Internal SSD MX500 on macbook pro mid 2012: File system formatter failed

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Kilobyte Kid

Internal SSD MX500 on macbook pro mid 2012: File system formatter failed

Hello

An apple technician told me that either my HDD or the HDD cable was dead. As the cable was changed by Apple one year ago, I assumed my HDD was dead and not the cable. Then I bought a "Crucial MX500 500GB SATA 2.5" 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal SSD" to replace my HDD.

I replaced it following the ifixit tutorial (https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Unibody+Mid+2012+Hard+Drive+Replacement/10378).
Then I switched on my computer and press Command+R, then I went to Disk utility.
When I try to format the SDD into MacOS Extended (Journaled) or to create a GUID Partition table with MacOS Extended (Journaled) format, the following message appears: "Volume erase failed with an error: File system formatter failed"

I don't have a USB cable to test the SSD or the HDD, or to format it externally.
Should I assume that the cable is dead and order a new one?
In that case, could you give me a compatible cable for both my "Crucial MX500 500GB SATA 2.5" 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal SSD" and my "MacBook Pro 13" Mid 2012" please?

Best,

Lionel

6 Replies
JEDEC Jedi

Re: Internal SSD MX500 on macbook pro mid 2012: File system formatter failed

 

Try reseating the Hard Drive Cable on the Logic Board.

 

Try an SMC Reset & a PRAM reset.

 

Can you Erase it by selecting MBR & FAT32 instead of the normal Apple options?

 

Maybe try using your original install DVD or create a bootable USB  installer instead of using Recovery Mode which is booting into Internet Recovery Mode since you have no bootable OS on your system.  Maybe the Internet Recovery version of OSX being used has a bug.

 

What version of OSX are you booting from?  You may not be aware of the different methods of booting into Internet Recovery Mode (seems they keep changing it without any notice).  I would suggest trying Shift+Cmd+Option+R to boot the oldest version of OSX it will allow, so you can try manually partitioning the SSD by selecting "Partition" and changing the drop down option to "1 partition" (not sure if this is still available in OSX 10.12 or not).   If you still have your original install DVD, then try using it to partition/erase the SSD.  The newer versions of Disk Utility have been stripped down and may be causing a problem.

 

You can also try writing zeroes to the beginning of the drive by launching the Terminal (may be on the Tools or Utilities menu).  You need to identify the identifier associated with the SSD.  You may be able to do so using Apple System Profiler or Disk Utility (select Info), or you can use the following command from the Terminal (you may need to scroll back/up to find it):

 

diskutil  list

 

 

Most likely the SSD will be identified as "disk0".  Make sure to substitute the correct identifier in place of "diskX" in the following command which will erase the beginning of the drive.  If you have any other devices connected, then this might erase them if you choose the incorrect drive identifier.  BE CAREFUL!

 

sudo  dd  if=/dev/zero   of=/dev/diskX   bs=100m  count=5

 

After writing zeroes to the beginning of the drive, try partitioning/erasing the drive with Disk Utility again.

 

FYI, unless you modify the OSX installer, OSX 10.13 or newer will automatically reformat your SSD with APFS regardless if you manually use HFS+ beforehand.

 

Crucial sells a USB to SATA Adapter.

 

Using an USB adapter/dock/enclosure is the easiest way to determine what is going on with your laptop.  With it you can try booting your original hard drive and maybe even recover your data if necessary.  Plus it can allow you to format & install OSX to the SSD.  If everything works with the USB adapter, then you know you need to replace the Hard Drive Cable. 

 

You can check the health of the original Hard Drive by checking its SMART Attributes.  If the RAW value column of the following attributes "Reallocated Sectors", "Reallocated Events", "Current Pending Sectors" and "Uncorrectable Errors" are non-zero, then the drive is failing.   If the "Value", "Current", or "Worst" column for the "Load Cycle Count" attribute is "001", then the drive may be failing or is at least on borrowed time.  To check these SMART Attributes, you will need access to a regular Windows PC where you can use a program such as GSmartControl.  You can also check it on your MBPro if you are able to create a bootable USB Knoppix Linux drive which includes GSmartControl (Start menu --> System Tools).

Kilobyte Kid

Re: Internal SSD MX500 on macbook pro mid 2012: File system formatter failed


Try reseating the Hard Drive Cable on the Logic Board.

Try an SMC Reset & a PRAM reset.

Thank you very much for your precise reply.

I tried all that above and it still does not work

 


Can you Erase it by selecting MBR & FAT32 instead of the normal Apple options?

Yes I can do that. But I asume I cannot install MAc OS with this disk format. What should I do next?
I tried to restore a TimeCapsule backup version of my OS with the FAT format and while restoring, the following error occured: "An error orrured while erasing your restore destination disk. Restart your computer, and then try restoring again". After restarting it, the apple logo appears and  login window appear but the user is something like "Need to be updated" without icon. I cannot enter a correct password. If I try to reintall a new version of the OS, they ask me to reformat my disk with the Apple format and it does not work if I try again.

Maybe try using your original install DVD or create a bootable USB  installer instead of using Recovery Mode which is booting into Internet Recovery Mode since you have no bootable OS on your system.  Maybe the Internet Recovery version of OSX being used has a bug.

I don't have an install DVD

 

What version of OSX are you booting from?  You may not be aware of the different methods of booting into Internet Recovery Mode (seems they keep changing it without any notice).  I would suggest trying Shift+Cmd+Option+R to boot the oldest version of OSX it will allow, so you can try manually partitioning the SSD by selecting "Partition" and changing the drop down option to "1 partition" (not sure if this is still available in OSX 10.12 or not).   If you still have your original install DVD, then try using it to partition/erase the SSD.  The newer versions of Disk Utility have been stripped down and may be causing a problem.

My version of Disk utility allows to manually partition and I already tried to do.
I don't know what version of OSX I am booting from. I think I did not erach that stage because I did not manage to format my SSD properly.

 

You can also try writing zeroes to the beginning of the drive by launching the Terminal (may be on the Tools or Utilities menu).  You need to identify the identifier associated with the SSD.  You may be able to do so using Apple System Profiler or Disk Utility (select Info), or you can use the following command from the Terminal (you may need to scroll back/up to find it):

I don't have any access to the terminal from Disk Utility. However, there is an option "free space" in the format menu. I tried that and tried to repartioning the disk again in Apple format. Still the same error.

 

Crucial sells a USB to SATA Adapter.

Using an USB adapter/dock/enclosure is the easiest way to determine what is going on with your laptop.  With it you can try booting your original hard drive and maybe even recover your data if necessary.  Plus it can allow you to format & install OSX to the SSD.  If everything works with the USB adapter, then you know you need to replace the Hard Drive Cable. 

OK, so I ordered that USB to SATA Adapter. If my SSD is alright, could you give me the name of a compatible cable for both my "Crucial MX500 500GB SATA 2.5" 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal SSD" and my "MacBook Pro 13" Mid 2012" please?

Thank you very much,
Lionel

 

 

JEDEC Jedi

Re: Internal SSD MX500 on macbook pro mid 2012: File system formatter failed

I had you format the drive in an MBR FAT format so that we could simplify the process and try avoiding the use of Core Storage to see if the process would complete.  Apple has been removing functionality from each version of the Disk Utility GUI and sometimes this can cause problems.  Sometimes using a completely different disk format can get Disk Utility to properly & fully create an Apple partition which is why I suggested erasing the beginning of the drive.  You should only install OSX to a drive partitioned as GPT (or GUID)  with HFS+ or APFS which is required for proper booting & firmware updates.  

 

I'm assuming your system is booting into Internet Recovery Mode since you do not have a bootable drive connected and are not using an installer.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.   In Recovery Mode, there is a small list of utilities on the main screen along with an option to (re-)install OSX.  If you go to the Tools/Utilities menu, there should be an option for the Terminal app (you must close Disk Utility).   You can click on the Apple menu and select "About this Mac" or launch the Apple System Profiler to see what version of OSX you are using.

 

The Apple part number for the new style Hard Drive Cable is 923-00975.  This site specializes in Apple products and would likely be as safe a source as any.  iFixIt is generally safe.  This site has some information about the cable and suggests using electrical tape to help protect the new cable.  I have no experience with this site, but applying electrical tape on the case beneath the cable cannot hurt.  As mentioned on the last site, finding a new style cable even with these sources may not be guaranteed.  The part number written on the official replacement cables I had were "821-00698-A".

Kilobyte Kid

Re: Internal SSD MX500 on macbook pro mid 2012: File system formatter failed


I'm assuming your system is booting into Internet Recovery Mode since you do not have a bootable drive connected and are not using an installer.  Please correct me if I'm wrong. 


You're right.

 


 In Recovery Mode, there is a small list of utilities on the main screen along with an option to (re-)install OSX.  If you go to the Tools/Utilities menu, there should be an option for the Terminal app (you must close Disk Utility).

Yes, I found it. I managed to write zero on the hard drive, but I still got the same error when I tried to format it again, whatever way I started, by erasing or by partitioning.

 


 You can click on the Apple menu and select "About this Mac" or launch the Apple System Profiler to see what version of OSX you are using.

On the Apple menu, there are only the following: StartupDisk, Restart, Shutdown.
On the installOSX menu, I can get the version of this application: 1.3.46.

 


The Apple part number for the new style Hard Drive Cable is 923-00975.  This site specializes in Apple products and would likely be as safe a source as any.  iFixIt is generally safe.  This site has some information about the cable and suggests using electrical tape to help protect the new cable.  I have no experience with this site, but applying electrical tape on the case beneath the cable cannot hurt.  As mentioned on the last site, finding a new style cable even with these sources may not be guaranteed.  The part number written on the official replacement cables I had were "821-00698-A".


ONce I receive the SATA-to-USB cable, I will test the SSD and if it is ok, I will order the hard drive cable and prevent a third (!!!!) cable replacement by putting the electrical tape as adviced in this nice website.

Thank you very much,
Lionel

 

Crucial Employee

Re: Internal SSD MX500 on macbook pro mid 2012: File system formatter failed

@dhinaghena if you buy a new cable make sure to buy it from either iFixit.com or MacSales.com  .  Don't opt for less expensive cables on Amazon or eBay, they're often second hand on those sites, MacSales and iFixit are reputable sellers of new Mac replacement parts.





Crucial_Benny, Micron CPG Support, US


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Kilobyte Kid

Re: Internal SSD MX500 on macbook pro mid 2012: File system formatter failed

Hi,

I bought the SATA-to-USB cable to test the SSD externally and the SSD is fine. Then I bought a new Hard drive cable to plug the SSD internally and now everything is fine.

I bought the hard drive cable from Ifixit Europe and they sent me a cable with the part number 821-1480-A (the deficient cable was 821-00698-A, changed 1.5 years ago by Apple store). According to the website that sent to me in this thread (https://beetstech.com/blog/prevent-a1278-mid-2012-hard-drive-cable-failure), the part number 821-1480-A is not a good one as now they have thicker ones which are supposed to be more resistant. Then Ifixit (Europe) is  maybe not the best place to buy such a cable?
I apply a strip of tape to the top and bottom of the wide segment of the hard drive flex cable, as suggested in that website. We will see how long time it lasts....

Thanks for your help!