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Hard Drive Refuses To Format

Posted on 2006-11-01
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I have a Maxtor 8 GB HD which had been infected by a virus, which placed some symbols in the partition label. The symbols could not be removed, so the partition could not be deleted. I wiped the drive with Active Killdisk in A:, in the side-bar of the Killdisk analysis window it said "invalid master boot record", so I  used Testdisk to write a "classic MBR". I checked in Killdisk again & the "invalid master boot record" warning was gone. I then ran SpinRite Disk recovery on it, no errors showed up.

I tried to install WinXP Pro, it partitioned but would not Format the HD (the partition showed up as "Non DOS"). Using a DOS 6.22 Boot disk I created a Primary Active partition with Fdisk, taking up the whole drive. When I try to format the partition with the command: "format c:", I get the message "invalid drive specification". I checked in Fdisk & the info says "Non DOS Partition".

How can WinXP & Fdisk create a Non DOS Partition? what is the problem?
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Question by:Ajak
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_ earned 50 total points
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Usually "Non DOS Partition" just means it is not Fat16/32.

Try the Maxtor utilities on it, and see if they can get it to format.
http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/products/index.htm
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by:Machin__Shin
Machin__Shin earned 25 total points
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In case kill disk didn't work properly here is another script in Debug that you can use

Use your Win98 Boot disk, ignoring stuff in brackets type the following:

DEBUG

- f 200 L200 0

- a 100

xxxx:0100 mov ax,301 (ignore segment :offset values at left)

xxxx:0103 mov bx,200

xxxx:0106 mov cx,1

xxxx:0109 mov dx,0080 (change final 0 to drive number if it isn't drive 0)

xxxx:010C int 13

xxxx:010E int 3

xxxx:010F (Press ENTER an extra time here)

- d 100 LF

xxxx:0100 B8 01 03 BB 00 02 B9 01-00 BA 80 00 CD 13 CC

(make sure that hex values match above line before proceeding)

(if values do not match, type Q and start over)

- g=100

(ignore register display)

- q (quits back to DOS)
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by:Machin__Shin
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As a caution, unplug any other HDD's you have to avoid wiping them if you make a wrong setting in the drives part.
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by:Machin__Shin
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oh yeah and restart your computer before partitioning
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by:Disorganise
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DOS 6.22 only understands FAT16.  Therefore, it does not understand partitions greater than 2GB in size  (...although NT4 could create a 4GB FAT partition which DOS would still live with).

You've two main choices:
If you have to boot from floppy....
Boot to DOS, run fdisk and delete whatever is there.  Create a primary partition no larger than 2048MB and set to active.
You should be able to format it to FAT16 no worries.
Connect to CD and run the XP setup.

If you can boot from CD...
Boot from the XP CD
After the 'F8  agreement' you'll get the install to what disk section.  Delete whatever is there, and then create a new partition as big as you like....from here plain sailing.

Caveat:
If the system is OLD - which it might well be having a 8GB drive, then the BIOS may be having difficulty accessing a boot partition past the 7.2GB mark.  If this is the case, create a sub 7GB partition when you boot from the XP CD and all should be well.  (this doesn't apply if booting off floppy obviously since you'll only have a 2GB partition).

You can also try the FDISK /MBR command to create a generic DOS MBR on the disk if you still have problems.
Incidently, the LABEL command from DOS should have allowed you to remove the funny characters from the drives label.  it'll happily write a new blank label over the existing one without needing you to type in the old one (which is the issue right?)

good luck
Disorganise
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by:nobus
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first of all, i would make sure to have the latest Fdisk (that can address disks bigger than 64 GB) :
get it here :  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/263044
then i would run DBAN on that drive, reformat it and test again : (this should do the job)
http://dban.sourceforge.net/      
you can also use the manufacturers tools to zero-fill the drive, and test it, to be sure about it's status :
http://www.disk-utility.com/hard-disk-low-level-format.html
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by:Ajak
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I ran PowerMax diagnostics on the drive & got the message:

"This drive is failing & must be replaced"

Game over.
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Thank you much.    : )

>> Game over

Bummer.   : (
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