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When you plug the drive, once mounted on the mac, go to applications>utilities>disk utilities then select the drive and choose partition. If you want the drive to be bootable you should then choose Mac OS Extended (journaled).
delete the entire partition and do a quick format.... then do partition according to your requirement and try formatting... if it still says error, then use any disk formatting utility like partition magic and try one more time.... still problem then you should take it back for replacement if it comes under warranty period....
Is this a new Maxtor external drive? It came with a CD. Run the utility.
If there is no data on it that you want to save, you can also blow away the partition and format it:
Right-click [My Computer]
Find your external Maxtor Disk inthe list and / or graph
Right-click on the disk and select either "Format" or "Delete Partition"
(try format first) Use "NTFS quick format"
If you delete the partition, then "Create Partition" and then format.
You can assign a drive letter or accept whatever it assignes (probably Drive D)
Since you want to format it, let's blow away the partition:
1. Right-click [My Computer]
3. Disk Management]
4. Find your Maxtor in the list or graph.
5. Once you are certain, then right-click the Maxtor entry (or graph) and select "Delete Partition"
6. Answer [Yes] to the next scary question.
7. If it has other partitions, you may want to examine them and delete them later.
8. You can now "New Partition" (right-click)
9. The create a "Primary" drive and format it.
It is definitely possible you accidentally deleted the partition. If you already know how to open the drives properties sheet, do so, then click on the volumes tab and click the populate button. This will solve a few minor setup issues. If this doesn't work then it is likely that either the partition is gone/damaged. Try using disk management to look at the drive. If the partition shows up you may simply need to assign a drive letter. If it doesn't then chances are the partition is gone and will require assistance to recover.
Try these and let me know how you make out. If you have found that the partition is gone and need a pro comment back with your country/state/city and I will recommend one for you.
You can try:
1. Open your "My Computer" and determine which of your HDs is the Maxtor III, say "E" or "F";
2. Right click on the Maxtor III;
3. Click on "Format";
4. On the File System, select FAT 32;
5. Click on "Start"
Of course formatting your HD will delete its content.
Alternately, you can:
a. Open a command prompt window (type "cmd" in "Run";
b. type "format E: /fs:FAT32" assuming your PC assigned the drive letter "E" to the Maxtor III;
c. hit "Enter"
If for some reason this will not work, you may have to likewise delete the partition first. A handy 3rd party utility for the partition/format of a hard disk is Partition Magic.
Hope this be of some help/idea. Post back how things turns out or should you need further information.
Good luck and kind regards.