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Windows unable to complete format USB HDD

March 12, 2011 at 05:41:15
Specs: Windows 7

I recently got a virus on my external that made me unable to open any files on it. Through searching through the start menu I've finally managed to extract all my files and put them on another external and now want to format my external so that I can move everything back and it'll all be back to normal.

I tried to format it though and it said "Windows was unable to complete the format" as soon as I pressed ok. My hard drive in My Computer then changed to an NTFS file. What does this mean?

I really need to be able to format it asap so any help would be greatly appreciated!


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#1
March 12, 2011 at 06:51:45

I think you are mistaken. Most likely your internal hard drive was ALREADY formatted using NTFS, which is the default file type in Windows 7.

If I am reading your post wrong, the response is still the same. Unless you use the external hard drive on Win98 or older or possibly on non-Windows systems there is no good reason to use FAT32 on a large hard drive. NTFS is OK to use.


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#2
March 12, 2011 at 07:45:13

"....want to format my external so that I can move everything back and it'll all be back to normal.

I tried to format it though and it said "Windows was unable to complete the format" as soon as I pressed ok."
......

The external hard drive must be plugged into a USB port that can actually supply 500ma of current

Troubleshooting USB device problems including for flash drives, external drives, memory cards.
See Response 1:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

Check that out first.
......

Rarely, not all the ports on the back of a desktop case may be able to supply 500ma each.

If you have a desktop computer, Note that I answered a Topic on this site where a guy had an external drive, which does require the full 500ma, connected to a port on the back of a desktop case - it would not work properly when a webcam was in the port next to it, but it worked fine when the webcam was unplugged. Ports on the back of a desktop case often have two ports connected to the same USB controller module that are ports one above the other - you could try connecting the cable to one of those and leaving the other un-used.
........................................................

If you have looked at that info and you are SURE the external drive is plugged into a proper USB port and you STILL get an error message when you try to format it....

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
http://www.computing.net/windows95/...

E.g.
Seagate's SeaTools will test any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.
http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.j...

The Windows version of SeaTools can be used to test a hard drive when it's in an external enclosure. (The bootable Dos versions of SeaTools cannot do that.)

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.
.........

If the hard drive itself tests okay.....

if you STILL get an error message when you try to format it....

your problem was probably caused by you NOT clicking on the Safely Remove Hardware icon in your Taskbar and STOPping accessing the drive BEFORE you unplugged the drive while Windows was running.
There are several programs that you could try that will probably fix your problem.

Specifically, links to some programs that can repair the data damage are here -
see response 2:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...


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#3
March 12, 2011 at 12:51:57

I think Voldemort could cast a spell on it. :)

I'd delete the partition just to be sure the virus in gone and I'd do it with a live linux cd.

Never trust a virus.

"The era of big government is over," said Clinton 1996


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#4
March 13, 2011 at 05:10:56

Thanks guys, I'm such a noob that i didn't really understand any of your replies, but i greatly appreciate that you took the time out of your day to reply! I unplugged it and plugged it back in and it asked if i wanted to "scan and fix it" before using it, which I did, and then it let me format it!! So all is good now :D Thanks again, u guys rock!

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#5
March 13, 2011 at 10:39:24

So you did cast a spell?

"The era of big government is over," said Clinton 1996


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#6
March 13, 2011 at 10:41:01

Shame when three good helpers spend all that time on a simple deal like unplug and let windows fix it.

Darn!!!

"The era of big government is over," said Clinton 1996


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#7
March 13, 2011 at 14:59:47

"Shame when three good helpers spend all that time on a simple deal like unplug and let windows fix it."

My info says nothing like that.

The most common reasons people have problems with external hard drives, assuming they haven't damaged it, is either
- they have it plugged into a port that can't supply enough current or can't work with the drive for some other reason (e.g.it's plugged into an external hub), or there's some connection problem (damaged port or plug or cable),
- or they have damaged data on the drive themselves by NOT clicking on the Safely Remove Hardware icon in your Taskbar and STOPping accessing the drive BEFORE they unplugged the drive while Windows was running, which can usually be fixed with certain programs.


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