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Initlaize, Unable to Initialize Hard Drive


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#1 penguin000

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 10:48 AM

Mod Edit:  Split from http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/596389/unable-to-initialize-disk/page-2 - Hamluis.

 

I realized this is an older thread, but the problem initially described is exactly what I'm seeing now.

 

Background: I migrated my wife's Win 7 boot drive to a new computer. In this new computer I added a 2nd hard drive. I booted to Linux rescue disk, partitioned the 2nd hard drive with an extended partition and then a logical partition within. I then used the network to transfer the data from her old computer to the new logical partition on the 2nd hard drive. As part of her upgraded, I decided to upgrade the OS as well. So I upgraded to Win 8.1 and while testing it out, I wanted to change the drive letter of her old data partition on the boot drive to the newly created logical partition on the 2nd drive. I went in to "Device Management" and both drives were visible. I noticed the newly created partition had no drive letter. I selected and right clicked for the context menu and the only option that wasn't greyed out was "delete volume". After playing around I found that anything I tried to do to change the disk/partitions resulted in the "The system cannot find the file specified" error from the Virtual Disk Manager that was originally reported in the bug. I tried a number of things, but all produced the same error msg. I happen to have a multitude of drives available to me, so I tried another of the same type, this one not formatted. Device Mgr show the device, but as type "unknown" and popped up a window to initialized the disk. The window had MBR selected by default and when I pressed OK, it produced the same "The system cannot find the file specified" error. So its clearly not the drive, since a 2nd drive is also unchangeable, plus the 1st drive worked fine from within Linux. I also tried switching to GPT, however this resulted in the same error msg. I tried another type of drive that had 2 primary partitions on it. The drive was visible in Device Mgr, but neither partition had drive letters assigned. Attempts to set or change this drive produced the same error msg.

 

I've spent hours scouring the web to find an answer but so far I've not found anything that has worked for me. Since I planned to upgrade the system to Windows 10, I decided to do this hoping that this issue would magically disappear in the newer Windows version. Unfortunately I was disappointed to see the same thing.

 

I've read this thread and I'm wondering about the steps that allowed the disk to become usable in Windows. John you suggested using Partition Wizard. I've never used Partition Wizard, so I'm not familiar with it abilities and the choices it allows. I googled and found it. I suspect is very similar to the Linux rescue disk I've used. SinsterMatti said he used Partition Wizard to delete all partitions, format, and then GPT worked for him. I'm puzzled by the "delete all partitions and then format". Am I correct in assuming that what was meant was he deleted all his existing partitions, then created a single primary partition which was then formatted. As which point he when back to Windows and then Device Manager allowed him to initialized the disk as GPT? I want to understand all the steps required so I can get past this infuriating issue that many people have, but so few had documented if and how they actually fixed.

 

Thanks in advance for any insights you can provide.


Edited by hamluis, 01 November 2016 - 12:00 PM.


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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 11:30 AM

Partition Wizard is fairly easy to use. With the second drive attached delete all partiitons, initalize the disk as GPT, then create a primary partition formatted NTFS and give it a drive letter that is different than what you gave it originally. Don't use a logical partition unless you plan on adding more than 4 partitions on the hard drive. I am not sure why GPT worked for the original poster as the computer was not UEFI. 

 

All steps are virtual in Partition Wizard and will not complete until Apply is checked allowing you to back out of any steps.

 

How did you migrate the Windows 7 disk to a new computer? If the computer has different hardware then there would be driver issues unless you cloned the drive with software that allows you to migrate to different hardware or used sysprep which I have never used.

 

I am assuming you have UEFI 

 

A disk is required to be GPT in order boot from a UEFI computer. Open and command prompt and type

 

diskpart

list disk

 

You should see an asterisk under the GPT column for you boot disk.


Edited by JohnC_21, 01 November 2016 - 11:31 AM.


#3 penguin000

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 01:08 PM

I assume Partition Wizard used its own boot disk right? It doesn't run natively in Windows? If so, its very much like the Linux rescue disk I use. In fact, I may try the Linux rescue disk before downloading and create a boot disk for Partition Wizard.

 

Actually I cloned the old Win 7 boot disk to a new SSD for the new system. I expected some driver issues, but since I was planning to upgrade to Win 8 then to Win 10, I was hoping that those installs would detect and configure the hardware accordingly. I was surprised when I attempted to boot the cloned Win 7 install that it actually come up with the network and boot disk functional (didn't try the 2nd disk). Thus far, with the exception of the 2nd hard disk issue, everything else seems to be working well.

 

The new system is a Lenovo ThinkServer. I don't recall, but wasn't looking for UEFI, when I configured the BIOS. I only tweaked the boot order. The disk controller is configured for ACHI, which I assumed was correct. I'm seeing no asterisks in Device Manager. Since the boot disk is using MBR, then I would have expected MBR to be OK for the additional disks. I really think this is a Windows issue, since I've seen this on Win 8 and Win 10 and have read of so many others encountering this. The fact that Linux has no issues kind of underscores its not the hardware or the configuration. I'll be happy if the GPT/Primary partition workaround works. Windows consumes so much disk space, I need to provide more. Adding a second disk seemed a better way to go rather than having to purchase a larger boot disk.

 

I tried diskpart earlier and it complained as well when I tried to change anything on the 2nd disk. Hopefully after applying the GPT/Primary changes, Windows will tolerate the disk.

 

Will give your suggestion a try when I get home this evening. I'll post my results.

 

Really appreciate your input!



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 01:21 PM

Partition Wizard works within Windows or you can use the Bootable version. I have used both. Because you will be working on the other drive and not the system drive then you can use Partition Wizard for Windows.

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/minitool-partition-wizard-free/

 

If you do not see any setting in your BIOS for SecureBoot or Legacy/CMS boot then you have a normal BIOS. The OP in the other thread was able to boot with a MBR disk but I still do not understand why the OP was able to finally solve the issue using GPT.

 

Bootable version link

 

https://www.partitionwizard.com/partition-wizard-bootable-cd.html


Edited by JohnC_21, 01 November 2016 - 01:22 PM.


#5 penguin000

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 09:38 AM

Last night I used my Linux rescue disk to make the 2nd drive GPT/Primary/NTFS. When Windows booted, it then recognized the drive and assigned a drive letter.  :thumbsup2:  I was even able to change the drive letter. However after that, any time I tried to access the drive it produced "The system cannot find the file specified" msg. :( I wondered if the NTFS format performed by Linux might be an issue. From Disk Mgr I told it to delete the primary partition which it appears to partially do, but it also produced the msg. This did cause the graphics in Disk Mgr to change to show no primary partition. However, any other actions produce the error msg and didn't appear to change things.

 

So I'll go ahead and download the "in Windows" version of Partition Wizard and see if it can produce a GPT/Primary/NTFS that can be accessed from within Windows.

 

I'm beginning to believe that there is some really weird issue causing this and wouldn't surprise me if something in registry is responsible. However, being primarily a Linux user myself, my Windows skills are superficial and limited.

 

Thanks for giving me a small degree of hope that I can get this going.


Edited by penguin000, 02 November 2016 - 09:40 AM.


#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 09:49 AM

I here you. The more I use linux the better I like it over Windows, especially when dealing with the updates from Hell that is happening to Windows 7 each month.

 

At a command prompt use the sfc /scannow command. There may be some system files that are missing or corrupted.


Edited by JohnC_21, 02 November 2016 - 09:50 AM.


#7 penguin000

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 10:55 AM

Ok, had limited time last night, but did install and try the "in Windows" version, called MiniTool (?). Bottom line was it didn't work well. Initially it let me scan the disk, which looked promising since it wasn't generating errors. So then I went to apply the GPT/Primary/NTFS. I got as far as trying to format and now its telling me "bad disk". I switched the sata cable, sata port, and drive, resulting in the same error. Both cables, ports and drives work fine in Linux. So it appears I'm back to "something" in Windows is borked. I may tried the boot only version this evening. I suspect that will work fine, but expect Windows will still not like it.

 

I also tried "sfc /scannow" and it completed without finding any issues.

 

My gut is telling me it likely a registry issue. However peeling that onion will be unpleasant. I suspect a clean install would rectify this, however upgrading ensures all my wifes apps and settings are preserved.

 

Will let you know my experience.






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