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HDD Format problem

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HDD Format problem

I was given an internal SATA 160GB HDD which had two partitions.
Decided to reformat under Windows which just showed the word 'Formatting' in Disc Management but nothing else seeming to happen. After cancelling the format the Drive was showing as unformatted. Then my PC failed to reboot with the drive installed so I took the drive out, rebooted and inserted it into a SATA cradle where it was recognised but as un-initialsed.
I then attempted to format using Paragon Hard Disc Manager 8.5 SE but that failed with a message informing me I had interrupted the format - which I never.
I tried to use the MBR recover option but now the drive is now seen by Windows and Hard Drive Manager shows it but I am unable to initialise, format or do anything else with it.
Does anyone have any advoce as to how I can get the drive formatted, please?
Cheers

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16 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: HDD Format problem

Go to the manufacturers website and download one of their drive utilities and see if that either shows a problem or can format / wipe the drive contents.
Do you have SMART enabled in the BIOS? If not, turn it on and see if it reports any smart failure for the drive, which can sometimes stop it from being formatted.
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Re: HDD Format problem

Did you remove the partitions before you formated? You should remove the partitions first and then try formating as you dont know what type of partitions they were. Do you have a SATA drive on your pc  as if its an old version of XP it may not see a sata drive if you only have ide installed
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Re: HDD Format problem

@ samuria
Nope, didn't remove the partition prior to attempting a reformat. Had never used partitions before. TBH I cannot see any good in using them.
I have one other SATA drive which is the Boot drive and am awaiting a replacement for a failed 300GB SATA for the other internal port.
@Peter
I have looked on Hitachi's website and it appears that their HDD tools will not work when an internal drive is used externally. And I don't want to move the drive back in the case (or, at least, connect it to the internal spare SATA port) as it then interfers with booting up for some reason.
It's not an urgent matter but I wanted to use this drive to make regular backups of the Boot drive just in case...

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community
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Re: HDD Format problem

http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,67181.0.html
Have  a look at the above thread which I originated a couple of weeks ago.
I now use this gadget for Formatting and backing up data from both of my PCs  using two old HDD's.
Eddie
The 'gadget' is featured on  http://www.gizoo.co.uk/Products/PCGaming/PCGadgets/IDESATADriver.htm
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Re: HDD Format problem

Thanks community for the info and links.
Interesting gadget. Unfortunately, having just spent lots on new drives plus 2 external boxes and a cradle I don't really want to purchase yet another item - no room left on my desk Wink
Thanks anyway.

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Re: HDD Format problem

Lost were we are up to with this. So can we using disk manager in windows see the drive.
Delete any partitions.
Then create a partition
and finally attempt a format
Does the bios see the drive correctly?
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Re: HDD Format problem

Sounds to me like the HDD isn't performing correctly and has a hardware fault. I had this a few weeks ago with some files which I simply couldn't wipe. Eventually the drive started misreporting all sorts of things so I binned it.
I have had partition and /mbr troubles in the past and have always got around them but sometimes they are so seriously messed up its impossible!
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Re: HDD Format problem

Quote from: samuria
Lost were we are up to with this. So can we using disk manager in windows see the drive.
Delete any partitions.
Then create a partition
and finally attempt a format
Does the bios see the drive correctly?

Sorry, I have been busy and not had time till reply to now.
Not sure if the BIOS would see an internal drive that is connected via a cradle but whenever I insert the disc now it is not recognised by th OS and I do not get any New Hardware message appearing.
I'm going to take the drive to my local friendly dealer to see if they can get some life back into it - I certainly can't Sad

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Re: HDD Format problem

Quote from: Mav
I'm going to take the drive to my local friendly dealer to see if they can get some life back into it - I certainly can't Sad

Typically if you've tried all the normal steps and it still isn't playing ball, the drive is useless.
No point flogging a dead horse.
Been there done that.. it just leads to hours of frustration for you only to eventually realise that the drive was useless anyway. HDDs usually show signs if they're going to have any reliability in the future or not. Sounds like yours is showings signs of unreliability. It isn't playing ball and as suggested above sounds like a hardware error. Thats a specialist job and is beyong your local dealers ability to fix.
I've had partition errors in the past. You can normally destroy the partitions (though this can prove tricky) and then recreate a partition. If your drive won't even allow this and is misreporting its condition to windows then there is something seriously wrong with the unit and personally I think you'd be better off getting another drive. I know its really frustrating...
I was given a few computers a few years back which were quite old. Lucky for me one of them had an 80GB HDD. Now being forever short on cash and having a maximum sized drive of 40GB (when my mates all have 200GB drives) I thought I'd seriously fallen on my feet with a whopping 80GB drive. Worked wonderfully for about a year and then I started to get serious performance errors with it. MP3s started to echo (now thats a weird experience) word would take 2 or 3 minutes to load and the OS would take 10 minutes sometimes to start. Despite all this, the HDD testing software reported the drive as being in perfect health. When I eventually tried another drive with another OS and also a linux live CD they both had trouble accessing the faulty unit. At that point I had to admit defeat and realised that indeed the drive was faulty (after days of refusing to beleive it). I pulled as many files off it as possible and had to downsize again to 40GB (which I'm still running on now  Embarrassed  Sad Until that point I had NEVER experienced a hard drive failure and thought that they were pretty much indestructible. I'd heard of it happening but for some reason didn't beleive it could happen to the average bod like me. Since then I've had 2 more pack up and give up the ghost which has left me very desperate for HDD storage space. In fact I'm running so short on space I don't even have backups of most stuff now except on a knackered laptop which has a knackered 100GB drive space and even that over heats and switches off when its used heavily so I can't rely on that either!
I'll wish you luck trying to get it working again but I've been there and done that with the 'given' drives. They don't last long and it does nothing but waste time hoping that they will miraculously come back to life.
Good luck, let us know what happens.
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Re: HDD Format problem

@okrzynska
Your story is similar to mine except the reson I don't want to give up on this drive is not one of space (I have almost 1.8TB spread over 8 drives) but rather I have had about 5 or 6 fail over the last 18 months, 2 of which failed within the first couple of months' usage. So this is now personal between me and the bl**dy drive Wink
The first two drives to fail dated back from 2002 so was to be expected but the rest...
One was my fault really because I added a third but never realised that there was not enough cooling with the case and everything got overheated - including me,.
Now I have 5 internal each with it's own fan and 3 external.
One thing I'd like an answer to, though; If a drive (say 300GB) is full to capacity with 1 or less % free is that liable to cause failure or just make access slower? I've often seen mentioned leaving 10% free minimum but over 8 drives that about 18GB untouched - seems rather a lot of waste.
I'm off out shortly and will report back tomorrow regarding the stubbon drive.

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VileReynard
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Re: HDD Format problem

What temperature are drives supposed to operate at?
I've just bought a cheapo NAS (card with a drive in a metal case) - this gets quite hot.
"quite hot" is relative - but this in a case with no forced air cooling.
Do SATA drives run hot?
I know that IDE run cold, SCSI usually get quite hot.

Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: HDD Format problem

drives need some space for defragmenting.  windows typically demands 15% or defrag can't function.  often the system writes temporary files while in use and with no free space, it can't write them and will return errors.
if you can get all your data off that drive, you could try a livecd to see if linux will read it.
another option is to backup to cd and dvd if you have a burner.
VileReynard
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Re: HDD Format problem

Actually, if you were to use Linux filesystems you could kiss goodbye to all that time consuming defragmenting  Kiss
I don't believe there is even any specific utility provided for defragmenting, simply because files get fragmented so very rarely.

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Re: HDD Format problem

Quote from: Mav
@okrzynska
Your story is similar to mine except the reson I don't want to give up on this drive is not one of space (I have almost 1.8TB spread over 8 drives) but rather I have had about 5 or 6 fail over the last 18 months, 2 of which failed within the first couple of months' usage. So this is now personal between me and the bl**dy drive Wink

I know the feeling. Thing is it gets to the point where you end up spending so much time on it that it almost becomes personally upsetting when you still can't get the bliter to work after your best efforts. Sometimes its easier to simply say bye bye to the unit and bin it. Must be said though you're very lucky to have 1.8TB - I can't even dream of anything like that lol.
Quote from: Mav
The first two drives to fail dated back from 2002 so was to be expected but the rest...

Hmm I suppose if you have a lot of stuff on the drives then they're going to be busier and probably fail quicker. Even so drives dating back to 2002 still aren't that old and I wouldn't expect them to fail that quickly. Having said that though as I said initially if you've got them crammed with data and are continually accessing it I suppose the drive will wear out quicker.
Quote from: Mav
One was my fault really because I added a third but never realised that there was not enough cooling with the case and everything got overheated - including me,.

Yes I had a similar experience. The drive I spoke of in my last reply which was affected by my GF's bro didn't stand the best of chances. Had it stacked in my tower and it was roasting when I pulled it out. Needless to say even after cooling down it wouldn't perform correctly so I took it to bits to show the GF what it looked like inside and binned the unit. Stupidly I didn't realise there are rare earth magnets inside which I should of ripped out first lol.
Quote from: Mav
Now I have 5 internal each with it's own fan and 3 external.

Yikes! 5? - You must have a big case lol. Mind you having said that I had one years ago with space for 8! It was a cheaply built case though. My current one has space for 6 I think but I could never even find a spare yet alone 5 lol. Not only that I don't have the cash for PCI expansion cards either Sad
Quote from: Mav
One thing I'd like an answer to, though; If a drive (say 300GB) is full to capacity with 1 or less % free is that liable to cause failure or just make access slower? I've often seen mentioned leaving 10% free minimum but over 8 drives that about 18GB untouched - seems rather a lot of waste.
I'm off out shortly and will report back tomorrow regarding the stubbon drive.

Not only is there the defrag issue to look at (windows needs space to temporarily store data as it rearranges it) but the bigger the drive the more you will store on it. The more you store on it the harder the drive has to work when you want to read/write to it from several different programs at the same time (EG windows media player, network servers, games etc etc). Each drive still has a maximum read/write speed and when it reaches that data IO operations are effectively queued and actioned continually. If the drive is in constant usage reading and writing and doesn't get rest time it will start to get dangerously close to over heating. Once it over heats damage occurs. Big drives are ok as long as you're not going to absolutely push it to the limit. It would be like your computer whe it starts up - but for far longer. The drive needs idle periods when it can allow heat to dissipate.
Best of luck with the other drive. I know its not easy to bin 160GB of storage space (heck I've still got my faulty 80GB drive here lol) but sometimes you just have to accept that you'll only be able to rescue data off it instead of using it for everyday use.
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