MediaKit reports not enough space on device for requested operation

MediaKit reports not enough space on device for requested operation

Priyank Sharma Tech 267 Comments

I recently got hold of a Toshiba Canvio 3TB external hard disk drive and was trying to format it using Disk Utility. To my surprise, I encountered a rather weird error that mentioned MediaKit not having enough space to perform the operation. The exact error message being,

MediaKit reports not enough space on device for requested operation.

Though it initially felt like my brand new HDD was a waste now, the solve was not really rocket-science – rather pretty straightforward. So before I tell you how to fix this, let’s first try to understand what the error really meant?

What’s the cause?

This type of error is generally caused when your EFI partition is below 200 MB. Mac requires an EFI partition of at least 200 MB to perform any Disk Utility function on an HDD. If your drive came factory formatted in NTFS, chances are your EFI partition would be lesser as Windows can work with a minimum of 100 MB.

What is EFI partition you ask? Well, the EFI system partition (ESP) is a small partition formatted with FAT32, usually 100 MB, which stores the EFI boot loaders for the installed system and applications used by the firmware at startup.

So how to fix this?

Before we begin,

Warning
Please note that all data on the HDD will be lost. I do not take any responsibility whatsoever in the unlikely event that your HDD gets bricked. By following these instructions, you agree to take full responsibility for the consequences.

Alright, now let’s fire up Terminal to get the name of the HDD you are trying to fix. Type the command below to list down all drives. Look for the label “external, physical” and note its Identifier. In my case it’s disk2. Could be different for you.

diskutil list
MediaKit reports not enough space on device for requested operation

Now let’s force unmount the disk (and all volumes on it) by typing in,

diskutil unmountDisk force disk2

And then write zeros to the boot sector by typing in,

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/disk2 bs=1024 count=1024

You will be asked to enter your administrator password. Go ahead and do it. Note that entering a password in Terminal will cause your cursor not to move. Your input will be accepted anyway.

MediaKit reports not enough space on device for requested operation

Finally, let’s go ahead and partition it. Again, in my case it’s disk2. Could be different for you. Type in,

diskutil partitionDisk disk2 GPT JHFS+ "Canvio" 0g

Where Canvio is what you want to name your HDD. This will also format your drive and make it ready for use.

MediaKit reports not enough space on device for requested operation

That’s it, you are done! Do share your feedback/experience in the comment section below.

Note
If for some reason, you are asked to enter your password again when performing basic functions on the HDD (like creating folders), unmount and then mount the disk again. That should resolve any issues.

About the Author

Priyank Sharma

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Trancer by passion. Designer by profession.

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Comments 267

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      1. This worked perfectly. Thanks for this! I’d like to point out that I had an issue trying to decide if the last bit was Og or 0g (a zero on my MacBook Pro looks differently. So I didn’t type a zero the 1st time and had to do it again to make sure that wasn’t the error I was making)

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  1. You made my day. Don’t know how many people used your manual and are not able to say thanks. Thank you very much for your time and effort and sharing your knowledge with us 🙂

    Thumbs up – greets from Austria!

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  2. You are AMAZING! I’m travelling and spent $200 on a HD that was beginning to feel useless. Hurrah! I can backup all my photos now thank you! <3

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  3. Thank you so much, Priyank! Your clear and concise directions were so very easy to follow, and it worked for my 8TB Seagate. I was fearing I got a bad drive. Thanks to you, I don’t have to return a perfectly fine drive! I appreciate you writing this up for people who need help!!

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  4. You totally saved me! Thank you for setting it all out so clearly – was so easy to follow! You are a legend and a life saver! 🙂

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  5. I am always a little nervous about following online instructions for something like this, but it worked perfectly and simply for two different external HDs that I needed to use. Thank you so much! I haven’t found any other instructions as simple and effective as these and I would have been in a real bind without this.

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  6. OMG!!! I’ve been prowling around the internet trying to fix my screw up and BAM!!! It was as easy as you outlined!! You’re a lifesaver!!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you 🙂

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  7. This was great thank you, I had tried another thread similar that did not work. Thank you so much, saved me from have to call WD.

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  8. Priyank,

    THANK YOU!!!

    The instructions for reformatting that came with my new WD HDDs were totally frustrating and ultimately useless–leading me to all sorts of error messages. This took me a different, much simpler, route.

    Great explanation, and it was helpful to have screenshots to ensure I was doing the right thing. 🙂

    Thanks, again!

    Amy

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  9. Thank you so much Priyank! Your explanation and step-by-step guide with pictures worked perfectly! Saved so much time by following your advice. Thanks again!

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  10. Hi Priyank,
    This is great. I just bought a WD Elements 2 TB to be used for backups of my Mac. The instructions told me to format the disk using Mac OS Extended (journaled). When I tried it, I got the same error as you did. I googled it and initially did not find a solution. Went back to the shop, got some rude treatment and basically was told I was an idiot and that it all would work if I did it properly. So in the end I went home, got of course the same error message and did some more googling. I found your solution and it works perfectly. So thanks a million.
    Kees

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  11. Excellent article, easy to follow. Solved the problem for me.

    Only note is that you might mention how entering the password in Terminal works; I had a brief panic when it was rejected, twice. (I guess I was mis-typing, but tough to tell with the cursor not moving.) Still, an invaluable aid.

    Thank you very much.

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  12. Priyank, you are fantastic. Has been driving me crazy and you helped me first time. Thank you very much.

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  13. Not all heroes wear capes.

    Priyank….you’re my hero.

    This worked on my fresh-out-of-the-box WD SSD My Passport 512GB with my 2016 MacBook (High Sierra 10.13.1 Beta (17B25c)), FYI.

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  14. I would not have been able to back up my Mac without your instructions. Thank you so much for this and for making your instructions clear and easy to follow, much appreciated!

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  15. Thanks Priyank, I just purchased a 3TD external drive that failed on everything I did in Disk Utility. I watched YouTube videos and read multiple forms with no help.
    Then I found your article and “BINGO” my brand new drive now works.
    You’re a saviour!

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  16. This 100% worked. Never touched terminal in my life before, but this is an easy and quick solution. Thanks!

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  17. You are my hero! I had tried everything I could think of to fix my drive after stupidly letting my Nvidia Shield format it. I honestly thought it was ruined until by sheer fluke I found this page and thought I may as well give it one last shot. Thank you ever so much!

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  18. Hi Priyank,
    Thank you so much for this. It really works.
    However, I had run into some issues (due to my stupidity), wondering if u can see the email I had sent to you.

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  19. Like everybody above says – you’re a lifesaver! Brand new external drive completely useless, total Disk Utility failure — but these simple steps fixed it instantly! Thank you so much!!!

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  20. Hi Priyank, thanks for the info. Just one clarification: what password am I supposed to use? Is there a way to recover it? Thanks

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  21. Bought a WD 2TB Elements and couldn’t format it with my mac (ver 10.13) but you guide helps me with that. I wish i could give you a hug! / Alex Sweden

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  22. Thank You Very Much. The entire web couldn’t help me with this but you did, so frustrating even though i just got the HardDrive to spend 2 hours trying to format it because Apple is useless. Thanks again!

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  23. I was converting a brand new Western Digital Elements 4TB from ExtFAT to HFS+ using macOS 10.13’s Disk Utility. It failed mid-process (I don’t recall the error) and bricked the device.

    This really saved me. Thanks for the helpful article!

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  24. I bought a Samsung SSD 850 Evo from best buy because of the excellent reviews I read. Before buying it I watch videos on you tube and ask Samsung support questions and just to make the story short nothing work as I was expecting. Samsung support was useless and best buy at least they try to help with no luck. I was about to return the unit for a second time and for good and try a different brand, until and finally came up with your solution and it Worked Like a Charm!! I am an IT person but this was time consuming and very frustrating.
    Thanks a lot Priyank you’re the man!!!

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  25. As one if the other comments stated… You are a legend, after many trail and errors and following a few guides this one was by far tje clearest a’d most efficient. Thanks!

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  26. Hi Priyank,

    I purchased 500GB SSD and i been looking to format it and got the error ! Your post helped me a lot and saved me a lot time… Thank you so much really

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  27. Dear Priyank, I have a macbook pro with 3 partitions. I clean installed Sierra on partitions 1 replacing El Capitan. Then some of my apps didn’t work on Sierra and I decided to restore El Capitan from a Timemachine external backup. But I got exactly the same “MediaKit reports not enough space on device for requested operation” message and I can’t erase my partition 1. I have tried several terminal instructions as well as partially yours, but with no success at all. I temporarily have installed Sierra on partition 2 to have access to all my data on partition 3 and find a solution for how to erase and reformat my partition 1. I do have access to this partition, but just can’t erase and reformat it.
    Do you have any solutions on internal partition disks with MediaKit message? I sincerely appreciate your reply in advance.

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      Hi Axll, I’m afraid but this article deals only with external HDDs. I’ve personally never tried this method on an internal drive. Let us all know, if it works for you.

      1. Priyank, I’ve not come up with a solution yet. It’s supposed to be done thru Windows and bootcamp which I don’t have it on my system. As soon as I could create EFI boot partition on my internal Mac HDD, I will let you know the procedure.
        BTW, do NOT delete the EFI boot partition (209 MB) on your internal partitions ever. Because you will not be able to erase and reformat them again, if ever needed.

      2. Hi Priyank, it took me a couple of days searching online and doing a lot of trial and errors to get the 209MB EFI partition back to my internal 500Gb ssd. I tried as many terminal commands as possible with and without bootable USB thumb, but had no success. Anyways, this is my final narrow down solutions of this experiment:
        There are 2 easy alternatives for this issue. The first solution deals with using of the Boot Camp (find this on utube). But since I don’t need the Boot Camp, I didn’t even try this.

        My final solution takes a few hours and is very straightforward:

        1. I backed up all the data on my internal drives to an external hard drive. I also made an up to date Time Machine backup of my primary OS X partition to restore it later on; so I didn’t have to install the applications all over again.
        2. I had a bootable USB thumb (an EL Capitan or Sierra installation USB will do the job). You need this because we are going to erase the whole internal disk in the next step.
        3. Boot with USB thumb. Open the Disk utility and select the “main” internal disk. Then choose “Erase” from the top options. On the pop up window, give a name to your disk, choose OS X Extended (Journaled) and Guild partition map. Finally click the “Erase” button and voila. The disk is formatted having the 209MB EFI partition back. If you choose any partitions of the internal disk here, you can’t erase it and you will get the famous Mediakit error due to the lack of EFI partition.

        You can partition the internal disk right here with Disk Utility due to your needs.
        I suggest to make at least 2 partitions: a small 60 to 70 GB dedicated exclusively to OS X (if you are a gaming fan, make it larger). This makes the Time Machine backup of the partition quite fast. The rest goes to personal data and archive that I make a backup of them separately on external drive.

  28. As a Windows and Linux user, I am often perplexed on how difficult it can be to get something to work on OS X , like formatting a thumb drive. Thanks for your tip since it allowed me to build a High Sierra boot drive for upgrading my son’s Mac-Mini to an SSD.

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  29. phantastic – clear, brief, solution oriented

    maybe worth to mention in the explanation (just to edit for idiots like me) to pay attention to disk numbers. you disk in question was 2, others might be 1 or whatever. like the comment to change the disk name.

    many many thanks!

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  30. Ha! You saved me so much time and aggravation — thanks!!! BTW I followed these instructions on a new external Seagate 5TB on a MacBook Pro running High Sierra. Should these instructions be any different on High Sierra? I recall that High Sierra has a new file system format but I don’t know whether that is just for the internal SSD. Thanks!!!

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      Great question, Art. I haven’t exactly tried this method on High Sierra. However, I don’t see a reason why it should not work. I guess someone has reported it working on High Sierra as well. Read through the comments.

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  31. Priyank, I’m piling onto all the thank-yous with everyone else: THANK YOU! Your instructions are clear, you clarify and detail what’s happening. Strangely, if drive makers just partition their drives with the extra 100MB of boot space, we wouldn’t every-single-one-of-us need to go through this hassle (needless to say all those people who called in to their customer service reps as well)!

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  32. Thank you sir,
    I have been browsing the internet for 3dAys now with no luck.

    I bought a Samsung SSD 850 Evo from best buy because of the excellent reviews I read. Even my wife’s PC would not manage to format properly.

    Thank you thank you

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  33. Superstar – this worked for me – saved me going and replacing what appeared to be a bricked disk – thank you!

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  34. Well done! Just had to do this for my new WD Passport 2TB – couldn’t get Drive Utility to work with it until you helped out here!

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  35. I thought my drive was toast! Mr. Sharma, you have made me a very happy person. You’re the best!!!

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  36. Right now I am pretty unhappy at WD for giving me a Windows formatted drive without any instructions or assistance for reformatting as a Mac drive. But I am VERY THANKFUL for you and your generosity and knowledge that you share with us. Solved a big problem for me.

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  37. Sorry, this didn’t help me Priyank. I’ve bought a new 2TB HDD, which has thrown “Mediakit reports not enough space on device for requested operation” while I try to erase. I’ve faced similar issue with a couple of pen drives in the past, being a rookie on Mac, I’ve tried erasing into other formats(like Mac Journaled, etc.) and finally to ExFAT. They worked. Similarly, I formatted my 2TB HDD to Mac Journaled as the first step of mine, and then I followed ‘what has been mentioned in this article’ as the second step, my OS(High Sierra) doesn’t even read the 2TB HDD now. Apart from internal SSD of Mac, it show two partitions now : a) disk3s1 of 32Kb and a b) disk3s2(Flash player) of 19.9Mb; both of type ‘Not mounted’. It’d be really great if you can take it personal, and help me with this? Many Thanks in advance, mate.

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      Hi Prasad, few questions.
      1. You mentioned that you formatted the HDD to Mac Journaled. Did it complete?
      2. When you view the HDD using Disk Utility, does it give you the “Mount” option upon drive selection?
      3. Can you try redoing the entire process again, ensuring you enter the correct disk name?

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  38. You full-on saved the day! Thank you, Pryiank. I’m not sure why this isn’t part of Disk Utility’s erase process, but I’m so thankful you’re picking up the slack with this one!

    One item of note – after the process finished (at least on macOS 10.13.1), macOS recognized the disk, however I noticed I could not create a folder without needing to re-enter my password. This is, I’m assuming, because the process that originally mounted it was not technically “me” (being it was the “super user” through terminal). I unmounted the disk, removed and re-plugged in to the USB port, and then macOS allowed me to create a folder as “me” without asking for a password. Not sure if this is helpful to mention, but wanted to just in case!

    Again, THANK YOU!!

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  39. I have a similar suggestion as did charles. I know you mentioned it in the article, but remember that people without Terminal experience may robotically copy and paste your commands. I did change the disk number for the initial commands (as you did suggest), but forgot to do so on the last command and ended up reformatting the wrong drive! At least I had it backed up and only lost some time.

    So to make it closer to idiot-proof, maybe just add a comment to double-check the disk number, especially for that final command!

    Thanks so much for your great help with this. I too thought my WD 2TB Elements drive would need to be returned to Amazon, but your article saved me a great deal of trouble.

    Now if only I could keep myself from making more trouble!

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  40. After OS High Sierra upgrade, my USB drivers were not writeable any more because of NTFS format. Using your way of format disk were very straight forward. Thank you so much.

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  41. Legend!! Worked for me.
    Initially I had a command not found error. However, I was booted from a USB install disk so didnt need the Sudo command at the beginning.
    Worked perfectly after that!

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  42. Hi Priyank,

    Thanks for this article, I’m hoping I can use it to solve a problem with an external drive my MBP (high sierra) no longer mounts properly.

    One question – I’m sorry if this has been asked already but you have a lot of comments and didn’t address this topic in your article:

    Q: At the partition step:
    $ diskutil partitionDisk disk2 GPT JHFS+ “Canvio” 0g

    Will this wipe (erase contents) of the said external drive? That is not an option for me…

    Thanks!

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  43. Hello.
    I tried this and it worked but it formatted my external HD MAC OS EXTENDED JOURNAL and I need it to be EXFAT.
    Any input on that?
    Thank you.

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  44. What a nice job, THANK YOU SO MUCH, you just saved my life I was taking forever to fix that because I was taking mad long in a wrong way, appreciate that!!!

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  45. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!! Read/watched about a million things and tried most of them…nothing worked but THIS worked first try! Thanks so so much!!

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  46. Just wanted to add my thanks to all the others. I thought this was a drive problem, so I returned it and bought another one!

    Why are Western Digital and Seagate not giving your solution via their support sites? It mystifies me that they simply say ‘erase the disk and reformat using Disk Utility’.

    Anyway, thank you – I am very grateful

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  47. Very helpful indeed.

    Thanks to your post I was able to remotely help a non-computer-savy relative who had this problem with a 1TB Western Digital drive by walking him through this and texting each line to type to let him use the new drive.

    Thanks for the very easy to follow steps, they work, and they are appreciated.

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  48. Thanks for the excellent solution provided. I had wasted 2 days trying to solve this issue. It hardly took 5 minutes to solve by following your suggested commands.

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  49. Thank you for this! Easily fixed all my problems in 2 minutes. Searched sooo much for a solution! Thank you thank you thank you!! 🙂

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  50. Saved my life tonight! I was so worried my purchase had been a waste, but then I came upon your instructions, which were much easier to understand than others online. Thank you so much!

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