcome to reply. After registering and/or logging in, go ahead and tick the box for "I have good reason to make a reply here, and wish to proceed." and ask whatever it is you need, that is still on the topic of GPT Protection Partitions. I just wanted to give explicit permission here.

Thanks.

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