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reset partition to allow format of hard drive

Posted on 2004-08-14
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Last Modified: 2008-03-10
ok, here is my question.

I want to format a hard drive on a very old pc. I've formatted hard drives before without any problems.
This is an HP Vectra vl. I have a boot disk and I'm able to get to the command prompt. My problem is with the lpartitioning. The system will not allow me to re-partition the hard drive. When I attempt to delete the primary dos partition I recieve a message saying cannot delete Primary Dos Partition on drive 1 when an extended dos partition exist. So when I try to delete the extended partition I recieve the same message referring to the Primary Petition.

Any sugguestions???
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Question by:ndgo88
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8 Comments
 
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by:
nobus earned 125 total points
ID: 11803299
You could try a low level format in the BIOS if present, or, better : try using the manufacturers program for zero filling the drive

 http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/products/index.htm            Maxtor/Quantum
 http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/download/hard-drives/#diagnostic      Fujitsu
 http://www.samsungelectronics.com/hdd/support/utilities/utilities_index.html       Samsung
http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html            Seagate
http://support.wdc.com/download/                        Western Digital
www.westerndigital.com 
http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT             IBM and Hitachi

nobus
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Expert Comment

by:ravisimpi
ID: 11803485
Get a Disk manager appropriate to your hard drive and repartition your entire hard drive.
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Assisted Solution

by:cyrnel
cyrnel earned 125 total points
ID: 11804351
You've learned an evil of fdisk. It's always been a pain to system configurators who didn't have their utility disks handy. The tools nobus pointed to are good, but if the net isn't handy you can also clear out the partition table via debug:

1) Boot something with DOS tools available, specifically debug.
2) Run debug. You'll get the "-" prompt.
3) Type this sequence. (not including dashed lines)
-----------------
A 100
INT 3
<press enter>
RAX
0301
RBX
0200
F 200 L 200 0
RCX
0001
RDX
0080 (use 0081 for 2nd drive, 0082 for 3rd...)
P
Q
-------------------

Reboot, run fdisk, and the partition table should be empty.

This will blow away whichever drive you selected with the "0080" line, so best to remove power from any but the intended drive before beginning.

Good luck,
Dave
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Expert Comment

by:cyrnel
ID: 11804390
BTW, the debug sequence is from an old MS technote that's survived scribbled in my configuration notes. The current version:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;106419
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Expert Comment

by:cyrnel
ID: 12213910
LucF, He just needed to clear the partition entry. Any number of enhanced-fdisk utilities can do the job. Debug works great and everybody has it. A format/wipe is overkill.

Dave
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