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Can't format external HDD, windows reports errors


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#1 somenoob

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 02:15 AM

Was trying to format and partition my external hard drive. format worked and partition seemed to work (was using partition magic) but when it restarted my computer to finish it gave me an error. I tried chkdsk /r on both drives, C:/ took forever but finished but E:/ (ext HDD) reported that it had encountered unresolvable errors. Is there some way to repair these errors? I'm running a surface scan of the drive now but looking for maybe a low-level repair utility or something.
Any help appreciated!

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#2 Platypus

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:50 AM

Please give us some more detail about the drive and exactly what you did.

For example you mention format before partitioning, did you reformat the drive, then make some change to the partitions?

What did you change and how was the drive previously set up - things like how many partitions, what file system (FAT32, NTFS...)?

What brand and connection is the external unit/drive? If we know the brand of hard drive, we can direct you to the appropriate manufacturer's diagnostic utilities.

If a drive is having problems, it can be worthwhile if you have the technical capability to try removing the drive from the external enclosure and connecting it directly into a computer via IDE or SATA port as appropriate. This removes the enclosure and interface (USB, Firewire...) as a factor in the equation. If the drive still shows unresolvable errors, then it can be safely understood to have suffered an unrecoverable failure.

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#3 somenoob

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 05:01 PM

OK. The drive is a Seagate Freeagent Go 120GB. it connects via 2 USB cables.
Yes I formatted it first and then attempted to create the partitions.
The drive was NTFS and I tried to set it up the same way. It originally had 1 partition, I was trying to make two more.
Ive already got the Seagate tools and they can't find anything wrong, yet windows and 3rd party scanners found problems.
I could try that. Could the enclosure cause problems with the drive itself?
Well it still works, I copied all my music back to it when I gave up on it for the day. Just it will not format correctly and will not partition.

#4 Platypus

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 07:31 PM

The desired partitions should be established before formatting the drive(s). Using utilities like Partition Magic to alter partitions later does entail a little extra risk, and there can be problems if you use an older version which may not correctly handle things like larger drive sizes.

To convert to more than one partition, you would need to first shrink the existing partition to a smaller size, then create a new partition or partitions in the unallocated space that would become available.

Overall, since you reformatted the original partition anyway, a simpler way would be to go to Disk Management in Windows, delete the existing partition, create however many smaller partitions you wish and format them. If you want any of them to be FAT32 for legacy compatibility, Windows will not allow larger than 32GB size to be created.

If the diagnostic finds no fault with the drive, then the problem is probably just a glitch with the file system. Re-partitioning will most likely allow it to be formatted up correctly.

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