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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger jujuraf's Avatar
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    unable to format

    I have a 1-yr old IBM 50GB drive which has died with unrecoverable read errors. I've tried every trick I knew (and some I found online) to get it to work again but nnnooooo <img src=/S/bwaaah.gif border=0 alt=bwaaah width=123 height=15> so now I'm down to reformatting. I've done this many times before w/o problems but for some reason this hard drive will not format! <img src=/S/cooked.gif border=0 alt=cooked width=50 height=46>

    The BIOS does recognize it and correctly reports its size (so it can't be a controller problem, right?). Since I can't boot this PC, I made the 4 bootable disks from my Win2k CD however these disks fail with various read errors. DIsk 1 reports a read error but continues anyway (copying files to where? memory?) and then part way thru disk 4 it also fails. I suppose I should make sure these floppies were created correctly but I don't want to run them on other still-working Win2k PC (afraid of wiping it out).

    At one point I made two disks from my other computer using Partition Magic and was able to boot with that and see my drive C:.I had it repartition the hard-drive. I just now ran PM again and for some reason disk #2 fails with exception errors so I can't even get back to re-partitioning the drive.

    I even downloaded a bootable Win98 thinking I could just use that initially to get 'any' OS on the drive. The bootable floppy failed too with error finding 'ntldr' (NT loader?). I just want to run ye-old fdisk/format, is that too much to ask?

    I'm getting myself into deeper and deeper do-do and don't know where to turn (other than tossing it in the trash and buying a new drive). Any clues?

    Deb <img src=/S/brickwall.gif border=0 alt=brickwall width=25 height=15>

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    Silver Lounger
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    Re: unable to format

    First, try to boot from Windows 2000 installation CD. To do so, check your BIOS settings under "boot order" - CD must be listed before floppy and hard drive. Then insert your CD and restart computer. If OS on the hard drive is installed already, you can see "Boot from CD" message on the screen during 5 seconds - you must press Enter, otherwise computer will boot from the hard drive.

    If, for some reason, you cannot boot from CD, try to create another set of Startup floppies from Setup CD (it is in BOOTDISK folder) on another computer.

    Sometimes floppy drive itself can be bad - try to use another one (you can buy one for US$20), but you must be absolutely sure that the problem is the floppy drive.

    You can use FDISK utility from another operating systems (Win98, for example) to destroy all existing partitions - boot from Win98 bootable floppy and run FDISK (press Y when prompted to enable large disk support). You can also download and create Drive Fitness Test (v3.40) (or similar) bootable floppy to check your hard drive and perform low-level format.

    But do not try to create any partitions in other way than from Windows 2000 Setup - chances are good they will be unusable.

    Good luck!

    ---------------------------------
    In addition: if you have access to the computer running Win 2000/XP with CD burner, you can make

    Bootable Windows 2000 CD with Service Pack Integrated

    Follow the link above.

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger jujuraf's Avatar
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    Re: unable to format

    Thanks for all the great info. I downloaded the Hitachi bootable program and will try it now. As to the BIOS settings, yes it's set first to boot from floppy then CD then HDD. I am not able however to boot from the Win2k CD I have. Maybe it's because it's from my MSDN subscription and so might not be laid out in the same manner as it would be if you bought WIn2k 'normally' and thus not recognized as being bootable <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>. I'm guessing here. There is an autorun.inf but it's not at the root of the CD, rather two directories down so that's why it can't be run. I can of course just 'setup.exe' myself and run it manually after booting from floppy. I'll try that as well as confirming that the cables are plugged in, etc. (the were as of last night).

    I had an old rescue disk made from Fix-It Utilities 99 that had Win98 on it. I booted from it and it failed with read errors on drive C: as well. I was able to manually get to the C: prompt but not able to do FDISK to C: w/o a read error. I did say 'Y' to the prompt for large hard drives and then I got the read error. Very weird. <img src=/S/confused.gif border=0 alt=confused width=15 height=20>

    I'll try a few more things and report back on my progress (or lack of progress).

    Thnx, Deb

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger jujuraf's Avatar
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    Re: unable to format

    I'm baaaccckk... Report?? The patient is dead. After mucking around for several days I give up and don't want to waste any more time when it's easier to trash it and buy a new one (not another IBM though). I did use the DFT software you mentined and it worked but I still couldn't get FDISK to recognize the drive. The Partition Magic rescue disk also still failed. I did make sure the floppy drive was functioning properly.

    I re-ran the four WIndows boot-up disks and they eventually failed too - after doing all its install stuff, it eventually reported some critical drive error even after it was supposedly partitioned.

    This just re-confirms my long held belief.... every year you have to reformat the drive and start over. After loading, installing, uninstalling and just using the PC as it should be, stuff gets unstable and there are too many things behind the scenes that <img src=/S/puke.gif border=0 alt=puke width=60 height=15>. Only answer is starting over. I long for the good old days of DOS when it was simple (not 1000 DLLs and drivers and 5 different OS, etc.)

    Thanks for your help, I appreciate it. <img src=/S/clapping.gif border=0 alt=clapping width=19 height=23>

    Now off to purchase another drive. Is one manufacturer *really* better than another? Aren't they all made in these same plant in Taiwan <img src=/S/sarcasm.gif border=0 alt=sarcasm width=15 height=15>? (along with all the VCRs and TVs)

    Deb

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    Re: unable to format

    <hr>This just re-confirms my long held belief.... every year you have to reformat the drive and start over <hr>

    Well I don't know if I would go that far. I haven't had to do that in 2 years and I have had no problems keeping my machine running fast and smooth. And I'm not saying it's not a good thing, I just haven't found it necessary.
    As for Hard Drives I prefer Maxtor. I have never ever had a problem with a Maxtor. Thats not to say that there are not other good Hard Drives. Of course it's like anything, everybody has their favorites, and Maxtor is mine.

  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger jujuraf's Avatar
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    Re: unable to format

    Thanks for the Maxtor referral.

    Actually two years between reformats isn't a long time either. I think it also depends on how much mucking around you do - if you're always adding/removing programs (which I do a lot of). I feel sorry for the many folks out there with PCs who are complete novices and believe the hype that WIndows is intuitive and your PC will work like a charm for ever and ever. (My brother and sister are constantly calling me with questions as they're always confused.) With all the complexity for the drivers and DLLs and third-party programs the PC will never be as easy to use/maintain as a toaster or microwave. Unless you want one machine for e-mail, another for Word processing, another for finances, another for .... (like all the unused appliances many people have in their kitchen cupboards). <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>

    Thnx, Deb

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    Re: unable to format

    <hr>With all the complexity for the drivers and DLLs and third-party programs the PC will never be as easy to use/maintain as a toaster or microwave.<hr>
    Amen to that! I've always found it amazing that Windows works as well as it does with the extreme range of hardware that's out there....a myriad of different system configurations, and no way to test all of those scenarios.
    -Mark

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    Re: unable to format

    Many Hard Drive manufacturers are only offering 1-year warranties these days. I looked around last time I had to buy a drive here and found that Western Digital still offered me a 3 year warranty

    Jim

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