Cannot format external hard disk

  Throbber 12:58 22 Jul 2008

My USB connected external hard disk has stopped working. It appears as "Local Disk (G). In properties, it says "Used Space 0 bytes" "Free Space 0 bytes"
When I look in "Hardware" it tells me "this device is working properly."
When I try to format it, I get the message "Cannot format".
File system in properties is listed as "RAW"
About the same time my PC refused to boot up, until I unplugged this hard disk.
Running XP home SP3.
Is the disk terminally dead, or is there something I might try to revive it?

  peter99co 13:04 22 Jul 2008

In Vista, Control Panel > Administrative Tools Select Computer Management then Disk management, also similar for XP. Your drive should be listed there, you will have to format it by right clicking on it and selecting format. Make sure you have the right before doing so, you will loose all data on the drive! Select full format as it's a virgin drive, then go watch TV or something as it takes hours, literally.

The above was post before in the forum and this is a copy and paste of the thread.

Does it help you?

  Throbber 15:51 22 Jul 2008

Thanks, peter99co. It looked as if this was going well, but eventually gave message "format cannot be completed successfully." Anything else I can try?

  Throbber 17:14 22 Jul 2008

I have also just noticed that Computer Management tells me the disk is 915.58 Gb. I'm sure it was only 250 or 300 Gb when I bought it! Don't know if this has any bearing?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:36 22 Jul 2008

Is the disk terminally dead, or is there something I might try to revive it?

Try connecting as a "slave" internally in the PC and then retry the format.

If no good then try and fdisk the drive to remove all partitions and then retry format.

  Throbber 00:04 07 Aug 2008

How do you fdisk a drive?

  Ditch999 11:27 07 Aug 2008

In Disk Management R click on the drive and select Delete Partition.
When the partition has been deleted R click on the unallocated space that is now there and select New Partition and in the New Partition Wizard, click Next, click Primary partition and then follow the instructions on your screen.

  UncleP 12:16 07 Aug 2008

The symptoms you give in your first post indicate that an important section of the disk, possibly the MBR, has become corrupted. Normally a format from the disk management page will recover the disk (but lose all information on it, as peter99co notes). However, because the OS thinks the disk is much larger than it actually is, it tries to access non-existent regions, leading to the 'format cannot be completed successfully' error message.

To correct this, I think a lower level format is required first. Have you tried initializing the disk? (This option should appear in the menu obtained by right-clicking on the entry for the HD on the right of the disk management page, under Disk 1 or whatever). Avoid the system disk (Disk 0) or you could be in real trouble!

  Throbber 23:39 07 Aug 2008

Ditch999, UncleP
Looks like you guys have sorted this one. Disk seems now to be formated and up and running. I am currently backing up my hard drive to this external drive. Will let you know if all goes well tomorrow. Many thanks. You guys are great!


  Throbber 10:45 08 Aug 2008

Yes, fully sorted. Many thanks to all.

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