Windows 7 Machine Can See But Refuses to Allow Partitioning/Formatting of 1 TB WD Internal Drive

Potterjazz used Ask the Experts™
I have a desperate friend who has a Windows 7 machine into which she installed a Western Digital 1 TB internal SATA drive. The drive shows up in the Disk Management part of Computer Management Control Panel but refuses entreaties to be partitioned, to be formatted, or otherwise modified from its current 'unallocated' state. She tried removing the drive, letting Windows 7 reboot so it sees only the drives it 'likes', and then shutting down, manually reinstalling the SATA 1TB drive and letting Windows 7 try to find it on reboot. The attached screenshot is the result (just as it was before). Any ideas?
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Try this:

list disks
select disk #
create partition primary
format fs=ntfs quick
assign letter=Z
Top Expert 2010
Hopefully it is SATA - revision incompatibility.   Go to the WD site, look at the P/N, and see if the HDD is SATA-1, SATA-2 or SATA-3.  

Then compare with your computer.  If different, choose a common setting by looking for jumpers on the HDD and/or motherboard and/or BIOS settings.

If that does NOT do it, then run some diagnostics, but not within windows. This eliminates windows drivers.  Do so by getting a USB stick and going to,  and at the main page there is instruction for downloading & creating a bootable USB stick with linux on it.

Do so, boot to LINUX (DO NOT INSTALL LINUX, JUST BOOT TO IT).   Do you see the disk there?  
If capacity=0 but make/model shows up then you have a catastrophic failure and absolutely nothing you can do beyond paying $500+ to a pro.

If it shows up with capacity (meaning 1TB vs 0GB or something similar), then run some of the built-in disk tests in linux.   To be safe, unplug all HDDs except the one that you are testing when booting LINUX.
Managed IT Services, Cyber Security, Backup
In disk management is there the option to Initialize?

Run WD Quick Formatter.exe. You can download it here. Choose the other option than "xp mode", sorry can't think of it off the top of my head.
Top Expert 2013
you can also test this drive on another PC - it can be a disk problem, or software problem
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Did you initialize the drive before trying to partition it?
Without the new 1TB drive installed, does Win7 still think the boot drive is E: ?


Dear All....You each came up with some very good ideas. As I had no time to go look at the machine myself, I didn't know that she had not attempted to select "New Simple Volume" when selecting the unallocated drive. Once she did that, it was possible to then partition, format, and off she went. Thanks for your very quick, and good advice here (I learned some things I'll use one day!).
Top Expert 2013

tx for feedback

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial