Initialize Disk

What does it mean when it says "You must initialize a disk before Logical Disk Manager can access it."

Can I pull the information off the hard drive?  If so, what recovery software is best to use?
ac4Asked:
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noxchoConnect With a Mentor Global Support CoordinatorCommented:
Disagree with pqm554. It will write drive signature into MBR but not rewrite it.
Initialization is necessary in following cases:
1)The HDD is brand new and never been using in your syste,
2)The HDD is taken from another machine but it has data on it. Anyhow your Windows has zero knowledge about this drive. Thus it must be first initialized
3)If the HDD is existing HDD of your system and has not been moved recently from another machine then you have problems with registry. Somehow the HDD information has been removed from Windows registry. Could be rootkit.
4)The HDD MBR has been updated by some tool removing its unique signature from MBR. Rarely possible.

Initialization of your HDD does not affect the data on the drive. Only MBR. This could cause problems if your drive has no MBR (such drives exist in Sony Playstation for instance.

Now to your problem. Tell us more about this drive history. Where did it came from?
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conradjonesConnect With a Mentor Commented:
is this a new hard disk or an existing one?

if its new then right click on it in disk administrator and select "initialize disk"

if it is an existing disk, which am i guessing by "Can i pull the information off the hard disk" line.
there is

http://www.nucleusdatarecovery.org/

but may be better sending it off to a professional recovery place, they are not to expensive nowadays and may achieve greater results
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ac4Author Commented:
Its an existing disk... what will happen if I do initialize disk?
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pgm554Connect With a Mentor Commented:
It will rewrite the MBR and make it more difficult to recover data that you may want.

If for some reason or other this system lost format,I would suggest a data recovery program  from www.runtime.org  Getback  for NTFS or fat are two programs that work quite well and are cheap to buy.

There is an eval download that will let you see what is recoverable for free.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
More info on initialization written by me for another asker:
Each HDD must have its own unique signature that is different from zero. Initialization does not format HDD. Neither low level nor volume level. It simply writes 4 bytes signature into MBR. That's all.
This unique signature is used by Microsoft for mounting partitions on HDD.
When you look in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices you will see first 4 bytes - this is the signature of your HDD.
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ac4Author Commented:
Specs of the hard drive....
- WD Caviar 3200
- Enhanced IDE Hard Drive
- Manufacture on Feb 15, 2006
- Model is WD32000BB

The hard drive it self came from one of my friend's Gateway computer. I went over to her house and looked at the computer this morning.  Once I open the tower, I notice the hard drive was starting up and then shutting down within 5 - 10 seconds... then it would repeat the same process again.

So, I brought the hard drive home and plugged it into my hard drive adapter that I have and now the hard drive is staying on, but I can't gain access to the data.  I have gone into my Disk Management and that's where it says that I need to initialize a disk before Logical Disk Manager can access it.

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pgm554Commented:
Yeah,I believe the init is different and would cause no damage if done.
I see so many of these issues on these threads,I forgot that init is harless.
As long as it didn't come up as raw or unformatted ,you should be fine.
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ac4Author Commented:
Your not going to believe this...

I attempt to initialize the drive and it its now popping up an error message saying "The device is not ready."
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pgm554Commented:
Sounds like a hardware issue.

You said your friends disk was spinning up and down which is indicative of a HW issue.

Disks and storage are cheap these days because of the mass production means,but the QA is so so.
Cheaper to replace than fix,so depending upon how valuable the data,you might need to send it out for repairs.
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ac4Author Commented:
I suggested replacing the hard drive to my friendly already... I just need to get the data some how.
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pgm554Commented:
If it won't spin up or be seen by the system,there are a couple of steps that you can try .

Get a copy of a Knoppix  boot CD and see if the Linux boot kernel can see the drive to allow you to copy the data off.

For money,you can get a hold of  Spinrite,it actually may be able to recover the data off a broken drive.

You can download the WD tools and run it off of a floppy to see if it can repair the issue.

http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=502&lang=en

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ac4Author Commented:
The hard drive is spinning... don't know why it was turning on and off earlier, but its staying on now.

The problem now is that I cant initialize the drive without it popping up "The device is not ready."
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pgm554Commented:
Sounds like an I/O problem on the circuit board.
Try the DOS WD diags to see if an OS can see the drive.
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ac4Author Commented:
I did what you said, here is the results...

No Western Digital Drives Found...
DLGDIAG 5.04f - Data Lifeguard Dianestics
Non-WD Drive
Error / Status Code: 0201
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
The drive is bad. If your friend needs data from it let her address recovery service such as www.gillware.com
Otherwise simply replace it.
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pgm554Commented:
Try the old diag on the same WD page I gave you.
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