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akahanFlag for United States of America

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Convert OSX-formatted drive to FAT32

I have a drive that was formatted with some version of Snow Leopard.  It would be bootable if it was in a MacBook.

I don't care about the information on the drive.  I want to reformat it and use it as an external USB drive on my PC running XP.

I do not have access to a Mac.

When I connect the drive to the PC via USB, it (unsurprisingly) is not assigned a drive letter.  I can see it in Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Disk Management, which says it's "Healthy (GPT Protective Partition)".

In Disk Management, I do not have the option to initialize, delete partition, or do anything else to the disk.

What free tool can I use to wipe the Apple formatting off of it, so that I can initialize, partition, and reformat it for Windows?
Avatar of npinfotech
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If you don't need any data from the disk, you can use Darik's boot and nuke to wipe it (, then install whatever you want.
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you can use the free Bootit-BM  for formatting, and partition handling : 

make the cd - boot from it, and do NOT install it on the drive; hit cancel
select partition work -  then the disk
that's it
Avatar of Joel-May
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Hey guys, this drive is GPT as he mentioned originally. And simply deleting volumes from it will not let him do anything with the drive if he does not have Windows XP 64bit or Windows 7.
The erase could help. But what I would suggest is connecting this drive to any 64bit OS installed machine and there delete partitions from it and convert the drive to Basic MBR first.
And, you can go with NTFS, not just FAT32.  How?

Users running Mac OS X with Bootcamp Windows may struggle to modify or update your documents and files in the Windows partition – usually it is in NTFS File System format which you can read the drive natively in Mac OS X but not write onto it.
Amit Singh, a Google employee, released a implementation called MacFUSE which makes it possible to use any FUSE (File-system in USErspace) file systems in Mac. And the most useful FUSE is the NTFS-3G Read/Write Driver, which ables system to load NTFS with read and write capability.

If you need to support DOS or Win95/98, go FAT32, but you'll notice most external HDs in stores now are by default NTFS

So in NTFS format any Mac OSX can read, and if you need write, have both the MacFUSE and NTFS-3G drivers on the drive so you can optionally install (with permission) on Mac that hasn't write capability and voila it will have NTFS write capability.  Cool eh.
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thanks for the tips so far.   some folks seems to be misunderstanding the problem:  I do NOT have a mac available to me.  i'm trying to format a mac-formatted drive, using a WinXP PC, for use as an external drive in Windows.

Tried to run DBAN, but it barfed, not sure what the problem was there.

noxcho, I also don't have access to a 64bit system, and 32bit solutions?

joel-may, your solution seems to assume that I have a mac?

nobus, will what you are describing work, given noxcho's observation that merely deleting partitions/volumes won't get me where i need to be?
I know the software that must work for you but first need to test it myself before suggesting it. Hold on, I'll be back.
If you use the graphical diskpart Windows prevents you from accidentally blowing away non-win partitions/volumes, BUT if you use the command-line (run as administrator) as @Joel-May indicated, that can work.
In command line you might have to change the partition "type" using diskpart cmd line to do that first (I've seen that with weird GoBack or hidden recovery image part'ns), or you may simply have to use the "override" option as in
   3.1 list partition
   3.2 select partition X (where X is the HFS (ie osx) partition)
   3.3 delete partition override

(@Joel-May is suggesting Windows diskpart command, so no not assuming Mac, I believe)

after that you should be able to prep and format the drive in regular old WinXP.

However, CAUTION since it's older XP it's probably an older machine, and if so, some older machine do not properly recognize very large hard drive sizes in their BIOS, and might likewise not see the size correctly when USB attached either.

Also, the newest drives are "Advanced Format", and again, ol' XP did not include that "Advanced Format" (aka large blocking factor) support built-in, so, you might need to use the Advanced Format tool to partition and format an "AF" drive, information found here
Sorry, I was assuming you were on Vista/7.  The method I suggested works on XP as far as I know.  If you are logged in as an admin click Start -> Run -> cmd.  Then do the commands.  I know XP has diskpart, but I forget if it has the same syntax and command set as the Vista/7 version.

If diskpart won't let you delete the partition then I would suggest a Linux live CD that has Gparted on it. is the official live CD.
I forget what menu it's in, but you will need to write the partition table.  Make sure to select MS-DOS or MBR because XP doesn't handle GPT well.

Be careful with Gparted; it has the feature to copy/move partitions, but I have rendered a Windows 7 system almost unbootable because of using that feature.  Writing the partition table should cause you no problem if you select the correct drive.
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What a totally slick solution, thanks!  I had never heard of this command line access to diskpart before.  Very cool.