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Format hard drive error message "Cannot lock the drive.  The volume is still in use"

Posted on 2009-05-03
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I own a Dell Optiplex 745  OS Windows XP Pro 5.1 (build 2600.xpsp.050329-1536 : Service Pack 2)
I discovered an error message "run-time error '5' invalid procedure call or argument" when trying to run an important software item. After much fiddling about including placing and extracting it at source dir. it was advised that I should format the hard drive and reinstall Windows
Whist trying to format the drive it would not allow me to do it in Windows so I tried in Dos and received following error message  "Cannot lock the drive.  The volume is still in use"

My questions are

1  Are there any other solutions to rectify the software conflict issue apart from contacting the software developer (The program is a Japanese one and have set language setting correctly)
It did work on my other computer on a Windows XP Pro 32 bit platform. I cannot determine what this Windows version is other than it reads   Windows version 5.1 (build 2600.xpsp (service pack)?

2  If solution to software conflict cannot be found how can I solve the format problem as mentioned in the above introduction.?

trying to complete an urgent project and most frustrated

Look forward to your kind help

Ian
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Question by:racepro
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by:thsteph
ID: 24289602
"Whist trying to format the drive it would not allow me to do it in Windows so I tried in Dos and received following error message  "Cannot lock the drive.  The volume is still in use"

how did you try in the first place? Format in Windows?? Format in DOS??? You mean you have tried with a bootable CD right?
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by:racepro
ID: 24289665
Rindi...Please post it for me and assign max points
Thanks
Ian
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by:rindi
ID: 24289698
Done.

You can't format a disk which is running windows from within windows, as it is being used. To do that you need to boot from something else (usually the XP Installation CD). Dell PC's often don't come with installation CD's, they rather often have a recovery partition from which you can restore the system back to factory default state, or there are recovery CD's (DVD's), which do the same, or you can create such recovery media using a utility that Dell PC's are installed with. So now it depends on what option you have.

If you have a Dell XP installation CD, boot your PC with that (make sure you have set the BIOS to boot from CD first), and press a key when it asks you to do so if you want to boot from CD. This will start the XP installation process, during which you can select to format your HD.

If you have recovery CD's, boot from that and follow the on-screen instructions. This will also format the HD.

If there is a recovery partition, check your manual, or the Dell how-To's on their homepage which describes how you start the recovery process. This is usually a function key combination you have to press after turning on the PC, like ctrl+F11. Also this recovery process will format the disk.

The actual error you get with your special software, can be caused by many different things. Usually the best option is to get in touch with that particular software manufacturer to get this resolved (if the XP Re-installation doesn't help).

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skywalker39 earned 500 total points
ID: 24290132
Hi racepro,

If you know what kind of hard drive your using you can go to the manufacturers website and download their utility to format the drive for you.
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