Format external hard drive?

  Ben Avery 09:54 07 Aug 2003


Is there an easy way to format a brand new external hard drive which is in a USB 2.0 enclosure? I only ask as I can't really be bothered opening the case and installing it that way if it isn't strictly necessary!



  Diemmess 10:47 07 Aug 2003

If your ext. HD is like mine,(a 40Gb Amacom) it worked straight from the box, no formatting just simply install the USB driver.

It worked on the existing USB 1 port but obviously when I fitted a USB 2 card the file transfers speeded up to what they should be and it stopped behaving like a floppy!

  Ben Avery 11:01 07 Aug 2003

The Hard drive is a Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 60GB and has been placed inside a "Mobile Disk USB2 External Data Storage" casing. The casing is plugged into the USB2 PCI card on my PC and when I plugged it in 1st time, it installed the driver automatically (Built into Windows 2000) and recognised the device.

However there is no new drive recognised in "My Computer" just the usual 3 partitions of my Fixed HDD. Apparently the Mass storage device should automatically be assigned the next available drive letter (In my case H: after fixed C:, D:, and E: partitioned drives and F: (CDRW) and G: (DVD)).

This does not happen on mine so I'm guessing the drive is not formatted yet (Can't see that it would be as they would need to then decide whether you wanted FAT or NTFS for you and I don't think manufacturers like making decisions for you!)

I think I'm probable going to have to remove my Fixed drive and run fdisk of similar to create a partition to format. Just wondered if it could be done from windows itself on an external drive.

The drive is recognised in the device manager as ST360014 A USB Device and is functioning correctly so I guess it just needs formatting right?


  temp003 14:53 07 Aug 2003

You should be able to format an external hard disk in the normal way.

If it doesn't show up in My Computer, try Disk Management (Right click My Computer, Manage, Disk management), and see if you can find it there. Right click and create partition, or format.

If it doesn't show up, then it's not properly recognised. My external hdd did the same thing the other day, with my newly installed w2ksp4. I had to try a few times (and was told by w2k to reboot - strange).

Go to Device Manager to see if there's any yellow exclamation mark. If so, uninstall the device, restart and plug the disk in again.

  swanson2 16:37 07 Aug 2003

I had the same problem recently when I purchased a new 80GB OEM Hard Disk and an external USB enclosure.

As the Hard Disk had not been formatted I couldn't "see" it on my PC.

I made a number of enquiries about formatting it via the USB port but was finally convinced that this was not possible.

I did however find it simple to open up my PC, unplug the installed Hard Disk and plug my new one in (without needing to remove the installed one!)

Remember that unless you have some software with your new Hard Drive you will need a Windows boot up or emergency start up disk so that you can run fdisk.

Hope you find this of some use.

  Diemmess 16:51 07 Aug 2003

swanson2 has made a better guess than I did.

The only thing I can add is to repeat how easy it is to do a straight lash up with the new HD perched rather than screwed down and by using the "plugs" borrowed from the computer's primary HD there is no chance of a catastrophic reformat of drive C"

  Mango Grummit 17:03 07 Aug 2003

temp003 is correct. If not, for whatever reason, then please come back.

Stay calm, it can be sorted but remember the answers are supplied by computer users only, not experts which would cost you.

It is not the same thing as "This Is The Answer For Sure".

  Ben Avery 17:17 09 Aug 2003

Haven't been at wrk this wk so only just checked poota. In the end I formatted it by swapping the cables in my PC and formatting into FAT32 with the Win 98SE startup disk. That did the job so now I have my 60GB on the move! Woohoo!

Thanks all.


  ton 20:25 09 Aug 2003

Just for future reference, I used Partition Magic to format mine.

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