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Summary:

I just recently extended my external Hard Drive capacity by 250 gigabytes. It cost me $130. Try to beat that deal with a Lacie or something similar. The key – and this is really a note for relative newbies out there – is to buy an […]

I just recently extended my external Hard Drive capacity by 250 gigabytes. It cost me $130. Try to beat that deal with a Lacie or something similar. The key – and this is really a note for relative newbies out there – is to buy an internal hard drive and a drive enclosure. I found a smokin deal on a Maxtor 250 gigabyte drive for $99, and a $30 enclosure. Sweet!

A catch you may run into, if you’ve not done this kind of thing before, is that you’ll have to format it to run as an Apple journaled file system. Doing this is simple enough:

  • Fire up Disk Utility from your Applications/Utilities folder
  • Connect your new external hard drive
  • Select the drive in the left pane of Disk Utility
  • Choose the ERASE tab
  • Select the option to fully erase the drive
  • Make sure you’ve chosen the Apple Journaled File System (extended)
  • Let it run.
  • You’re done!

So if you’re out looking for more space, consider this alternative. And you might even checkout dealmac.com for seriously great deals. Sign up for email alerts so you don’t need to check it all the time…

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  1. mmm thanks dude, informative stuff. I’m a relative newbie when it comes to that kind of stuff. 6 months ago i did blow a good chunk of a cash on a 250GB LaCie HD. It’s purty though. I like purty. Going forward I’ll likely go your route.

    You prolly wanna switch “internet hard drive” to “internal hard drive” in that story ;].

  2. Maybe I meant internet…
    or maybe I didn’t. You’ll never know.

  3. I would suggest subscribing to the feeds from SlickDeals. My stepdad just picked up a bare 200 gig drive for $50 after mail-in rebate thanks to that site.

    Note for newbies, Journalled is excellent but if you need faster drive performance from your external (or internal drives for that matter) you should just use Mac OS X Extended. Journalled is more resistant to file corruption but you pay a little bit in the performance department.

    If you need to connect this drive to a Windows computer you will either need to install an extension to allow Windows to mount Mac OS Extended disks or you will need to format the external drive as FAT16, FAT32, Unix File System, or some other format that Windows can handle out of the box. You can format as Unix File System using Disk Utility but I am not sure how you can format a HDD as FAT16 or FAT32 in Disk Utility (oddly it will let you format thumbdrives and other forms of removable media in FAT16 but not hard drives, it may limit it based on the connection method but I can’t test this because my external is Firewire only).

  4. Ernest Millan Friday, August 26, 2005

    Nick,

    That sounds great. I recently replaced my old Linux server with a Mac mini, a 400gb Minimate, and a 200gb Western Digital with a $25 enclosure.

    Though pricey, I do like the Minimate for the extra USB and Firewire ports and the design. Still, the “$25 enclosure” also does a fine job.

    As far as the drive configuration is concerned, after formatting the drive to “Apple Journaled File System (extended)” I additionally had to *uncheck* the ‘Ignore ownership on this volume” option in the “Get Info” section for the drive to enable permissions. It took me quite a while to find this. :-)

  5. Justin Richard Friday, August 26, 2005

    I own a cheap IO Mega external disk that I bought a while ago. The one thing that I hate about it is that it doesn’t “sleep” when my powerbook is asleep, or when it’s not being accessed. I love how the LaCie external drives are silent when not in use. I have to unplug my drive to stop it from spinning. I’d love to save a buck and use one of these inexpensive enclosures, but I’d like to know if the chip sets included with them park the drive and kill the enclosure fans when the disk is not in use? If the enclosure you own does this, what is the make and model?

  6. Nick Santilli Friday, August 26, 2005

    Ernest – haven’t run into that issue. Would have certainly mentioned it if I had. Glad you got around it.

    Justin – my 2 lacie drives are as you mentioned. it is NICE. I have a power switch on my new enclosure, so I’ll just flip it when I want to stop hearing the fan.

    It’s an ADS if you still care to know.

  7. help! I built my own external drive using a Bytecc USB 2.0 enclosure and a 250 GB Maxtor Diamondmax drive that I bought from newegg.com… I have been completely unsuccessful in formatting and mounting the drive. I have used disk utility in Tiger to try partitioning, erasing, repairing, you name it and it hasn’t worked. When I go to “verify” the drive it says “the underlying task reports failure on exit,” what do I do? By all accounts from what people I’ve told me and what I’ve read this setup should work with my Mac (I have a 1.33 ghz 12 inch powerbook G4 running Tiger). Thanks for any help. Oh ya, I also se the jumper on the drive to the slave setting, clearly that’s what I want, right?

  8. I guess jumper settings should be added to this thread… whenever you put your own hard drive into an external enclosure with your mac the jumpers should be set to ‘master’ !

  9. I replaced my maxtor 160 that died last week with a Diamondmax10-250.
    It is only reading 128 of it and it mounts but will not partition or show the availabe space
    Help please

  10. I just got a Western Digital 250G HD (new & unformatted) and a Nexxtech USB enclosure for my PowerBook G4. When I plug it in and fire up Disk Utitlity the new HD doesn’t show up at all. I even tried connecting to my PC laptop and same thing – nothing. Any ideas?

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