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Unable To Format External Hard Drive


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#1 khun barry

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 12:49 AM

I did a search on this problem in all forums and there is a lot of advice about it, but I still can't fix the problem.

This external hard drive is 37GB and I'm using it as storage for Backup from my laptop. It worked ok for several years until I decided to format it to remove all the data so I could use all the space on it for storage.

The data seems to be all gone after Windows went through the format process, but an error message popped up at the end of the process to say Windows couldn't complete the process.

My Computer recognises the external drive is still there but gives no other details about that drive.

I rebooted in Safe Mode and Computer Management showed the external drive as partitioned and working normally, but the format info for that drive was blank.

Am I missing something? I have connected the external drive to a different laptop also with Windows XP, but the same error message occurrs after Windows goes through the format process.

Any assistance would be most welcome. Thank you.

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#2 JeremyTM

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 01:34 PM

Is there a little plastic jumper on the hard drive? Id so, try taking that off and trying to access the drive.

#3 hamluis

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 02:48 PM

Hmm...you say that you were unable to format...then you say that you formatted.

Formatting is only part of the process...did you create a new partition?

Best thing to have done: Delete all existing partitions...format/create the new partition, using the XP CD.

It's not too late to do that.

And...you say that it's an external drive. Depending on the enclosure, some of those must be formatted as FAT32 (not NTFS) in order to work properly...and some jumper settings must reflect Master or Slave, as the manufacturer decided.

Louis

#4 garmanma

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 03:10 PM

You mentioned you have used it for several years. Can you hear or maybe feel it spinning? They don't last forever
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#5 khun barry

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 03:47 AM

Thank you all for your assistance.

The hard drive that I tried to format came from my previous Toshiba laptop. I had it taken out of that laptop and encased into an Oker 2.0 USB casing, then used it to backup data on my new Toshiba laptop.

I can't see a little plastic jumper on the hard drive, as JeremyTM asks. I took off the Oker casing to have a look.

In answer to Hamluis, I didn't partition the drive before formatting. I didn't realise that I needed to do that and unfortunately I don't have the original XP CD. Both laptops were supplied with XP Windows installed and no CD was provided.

Hamluis suggests "Delete all existing partitions...format/create the new partition" Is it possible to do this without the original CD?

Yes, I have heard and felt it spinning on previous occasions as described by garmanma. It didn't do that this time though.

Is it worthwhile trying to repair this one? Maybe I need to get a new one?

#6 JeremyTM

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 07:32 AM

Let us know the outcome. I am curious as to what or if you had a resolution on this case. :D

#7 dc3

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 12:40 PM

If it isn't spinning up, then it may be toast. Recheck your connections to make sure that this isn't a problem.

If you open the case and find out who the manufacturer of the hdd is you can go to their web site and download their diagnostic tool. You will need to burn this to a CD that you can boot from. This will also mean that you will have to make your CD-ROM the first device in the boot order. If you disable the primary hdd in the BIOS the second one will be the only one that will be seen, this will ensure that you are looking at the proper hdd when you run the diagnostic. The web site should have instructions for making the bootable disc as well as how to run the program.

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#8 khun barry

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:33 PM

Thank you dc3 for your reply.

The hard drive is a Toshiba MK4019GAX. I have searched the Toshiba website but cannot locate a diagnostic tool. I did find a Toshiba SDD Technical Support page and I have sent them a query about my problem.

I've checked the connections between my laptop and the external hard drive and they seem to be working ok.

The external hard drive shows up as Local Disk (E:) on the My Computer page and the Properties of this Disk are shown as "File System: RAW" with "Used Space" AND "Free Space" AND "Capacity" all showing 0 bytes.

One other thing. In a previous post on this subject, it was indicated that Windows may not be able to format hard drives larger than 32GB. My errant hard drive is a 40GB drive although it used to show up as 37GB on the My Computer page when it was working ok.

#9 dc3

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:58 PM

I think what you are referring to is the FAT-32 file system that was mentioned as being the industry norm for external hdd enclosure file systems. There are two different types of file systems that are still used, the older is the FAT-32, and the new one which XP is installed on is NTFS.

It seems that Toshiba is one of the few manufacturers that don't have a diagnostic tool for their hard drives. There is a free trial download of HD Tune which should provide you with information on the drive.

Edited by dc3, 25 June 2008 - 12:00 AM.

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#10 khun barry

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 03:46 AM

I have run the diagnostic tool as advised by dc3 and the results are as follows:

HD Tune: TOSHIBA MK4019GAX Benchmark

Transfer Rate Minimum : 2.8 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 20.4 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 11.7 MB/sec
Access Time : 24.9 ms
Burst Rate : 19.4 MB/sec
CPU Usage : 8.1%
---------------------------------------------
HD Tune: TOSHIBA MK4019GAX Information

Firmware version : FA00
Serial number :
Capacity : 37.3 GB (~40.0 GB)
Buffer size : n/a
Standard :
Supported mode :
Current mode :

S.M.A.R.T : no
48-bit Address : no
Read Look-Ahead : no
Write Cache : no
Host Protected Area : no
Device Configuration Overlay : no
Automatic Acoustic Management: no
Power Management : no
Advanced Power Management : no
Power-up in Standby : no
Security Mode : no
Firmware Upgradable : no

Partition : 1
Drive letter : E:\
Label :
Capacity : 38154 MB
Usage : 0.00%
Type : NTFS
Bootable : Yes
-----------------------------------------------------------

HD Tune: TOSHIBA MK4019GAX Health

ID Current Worst ThresholdData Status

Power On Time : n/a
Health Status : n/a
-----------------------------------------------------
HD Tune: TOSHIBA MK4019GAX Error Scan

Scanned data : 38139 MB
Damaged Blocks : 0.0 %
Elapsed Time : 62:51
------------------------------------------------------

Can you interpret these results for me? Is my external drive still able to be formatted?

Many thanks for your help.

#11 hamluis

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 12:31 PM

For comparative purposes, from my system:

Maxtor 2B020H1, 20GB

Min Transfer Rate: 23.6MB/sec
Max Transfer Rate: 37.4MB/sec

Access: 17.6milliseconds

Burst rate: 80.6MB/sec

CPU Usage: 2.6%

Louis




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