Partition USB disk with FAT16 on Mac OS X

A previous article explained how to upgrade the BIOS on an Eee Box by using a USB memory formatted with FAT16.

As far as I have found, formatting with FAT16 can not be done through the GUI on Mac OS X. Instead one has to use the terminal.

First type “diskutil list” to see the devices on your system, making very sure that the following command is applied to the USB flash drive and not to a drive with important data. You have been warned!


diskutil partitiondisk /dev/disk1 1 MBRFormat "MS-DOS FAT16" "Data" 512M

The arguments have the following meanings:

  • /dev/disk1: The disk device to be partitioned and formatted
  • 1: The number of partitions
  • MBRFormat: The partition format
  • MS-DOS FAT16: The partition type
  • Data: The partition name
  • 512M: The size of the partition

3 thoughts on “Partition USB disk with FAT16 on Mac OS X”

  1. “/volumes/DAVE does not appear to be a whole disk”
    I have tried a million ways and the closest I get to success is this message. I can’t find another mount point or node for my USB what am I missing?

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