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Can't format new hard drive..or old one

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by pradhan, Dec 31, 2007.

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  1. pradhan

    pradhan Thread Starter

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    I have been experiencing instability on a system running XP-Media. It is about 3 years old and decided to clean it out, restoring back to the manufacturer's (HP) original image. After doing this Windows remained unstable...rebooting seemingly at random, so I decided to do a totally fresh install from a legitimate XP Pro disk...

    As XP Pro is installing, it seeks to format the hard drive to NTFS (either quick of full, as you know), after which I get a message
    "Unable to format hard drive. Partition may be damaged, etc"

    I tried many times, deleting partition, reducing its size, etc, all with the same results. Aha! I figure...the problem was that the hard drive was bad. So, I go and buy a spanking new hard drive (WD 160 Gig).

    Then, when formatting for XP Pro...SAME PROBLEM on the brand new drive. When formatting, (quick or full), it proceeds to 100% seemingly okay and then returns the error. Any idea what might cause this? Of course, at todays prices, I am ready to just get another box, but my inquisitive mind is wondering what is going on?

    Thanks,
    Pradhan
     
  2. Lurker1

    Lurker1

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    Hi pradhan

    You should always test a hard drive before replacing it. You can load diagnostic tools from here.

    http://support.wdc.com/

    Your problems could also be due to bad memory or a weak power supply. You can find free memory tests on the web also. Good luck.
     
  3. pradhan

    pradhan Thread Starter

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    Thanks...I did test the RAM. I'll retest the old hard drive. Fortunately a new hard drive is only a few bucks nowadays.

    Happy New Year.
    Pradhan
     
  4. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    I would tend to think you have a failing board or pw supply.
    Before changing any parts, I would give the board a very close inspection with a bright light. Look for any leaking/bulging/discolored or mal-formed capacitors on the board. If you find any, you have found the problem. If you do not find any, you can swap in a known working pw supply to test.
     
  5. pradhan

    pradhan Thread Starter

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    Thanks. I will check out the board today. May I ask a question? Just curious...why might the power supply cause a format failure?

    Thanks for your time.
    Happy New Year
    Pradhan
     
  6. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Fluctuating voltage makes the system unstable/gives errors.
     
  7. MaverickUK

    MaverickUK

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    You could also have a bad cable, have you tried swapping this out?

    i.e. if it is IDE, swap the IDE connector for anothe, or if it is SATA, swap that cable out.
     
  8. pradhan

    pradhan Thread Starter

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    I re-seated the cable but did not swap it out. Interestingly- the re-seating of the cable allowed the format to proceed, so it might definitely be cable related.

    Thanks for all the help and suggestions.
    Pradhan
     
  9. Bob Cerelli

    Bob Cerelli

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    Keep an eye on it. Have occasionally seen that actually be a problem with the hard drive. The symptom is that the cable at the hard drive end regularly needed to be reseated. Swapping with known working cables didn't solve the problem.
     
  10. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Good point. I thought he had done this already however I reread the post and he did not. I think it was another thread I was working on where the cable was swapped.
     
  11. pradhan

    pradhan Thread Starter

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    I did not swap out the cable. I couldn't imagine the cable just "going bad," but of course, for the cable, as in life...nothing is permanent.

    Thanks for all your help and advice--
    Pradhan
     
  12. MaverickUK

    MaverickUK

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    Cables can just go bad, i kid you not!

    Glad you got it working.
     
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