I just bought a 1TB Western Digital drive. I am stoked.

However, I tried to format the drive on my Mac (Leopard) and got the error “File system formatter failed” when I tried to format the disk as MacOS Extended (Journaled). Not cool.

I found this forum thread which suggested using multiple partitions to solve the problem. When I was trying this, I went into options and changed the partition scheme from Master Boot Record to GUID partition table. It formatted fine.

To test things further, I changed the scheme back to 1 partition, and left the format as GUID partition table. This time it worked flawlessly.

The GUID type says it will not work as a start up disk MacOS older than 10.4. So if you’re still on Panther you can’t boot up off my backup drive. Try not to cry too much.

Update: here’s a few reasons why GUID owns MBR