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View Full Version : How do I format a blank USB HDD?



Billy T
23-05-2006, 01:59 PM
Hi Team

I have just installed an unformatted Seagate 40GB HDD into a DSE USB 2 external drive case, it is detected ok, shows up in the task bar as a removable USB device and also appears in device manager. OS is W2K Pro.

Problem is, it doesn't show up in My Computer to allow me to format it. I assume that this is because it isn't formatted yet, but does this mean it can't be formatted over a USB link? Google was not particularly helpful, in fact it didn't help at all. :(

This is virgin territory for me, so where do I go from here?

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :confused:

Speedy Gonzales
23-05-2006, 02:09 PM
Control panel / admin tools / computer management / disk management.

It SHOULD appear here as unallocated. Highlight it, and right mouse/format.

Does 2k have this?

Billy T
23-05-2006, 02:44 PM
Thanks Speedy

Going through that sequence then clicking on Disk Management" brought up up the error message "Failed Connection to Logical Disk Management Service".

A second attempt brought up "The Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service is disabled, cannot connect"

I am logged on as adminstrator.

All paths lead to hell?

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

CYaBro
23-05-2006, 03:08 PM
Run services.msc and check that the Logical Disk Manger Administrative Service is set to Manual.

Speedy Gonzales
23-05-2006, 03:08 PM
Hmm Has 2k got a services icon under control panel / admin tools??

If it has go to logical disk manager, dbl click on it, and see if its on auto and started. If its stopped, click on start. See what happens.

See if there's also a local disk manager admin service entry. If there is, see if its on manual and stopped.

Also see if doing this (http://groups.google.co.nz/group/microsoft.public.windowsxp.general/browse_thread/thread/7b180b3b252782e0/752b1ef59ae31be3?lnk=st&q=The+Logical+Disk+Manager+Administrative+Service+ is+disabled%2C+cannot+connect&rnum=2&hl=en#752b1ef59ae31be3) applies to 2k.

pcuser42
23-05-2006, 03:58 PM
If you have a spare 3 1/4 drive bay, install the drive in there (possibly with 2 screws) and try that. I know it's time consuming, but it may work. :D

:badpc:

Billy T
23-05-2006, 05:19 PM
Run services.msc and check that the Logical Disk Manger Administrative Service is set to Manual.
OK, it was off, so I set it to manual and now I can bring up all my disks (0 & 1, each with two partitions) and disk 2, the USB jobbie with the size 37.27 GB plus "Unallocated" shown in a small pane. Right-clicking brings up a basic properties information box but with no options for doing anything else. :confused:

Incidentally, why would I set it to manual when everything else is set to automatic? Just curious.

I know I can shift it to another drive bay (it is a 5.25 disk btw) but I'd rather not climb inside the box right now, and I should be able to format it in situ.

I enjoy a challenge. :groan:

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

Graham L
23-05-2006, 05:29 PM
Billy, I think that the suggestions are coming from people who have done this with XP. :D

A look at the links thrown up by"format USB disk w2k" to Google suggests to me that this is a problem. :groan: There may be a solution in one of them ... I'm off home now.

CYaBro
23-05-2006, 05:47 PM
Incidentally, why would I set it to manual when everything else is set to automatic? Just curious.


Having it on manual means the service is only started when you go into Disk Management and then stops when you exit because it is not needed anymore. This way the service is not taking up resources.

Billy T
23-05-2006, 10:30 PM
A look at the links thrown up by"format USB disk w2k" to Google suggests to me that this is a problem. :groan: There may be a solution in one of them ....
Well I've looked through them and there is nothing really relevant to this problem, and I've done a lot more searching besides in Google, the Windows help file, and in "Windows 2000 secrets" (Brian Livingstone) but nothing seems to address this particular problem. I have a few questions though:

1) What is the signature Wizard that keeps popping up, and do I need to add a signature?

2) If the disk space is unallocated, how do I allocate it, or is this just a fancy way of saying it isn't formatted yet?

3) To lose one's legs climbing mountains is rather bad luck, but to go back and lose your fingers as well sounds like downright carelessness doesn't it?

4) Could King Kong and Ann Darrow ever have made a go of their relationship, and if so, would she have become Queen Kong?

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :help:

Speedy Gonzales
23-05-2006, 10:39 PM
1) What is the signature Wizard that keeps popping up, and do I need to add a signature?

Dont know what this looks like. Wanna take a snapshot and post it on the ImageF1 site?



2) If the disk space is unallocated, how do I allocate it, or is this just a fancy way of saying it isn't formatted yet?

If its the same as XP, then yup thats what it means. Since its new, it isnt formatted and in XP, it shows as unallocated.

Can u take a snapshot of what comes up when u right mouse on the hdd in disk management?

Metla
23-05-2006, 10:45 PM
Cut to the chase, Rip the side of the case, plug in the ide lead and power cable, format it.

No need to put any screws in.

Job done faster then the time taken to post a thread and wait for random feedback.


Unless you wanted to have a thread......

Billy T
23-05-2006, 10:53 PM
Cut to the chase, Rip the side of the case, plug in the ide lead and power cable, format it.

No need to put any screws in.

Job done faster then the time taken to post a thread and wait for random feedback.....
Yeah....you are probably right Metla, but I like a challenge and I don't learn anything by taking the easy (sensible?) way out.

I've used up most of my available time though so if I don't find an answer pretty soon I will have to give up.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :badpc:

Greven
24-05-2006, 10:24 AM
Unallocated means not partitioned rather than not formatted.

If partition Magic has a trial version, use that.

Billy T
24-05-2006, 11:30 AM
Unallocated means not partitioned rather than not formatted.
I have Partition Magic, but the problem seems to go deeper than this, I can't partition a disk that the computer sees but won't access. Here's the latest:

I gave up the quest for knowledge and took Metla's advice to hang it off my computer ide cable. I didn't need to pop the case though, my D: and F: partitions are on a drive in a removable cassete so I swapped drives, set the new one as slave (in the USB drive case it is set as master), rebooted

The computer found the drive but it remains as before, i.e. I have no option to format available. If I change to another drive under disc management and right click I get the full menu of options, but not for this one.

Swapped the cassette into Old-Faithful, my P166/W98 box and rebooted, but boot wouldn't advance past the initial drive screen. It stopped on the new drive and asked me to press F4 to advance, but pressing that did nothing.

Took the drive out, reinstalled it in the USB case and plugged it into my laptop (also W2K). It was detected as a mass storage device, the drivers installed and the HDD was recognised but it went no further than that and the situation is identical to the other W2K computer.

This (http://www.imagef1.net.nz/files/USB_Drive.jpg) is the screen shot from Disk management, and This (http://www.imagef1.net.nz/files/Wizard.jpg) is the signature Wizard that pops up when Disk Management is opened.

I am thinking that I might have to take the drive to a local computer shop to be partitioned and formatted, because I'm not making much progress here.

Any further ideas or advice would be most welcome.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :badpc:

Metla
24-05-2006, 11:38 AM
Unplug all other drives, boot into DOS.

Format C:

Greven
24-05-2006, 11:52 AM
Let the wizard do it's thing - It looks like you have to write a signature to a disk before you can use it. Does anyone know why that is, and how Linux handles this problem?

Speedy Gonzales
24-05-2006, 11:58 AM
Also, is the hdd plugged into a USB 2 port or connected to a hub??

This may make a diff. Why u see no options when u right mouse in disk management.

Billy T
24-05-2006, 04:39 PM
Also, is the hdd plugged into a USB 2 port or connected to a hub??
Direct to a USB 2 port on the main computer, or to the sole USB 1 port on the laptop.

As for writing a signature, I'm all for that but I can't find anything in Windows' help files or on the net to tell me what a "signature" actually is. Knowing MS it will be something arcane with limits on the number of letters/digits used. I found a 170 page IBM PDF for setting up something of theirs that ran right through the wizard step by step, but the definition is too poor to read and they didn't bloody bother to say what you should actually enter. :angry

Those who know the answers always seem to assume that everybody else can divine their secret code through transcendental communication. :mad:

I assume that setting it to slave was correct for hanging off my main computer as a secondary drive?

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

Greven
24-05-2006, 04:43 PM
I thought that the wizard only required you to select the drive & it did the rest?

Speedy Gonzales
24-05-2006, 05:07 PM
I take it, its plugged into the power as well?

And SP4 is installed?

Metla
24-05-2006, 05:13 PM
Talk about how little effort it takes to transform a simple task into a mammoth problem.

Ignoring all the chode.

Take the side off the case.
Plug it into the IDE cable.
Format it.

In the event that the efforts so far have written something to the drive that is stalling the procedure then,

Unplug all the drives apart from the one that needs formatting.
Assign it as master.
Boot into DOS
Format C.

SolMiester
24-05-2006, 05:19 PM
I dont think you can format the usb drive until you have created a partition logical on top of a primary or just a primary ie: bootable. I think the signature part of the equation is windows way of writing a hardware ID to the device not yet integrated to the O/S, and until this happens you wont be able to create a partition to format.

I think you also need the 'remote storage' service running.

Speedy Gonzales
24-05-2006, 05:24 PM
And most sites say u cant make external USB hdd's bootable, or as a system disk.

So, you'll have to create a system disk and boot from it. Or get one of those disks from bootdisk.com

SolMiester
24-05-2006, 05:39 PM
And most sites say u cant make external USB hdd's bootable, or as a system disk.

So, you'll have to create a system disk and boot from it. Or get one of those disks from bootdisk.com

I dont mean for him to make it bootable, just a primary/logical partition.

Jen
24-05-2006, 05:43 PM
Let the wizard do it's thing - It looks like you have to write a signature to a disk before you can use it.Hmm ... reading what that Signature Wizard wants to do, this doesn't sound like a good idea. It wants to upgrade the standard basic disk to a dynamic volume.

Is the 40 gig Seagate known to be working? I see that it hasn't been assigned a drive letter under Disk Management either.

Speedy Gonzales
24-05-2006, 05:45 PM
I dont mean for him to make it bootable, just a primary/logical partition.

I know. Altho, what Metla is saying if u unplug all other drives, how exactly are you going to do anything with the USB hdd? Or boot into DOS?

Other than chuck a floppy or USB key in and boot from one of them (with the command to format it).

I have heard of people trying to format a USB hdd (without power) as well.

This is one reason why it wouldnt format. It wasnt connected to a power point.

As soon as they connected it to power, they were able to format it as well.

Billy T
24-05-2006, 05:49 PM
Talk about how little effort it takes to transform a simple task into a mammoth problem. In the event that the efforts so far have written something to the drive that is stalling the procedure.............

Yes, well, nothing whatsoever had been written to the drive, and it wasn't recognised as a slave, so crawling around on the floor to do a swap for my C: drive was not an attractive proposition, given the likelihood of failure.

However, I have fixed it and it is now in three partitions, formatted FAT32 and recognised in Explorer and all that Jazz.

The answer lay in doing the signature thing, and the reason why I had not attempted that before was simply because I had no information to tell me what it was about. SolMiester had it sussed correctly, but unfortunately that came too late to save what was left of my hair.

Once this "signature" was applied, another wizard opened up to offer partioning. It would only write one partition, but I guess that's normal, then I had to go back and do the other two. That was interesting because despite my selecting FAT32 in each case, it wrote the largest partion as NTFS so I had to reformat that.

Anyway, I was able to do the whole thing over the USB cable, and it will remain one of life's unsolved mysteries as to why it couldn't be recognised and formatted when connected directly to an IDE cable, but that's computing.

Thanks to everybody for their input, I got there in the end.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :thumbs:

Jen
24-05-2006, 05:51 PM
Does the drive show under Disk Management as Basic or Dynamic now?

Billy T
24-05-2006, 05:53 PM
Hmm ... reading what that Signature Wizard wants to do, this doesn't sound like a good idea. It wants to upgrade the standard basic disk to a dynamic volume.


Urk.................maybe I started celebrating too soon. :eek:

What is a dynamic volume, and why isn't it a good idea Jen?

Edit: From Windows 2000 Secrets I see that a dynamic drive can't be accessed by any other OS but W2K (and no doubt XP). That shouldn't be a problem because I want to pull files off my W98 box over the network, but I don't need the reverse access.

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

Jen
24-05-2006, 05:59 PM
What is a dynamic volume, and why isn't it a good idea Jen?
What's the difference between Basic and Dynamic Disks in Windows XP/2000/2003? (http://www.petri.co.il/difference_between_basic_and_dynamic_disks_in_wind ows_xp_2000_2003.htm)

Dynamic vs. Basic Storage in Windows 2000 (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=175761) - MS Knowledge Base.

I might have this wrong, but a Dynamic Volume can shrink and grow as required. You can also have a single volume spanning more than one physical drive. So if you run out of space, you just add another drive and it just becomes an extension of the original drive volume.

[Edit #2]I see from your edit that your book has explained this as well.

SolMiester
24-05-2006, 06:03 PM
Dont panic, u r fine! :thumbs:

Billy T
24-05-2006, 06:04 PM
Does the drive show under Disk Management as Basic or Dynamic now?
Partition/Basic not volume or dynamic Jen. Does that sound better?

So much to learn, so many people to kill, dunno how I'm ever going to get to the end of my list.

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

Solmeister: Where were you when I needed you? :D Thanks for your input! Although it is following the fact, it makes me feel much more comfortable. I've never had to format anything but a floppy before.

Speedy Gonzales
24-05-2006, 06:05 PM
Urk.................maybe I started celebrating too soon. :eek:

What is a dynamic volume, and why isn't it a good idea Jen?

Edit: From Windows 2000 Secrets I see that a dynamic drive can't be accessed by any other OS but W2K (and no doubt XP). That shouldn't be a problem because I want to pull files off my W98 box over the network, but I don't need the reverse access.

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

Info here (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;309044&sd=tech)