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  1. #1
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    Unable to format WD hard disk after trying to reformat it to FAT32

    I have a WD My Passport 500GB external hard disk. Previously it had a problem resulting in Windows asking me to format it. At the time, the hard disk was successfully formatted into NTFS.
    However, I later decided to reformat it into FAT32 using a GUI version of FAT32 Format. I had done this a couple of times before to this very same hard disk, but this time, after starting the format process I realized it was taking longer than usual. After waiting for sometime, an error message popped up saying that it was unable to format the disk into FAT32.
    I tried to access the disk and Windows just kept asking me to format it. I decided to format the disk using the Windows format utility but an error message again popped up saying that it was unable to format the disk.
    In disk management, the hard disk appears as RAW with a healthy primary partition. When I tried to use diskpart to format, it just keeps showing 0%.
    Is there any way I can fix my hard disk? I don't need any data in it (It's basically empty), just the disk in a usable state.

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    @kasana, Welcome to the Lounge.

    Will it format as NTFS again? If so, that may be what you need to leave it. I suppose there could be a problem with the control S/W on the HD (I assume there is something there to allow these actions. I am not really sure how this works)
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Did you use the clean all command in diskpart?
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-11-02 at 09:56.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  4. #4
    Silver Lounger
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    Kasana, a fine day to you.
    Look for Gparted on the Web, D/L it, it is free. This app will cure any problem on any HD unless you have a logical problem on the HD board or a mechanical problem on the medium itself. Not for the faint of heart, if your HD is unusable, there is nothing to loose. I use Gparted at least 1/month, I have quite a few USB HDs here to save my clones. Jean.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    I'm unable to format it in anyway. Not even as NTFS. When using the clean all command from diskpart, it just stays like that with nothing happening. I even tried deleting the current partition from disk manager and creating a new one, but still no luck.

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    It is possible that disk has gone to the disk graveyard in the sky!
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  7. #7
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Run a thorough chkdsk command on it and try again;

    chkdsk [drive letter]: [switches] (you'll want the "R" switch)

    preferably from the command prompt of a bootable disk.
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    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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  8. #8
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    The WD 'Smartware' software or WD SES drivers may be at fault here; you might need to install the latest version of the software to access/enable the drive again: http://support.wdc.com/product/downl...vel1=2&lang=en and select the option under your drive's picture.

  9. #9
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    If the drive is still in its external enclosure, the enclosure itself may be the crux of your problem.

    I never try to re-format any drive, INSIDE of an external enclosure.

    I will take the drive out of the enclosure, connect it to a PC and use my DOS utilities on CD, to access the drive, with FDISK and remove all partitioning and redo it with a single partition, then format it with the DOS format command.

    That's about the only format that will actually test and verify every sector on the drive and block out any unreliable sectors.
    Once those sectors have been added to the Bad Sector Map, no other program will try to use them.

    Then once the drive is formatted (FAT-32) you can connect it back to your computer and use your own PC's software to reformat it if that's what you want to do.

    I've been using this technique for way longer than I care to admit. It always works, unless the drive is really broken.

    Good Luck to you!
    The Doctor

    PS: That bootable, DOS Utilities CD, ISO, in a .rar file can be downloaded here:
    <Mod. edit>URL deleted. Home page or trusted download site, please.

    EDIT: I AM the trusted download site!
    Anyone wanting the url or link PM me. <- at your own risk
    Last edited by satrow; 2013-11-03 at 20:18.
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  10. #10
    3 Star Lounger
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    Look on WD site for your drive and in downloads there is one Digital Lifeguard. Download that and try formatting by writing zeroes to the drive. Sometimes that fixes bad sectors. If the drive is still in warranty opening the case will void the WD warranty.
    Joe

  11. #11
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe S View Post
    If the drive is still in warranty opening the case will void the WD warranty.
    Also, the internal drive from a WD My Passport (there are other brands/models with this hidden 'feature' as well), might not connect via a standard SATA connection. Some of them have a USB pass-through soldered directly to the hard drive PCB.

    Research is needed before a strip down is started, the drive model/serial# underneath the enclosure may be enough to verify (via 3rd party sites) whether the drive within is a 'real' SATA or not.

  12. #12
    3 Star Lounger
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    One more about WD externals the ones that come with Smartware are hardware encrypted.
    Joe

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