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Harddrive formatting stuck on 2% - but is it *really* stuck or just not showing live progress?

Hi there

I'm currently formatting a 250 gig Western Digital SATA (non IDE) harddrive via Windows XP Pro CD boot install. It's on the second go now because the first time around it got to 2% formatting and the bar just stayed there. I gave it 2 hours and with no further apparent progress, I rebooted and started installation/formatting again. It's now stuck on 2% again and it's been about an hour. I have a feeling that, like some other installations I've done, this might just be a case of the progress bar showing 2%, until it's finished, when it'll go from 2% to 100% in 10 seconds. What do you think? Should I leave it for another 2 hours? It's 250gigs so formatting is going to take some time right. What you think?
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jasonelk
Asked:
jasonelk
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5 Solutions
 
wlennonVP of Domestic & Int'l OperationsCommented:
You might try the Utlity tool that came with the Drive to see if it is a fault, it wouldn't be the first new drive to fail, you can also get the Utliity from www.westerndigital.com 

Also, since you have the Windows XP Pro CD, during the first part of setup, choose the Quick Format (NTFS of course).

I am using two WD 74GB SATA Raptors in RAID 0, and a WD 300GB IDE drive as my backup.

Always works for me...
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JimsZCommented:
have you tried to do the quick format to just clear the mbr ?  and are you trying to format in fat or ntfs ?
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liorbCommented:
The problem seems to be with the HD itself.
Does it make any strange noises or clicking?

Replace the HD with a new one.

when formatting a disk on any size, it doesn't matter, the progress bar should move continually and not stop.
2 Hrs on 2% is too much time.

Regards and good luck

Lior
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rustyrpageCommented:
I never use Windows built in formatting tool.

I would suggest that you get a program like partition magic to format & partition to the drive...if there is a problem with the drive, it will tell you how to fix it. (very helpful).

Otherwise, I agree with wlennnon about getting the utility from WD.  

In answer to your question though, no, it won't jump from 2% to 100%...it has some sort of problem.

Is this drive new or used?
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
Hi there guys

wlennon: I can't run the utility tool because this is a single master drive on a new motherboard; I'm writing to you here on my laptop, no other test environment available. re quick format, i was told my dealer that i should absolutely not run the quick format. was this bad advice then?

jimsz: i haven't tried quick format - and i'm formatting in ntfs (the only options shown to me in the winxp setup/install/format).

Do you not think there's a possibility that the drive IS formatting, just not showing real-time progress on the progress bar; and that when it's done, progress will go from 2 to 100 in a few seconds? Should I stop the current format, reboot and quick format? Why would the dealer have suggested a full iformat only, if quick would do?

Thanks!
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
hi lior/rusty ...

good grief! i thought i had seen the last of these motherboard/harddrive issues and here i am again :( i'll try a quick format and see what happens. i was hoping that there was a chance the progress bar would simply jump at the end. i don't believe that this is turning into a huge mission ... again!

thanks though. i'll let you know what happens in the next few minutes.
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rustyrpageCommented:
On an a new drive, you shouldn't have to do a full-format...a quick format should be fine.

The utility should still do what you need, even if it is the primary drive...it is usually a bootable floppy or CD that runs on the CD....independent of any drive.
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liorbCommented:
I'm starting to be convinced that you have a bad HD.
These things happen a disk, even a new one, can be fine now and after a minute it could have a mechanic or any other problem wich will defect it.

A HD is one of the most useful and unreliable parts in a computer.

quick format is more then enough to prepare a disk for installation no stops and stucks shuld happen.

Lior
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rustyrpageCommented:
Although I tend to agree that it looks like a bad HD...I would troubleshoot first & see if a drive utility can do anything...then, I would start the RMA process
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wlennonVP of Domestic & Int'l OperationsCommented:
I think you dealer is just going by the book here, there is really no differece, except time.  The utility should have come on either a floppy or a CD ROM, in which case you can run it.  Remove the Windows Setup disc, and insert the floopy and re-boot (make sure you have the Floppy as the first boot sequence in BIOS.

The same applies if the utility came on  a CD ROM, make your BIOS see the CD ROM as the first boot, the re-boot. The Utility will also format your drive for NTFS.  If you have to download the Utility, do it from your laptop and copy it to what Media you have access to, 3-1/2 Floppy or CD ROM (if your laptop can burn to CD.).
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rindiCommented:
You can download the UBCD from http://ultimatebootcd.com which has the tools of the HD manufacturers on it and it is bootable as it's name implies...
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wlennonVP of Domestic & Int'l OperationsCommented:
Otherwise, as I said in my first post is it is not unusual to buy a new drive that is faulty...
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
hi guys

you're all awesome! i went with your suggestion and ran a quick format. i'm now writing to you from my newly formatted, newly installed HD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe this is working ... *almost* perfectly; one last thing before HD is perfectly set up: when running Western Digital utility tool as suggested above, there's only one red cross: under Smart Status, 'Raw Read Error Rate' value is 1. What does this mean and how do I fix this?

H E L P !

Thanks :)
Jason

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rustyrpageCommented:
Attribute Name:  Raw Read Error Rate

Attribute ID: 01

Description:
This attribute value depends of read errors, disk surface condition and indicates the rate of hardware read errors that occurred when reading data from a disk surface. Lower values indicate that there is a problem with either disk surface or read/write heads.

Critical:  Yes

Hard drives that support this attribute:
      

Samsung, Seagate, IBM (Hitachi), Fujitsu, Maxtor, WD (Western Digital)
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pgm554Commented:
Your XP CD boot disk ,is it @SP1?

XP without SP1 will not recognize drives greater than 137 gb correctly.

What about drivers for the SATA controller?

Are there special ones needed for the controller on your MOBO?

If so,did you install by using the F6 option for special device drivers?
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wlennonVP of Domestic & Int'l OperationsCommented:
Happy to hear the good news and happy to help, Jason

Really not much to worry about, you already know that the system and the drive are fine, what  you might want to do is enter BIOS and set S.M.A.R.T. to enabled to get rid of the error.  You will not actually have any problems even if S.M.A.R.T. is off.

After any install, you should also run Scan Disk.
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rustyrpageCommented:
I agree that sometimes SMART is wrong...but, judging by the previous evidence, I would get something to test the drive & verify it's functionality...it wouldn't be fun to have all of your data loast in a few months despite the gross warnings.
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wlennonVP of Domestic & Int'l OperationsCommented:
You might want to install XPSP1 and XPSP2, and the other Micorsoft updates before running Scandisk, as for the SATA Controllers, they are working or your drive wouldn't.  Usually installed by the PC manufacturer, or by you if you bought the Motherboard yourself, all Mobo drivers are on the disk that comes with the board.

After upgrading all the MS updates, check for updates for you system such as BIOS, Chipsets, Firmware for your Optical Drives, and so on...
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rindiCommented:
With the above error I would probably run a lowlevel format first, if the WD utility has that function. Otherwise maxtor's powermax utility I know has that function and works with non maxtor drives as well. After that you'd have to redo your normal format and installation.
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
You know, little old me sitting here in Cape Town South Africa ... and all you great people out there ... it's 10.55 at night, what would life be like without the net? Thank you guys. Thanks for taking time that you'd otherwise be spending watching TV, going for a walk .. or just doing anything but helping someone else out. I really, really appreciate it.

pgm554: I've got SP1. Are you saying that SP1 does *not* recognise drives larger than 137gb? Interestingly enough, that number comes up in the link that Rusy posted for Smart and Simple util. It determines that my drive is only 137gb large, and gives the same Raw Read Error. Curioser and curioser ...

Rusty/wlennon: i'm going to install ms updates then find the updated bios for my motherboard and install that. i'm very worried about this raw read thing. You sure it's not this 137gb thing pgm554's referring to?

*panic*
*panic*
*collapse*
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
rindi: are you saying that i need to format my hd again????
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pgm554Commented:
Windows XP SP1 is needed for proper use of >137 GB disks.

http://www.seagate.com/support/kb/disc/capacity/137/os/winxp.html
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rindiCommented:
Yes, to get rid of the error you have (but first run the lowlevel format of the WD utility, this writes 0's to the complete drive and should also be able to mark bad sectors as bad, hiding them from view). Normal formating may then even work!

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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
pgm: i am running sp1, which makes the 137 mystery quite strange.

rindi: no other way for me to check for bad sectors without reformatting?
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rindiCommented:
None that I know of.

The 137 mystery can also be caused by the bios. It needs 48 bit lba translation to properly use larger than 137GB HD's. Sometimes a BIOS update will help here. Before jumping to a BIOS update, read the bios version history for this problem having been solved. Usually the mainboard manufacturer will also have such histories on those pages you can download the BIOS from.
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pgm554Commented:
Software device drivers can be at issue.

I had Promise ATA 133 disk controller that was recognized by XP a Promise controller, but the device drivers were not for the 133,but an earlier model.

It let me install the OS ,but did not recognize anything over 137 gb ,untill I installed the correct driver.

That is why I mentioned that if their are special device drivers that came with that MOBO,you should install by using the F6 function and install the correct drivers for the controller.
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pgm554Commented:
If you go into control panel ,administrative tools,computer management,storage ,disk management.
How big of a disk does it see?
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wlennonVP of Domestic & Int'l OperationsCommented:
That is really strange, on my other PC I built I put in a Maxtor 300GB SATA drive, put in my Windows XP CD, and did a quick format, after installing the SP's it showed all but the 6 to 7GB norally used by the system, with 284.8GB free disk space.

I never use F6 unless I am installing RAID drives.

God only knows how many PC's I have built for myself and others...
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:

pgm: in disk management, it comes up as 232.88gb, with 230 available. if i do a 'dir' in cmd, it comes up as 246gb available.
when pc boots up, shows 238gb i think before booting into windows .. what does this all mean? i feel like i'm going mad.

wlennon: strange? you're telling me!!
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rustyrpageCommented:
It sounds like your drive is partitioned with the remainder not partitioned out.  It would be really helpful if you could get something like Partition Magic.

Does Disk Management show any partitions or un-used space on the drive?
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rindiCommented:
Some show 1000MB as 1GB others 1024MB as 1GB. The same applies with 1MB and 1000KB or 1024KB and so on. Different apps use one or the other calculation, so you also get those different results.
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pgm554Commented:
That sounds correct.
Unfortunately ,the way a GB is measured varies depending upon who you ask (mfg,os,or standards committe)so all sound correct.

The program(Smart and Simple) you ran might be an older one and can't see anything over 137gb.
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
OK, here's the deal. 'System Information' (under Accessories > System Tools) classifies the drive as follows:

Size: 232.88GB (250,048,479,232 bytes). There you have it :)

So the ONLY problem left is this Raw Read Error. What to do now? I don't want a drive that has errors on it, but all the tests I'm running show this drive as A-OK, except for this SMART Raw Read Error. ??
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pgm554Commented:
Download Aida32 and run it.

Under storage click smart .It should give you a read out of all smart errors found and if they are acceptable.
 
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download181.html
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
Hi PGM

Aida32 shows the same Raw Read Error. What now? Try reformat the drive? how?
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pgm554Commented:
What does it say under status?
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
It says: Pre-failure - Imminent loss of data is being predicted
Also, drive temperature is 38 degrees apparently. Is this normal for a 7200 drive?
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pgm554Commented:
Take it back and get a new drive.
That ones got issues.
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rustyrpageCommented:
I agree...although it may be a rogue error message...I usually don't like messing with that option...especially since it's a large drive, which means that you're probably storing a lot of data on it...it would be a shame to lose it.
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
oh no :((( i really didn't want to hear that option - mostly because i think you guys are right. thanks for all your help - i just hope the guys are happy to swap it over! have a great evening.
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liorbCommented:
Hi Jasonelk
As I mentioned before.

"The problem seems to be with the HD itself."
Just go to your retailer and replace it with a new one.

Please Accept my answer at first.

Good luck next time.
Glad to help any time.

Lior.
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
Great point Callandor :)

And to all of you who helped, here's where I am in the process:

- Took the harddrive back to the dealer yesterday. They'll be delivering my new drive today (may be a Seagate this time).
- The only factor that finally convinced them (because they underrated the Raw Read Rate Error completely) was the fact that the full format got stuck at 2%. This, they were convinced, proved that there was an error with the drive. Funny that!

SO the fun starts today and hopefully everything will go smoothly. Now, time to divide up those points - now I know how the Academy Awards judges feel; because you all helped, like a giant solving snowball!
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rindiCommented:
Thanks, and good luck with youur replacement disk.
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liorbCommented:
Callandor
Words well spoken.

So shell be done.

And to Jasone
Thanks.
And good luck.
Have fun with the computer.

Lior.
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wlennonVP of Domestic & Int'l OperationsCommented:
Thanks to all, and thank you Jason...

All we really care about is getting you going, if you need anything after you receive the new Drive, just post a new Question and we will be here for you.

Best of luck,

wlennon
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jasonelkAuthor Commented:
Hey wlennon .. thanks VERY much. Got my new drive today (a Seagate this time) - full install went off without a hitch, and SMART test came back with zero errors. All working perfectly!! Thanks for all your help..
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