initialize USB disk

Discussion in 'Windows Vista General Discussion' started by The Clarks, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. The Clarks

    The Clarks Guest

    Hi, I have Vista and I have a hard drive that I had for my personal stuff
    from XP, my son installed it into my new PC then I got the drive
    disconnected so as not to void the warranty when the technician from Acer
    came to fix a problem I was having. I decided to get a casing for the drive
    and use it as a USB device but can't initialise the disk.
    I go to control panel/admin. tools/computer management/disk management. My
    disk shows but I don't know how to initalize from there. When I right click
    I get a help message only and not the options I get when I right click my
    other drives.
    The guy who sold me the casing installed the drive for me and I'm sure it is
    OK as it shows that the disk is there.
    It doesn't show when I look in the computer.
    Thanks, I hope I have explained my problem properly
    The Clarks, Aug 11, 2008
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  2. You were using this drive, and you have data on it? In that case you do
    not have to initialise it. That's really only necessary before it's been

    Try assigning it a drive letter, and at worst you can try the command line
    version of the disk management utility. Open a command prompt and type
    "diskpart", and then work through the commands. Basically the process is
    to list the disks, select the disk you want, list the partitions, select the
    partition you want, assign it a drive letter. In diskpart, the ? key will
    get you the help text. You don't have to list the items if you know
    exactly what they are, but it helps to be sure.

    The syntax is like this:

    List disk
    Select disk 2
    List partition
    Select partition 1

    and at this point, you should be able to see the drive with a letter in My
    Computer and Explorer.

    Patrick Keenan, Aug 11, 2008
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  3. The Clarks

    Opinicus Guest

    Boy that sure jogged memories. It's like working through an old "Adventure"
    Opinicus, Aug 11, 2008
  4. The Clarks

    oldun Guest

    When I bought a brand new drive I could not format it as it was no
    initialized. Nowhere in Vista could I find out how this is done

    On another forum I found the answer

    Under Control Panel/Disk Management I found the new hard drive t
    appear but in black, not like the other drives

    Next to the name was a small red cross. Right clicking the red cros
    allowed me to initialize it

    Why is it so hard to do this in Vista and why is there no help for thi
    oldun, Aug 15, 2008
  5. In Windows the word is Format.

    Your BIOS might not allow larger file systems - the number 130 "g" (you
    meant GB, right?) rings a bell in my brain.

    If your computer is a 5 or 6 years old and running Windows Me, the BIOS
    might be the reason.
    Gene E. Bloch, Nov 17, 2009
  6. The Clarks

    Roy Smith Guest

    Right click on My Computer, either on your desktop (if present) or in
    the Start menu. In the pop-up menu click on Manage. On the left side
    of the Computer Management window click on Disk Management. Now
    right-click on the entry for your USB drive and select delete partition.
    Finally try to create the partition again.
    Roy Smith, Nov 17, 2009
  7. The question should've been "how can I reformat the drive...", and if your
    BIOS doesn't support large partitions, the answer is "You can't". Unless
    you upgrade your BIOS...

    If your BIOS supports large drives, then I agree with Roy Smith.

    I think 2006 is recent enough that your hardware (BIOS) should be OK.

    OTOH, maybe there's something wrong with either the hard drive or the USB
    enclosure or adapter that you are using. It happens :-(

    You are formatting the drive as FAT32 or NTFS, correct?
    Gene E. Bloch, Nov 17, 2009
  8. The 130GB sounds like the 24bit addressing limit that used to be a
    problem back around 2001 when the first WD 160GB drives arrived. XP
    SP1 should have taken care of that limit, as should a BIOS from 2006.
    However, as suggested the drive enclosure may be the problem. See for an
    example much like this one, where the solution was to connect the
    drive directly and partition / format it, then put it back in the
    enclosure. I'm not sure how comfortable I would be that it wouldn't
    have problems when filled to over 130GB, however...


    Arthur: All my life I've had this strange feeling that there's
    something big and sinister going on in the world.
    Slartibartfast: No, that's perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the
    universe gets that.
    Zaphod Beeblebrox, Nov 17, 2009
  9. Thanks for the corroboration - I wasn't all that sure about the 130 GB

    And yes, as your link seems to imply, the enclosure itself might have a
    controller that won't work over 137 GB (OK, I was off by 7 GB!).

    I have no idea why the OP thinks that the boot sector prevents Windows from
    formatting the drive to a new capacity. Perhaps he doesn't think that
    rewriting the boot sector is part of formatting...

    If Roy Smith's idea doesn't work for the OP, that does tend to implicate
    the BIOS in the computer or the controller in the enclosure (or even the
    drive itself).
    Gene E. Bloch, Nov 18, 2009
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