Vista Backup won't recognize external WD hard drive

Discussion in 'Windows Vista Hardware' started by Nevet, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. Nevet

    Nevet Guest

    Greetings Vista gurus,

    I just bought a new Western Digital "Passport" external (USB) portable hard
    drive. The drive is working fine, I can see it in Windows Explorer and
    manually copy files to & from it. But when I try to use Windows Backup (from
    Vista's Backup & Restore Center), I immediately get an error message that the
    backup target drive failed: "The backup disk has a corrupted file system.
    Fix it using the disk error checking tool, or choose a different backup
    location." Western Digital tech support says that their hard drive is
    obviously okay, since I can read from and write to it, and they do not
    support Windows software.

    Two questions....

    (1) Why would Backup claim a corrupted file system when Vista can see, read,
    and write to the same file system with other applications?

    (2) What is "the disk error checking tool," where do I find it, and would
    that help me?

    Thanks much for any pointers or suggestions!

    Nevet, Jul 9, 2007
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  2. If you do not have too much information already on your external drive I
    would copy it elsewhere. Then I would delete the drives partition and create
    a new partition on the external hard drive. I would create this as a NTFS
    partition which has more security and built in recovery than a fat32

    Then, before I tried to store anything on the drive I would run an error
    check on the drive.

    From an elevated command prompt type chkdsk XXX: /f (where XXX is the drive
    letter of your external drive).



    Richard Urban
    Microsoft MVP Windows Shell/User
    (For email, remove the obvious from my address)
    Richard Urban, Jul 9, 2007
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  3. Nevet

    Nevet Guest

    Thanks, Richard. I ran chkdsk /f and it reported no problems on the (FAT32)
    drive. In fact, the drive seems fine for all applications except for Windows

    Can anybody recommend a third-party backup & restore application that works
    with Vista? Or any other ideas as to why Windows Backup doesn't like my
    external drive?

    Nevet, Jul 10, 2007
  4. You are having a problem because the drive is formatted as fat32. Remember,
    I said to format as NTFS. Fat32 has a file size limitation of 4 gig - max. A
    full system backup is going to exceed this, and will therefore fail.

    If you format as NTFS you will have no such limitations.



    Richard Urban
    Microsoft MVP Windows Shell/User
    (For email, remove the obvious from my address)
    Richard Urban, Jul 10, 2007
  5. Nevet

    Nevet Guest

    Thanks, Richard. I tried that, still no cigar..... I moved my files off the
    hard drive, deleted the FAT32 partition, created a new NTFS partition and
    formatted it. CHKDSK reports no problem. Still, Backup fails immediately:
    "The backup target drive F:\ failed with the following error: The backup
    location could not be found or is not valid." I've removed my McAfee
    firewall and anti-virus and rebooted, to no avail.

    Any other ideas?

    Nevet, Jul 10, 2007
  6. Nevet

    R. C. White Guest

    Hi, Nevet.

    Have you found and used Disk Management? Ever since Windows 2000, DM has
    been the tool to use for creating, deleting, formatting and otherwise
    managing hard drives (plus optical drives, USB thumb drives, etc.).

    To find it, you can right-click Computer, then Manage, then Disk Management.
    (But I prefer to Run diskmgmt.msc; I use this so often that it's on my Quick

    R. C. White, CPA
    San Marcos, TX

    Microsoft Windows MVP
    (Running Windows Live Mail beta in Vista Ultimate x64)
    R. C. White, Jul 10, 2007
  7. Nevet

    Nevet Guest


    Yes, I used Disk Management to create and format the hard drive.

    To reiterate, the hard drive itself is fine. I can read and write to it
    (now using an NTFS partition) from Windows Explorer and other applications.
    My only problem is using Windows Backup in Vista, which *immediately* fails,
    with an error message that "the backup location cannot be found or is not
    Nevet, Jul 10, 2007
  8. Nevet

    Jo Guest

    I could be wrong, but I think Windows Backup has some problems of its own.
    I'm trying out the Windows Live One Care, which has a backup program very
    similar to the Vista backup program (I expect using some of the same code),
    and I have lots of problems with the program not recognizing DVD disks that
    it made and verified. It will then say the disk isn't in the drive or isn't
    a valid backup disk. Of course, this is a slightly different type of error,
    but it is possible your drive is fine but the backup program is just not
    working correctly.
    Jo, Jul 11, 2007
  9. Nevet

    Nevet Guest

    Thank you, Jo! That sounds right. I assumed all along that the problem was
    with Vista Backup, since the disk is recognized and works fine with other
    applications. Can any Microsoft insiders confirm this, or provide a
    workaround or patch?

    Alternately, can anybody recommend an inexpensive Vista-compatible
    third-party backup utility? I would like to be able to specify which files
    and folders to back up (something I couldn't figure out how to do with
    Windows Backup), including system and application configuration information
    (Registry, Start menu, Favorites, etc.), and be able to have both manual
    (forced) backups and automatic (timed) ones, with only incremental file
    changes copied each time. Is there anything out there that fits the bill?

    Thanks, --Nevet
    Nevet, Jul 11, 2007
  10. Hi,
    I have the same problem. If anyone can help, it would be greatly appreciated.

    EggHeadCafe - .NET Developer Portal of Choice
    Karen Spesard, Aug 22, 2007
  11. Nevet

    Cal Bear '66 Guest

    This solution has worked for some people with problematic USB devices:

    Locate the file INFCACHE.1 in C:\Windows\inf

    Right click on the INFCACHE.1 file, select Properties >Security > Edit, and give
    your account full control.

    Delete INFCACHE.1, or rename it to INFCACHE.1.BAK or temporarily move to your


    I Bleed Blue and Gold

    in message news:...
    Cal Bear '66, Aug 22, 2007
  12. Nevet

    vchristie Guest

    Hello everyone,

    I too have the WD external hard drive and have had error messages. Mine says
    that it's not formatted for NTFS. I have no idea how to format it. I read all
    of the posts I could find and it all sounds greek to me. I want to do a
    complete backup for my computer but can't seem to get this vista backup to
    work for me.

    Can someone please help me in dummy English please?

    Thanks ever so much!
    vchristie, Sep 12, 2007
  13. Right click the drive in "Computer" select "Format" and then "NTFS" when
    Gary G. Little, Sep 12, 2007
  14. Nevet

    winuser Guest

    Here is what worked for me:

    - In my computer, right-click on your wd hard drive
    - select "properties"
    - go to "hardware"
    - click on the hard drive that corresponds to your wd passport (most
    likely wdc... or wd...),
    - click "properties"
    - click "change settings", confirm that you want to change them,
    - go to "policies" tab, and select "optimize for performance"
    - click "ok"
    - restart if needed.

    This enables cashing that is used by backup.

    Hope it works for you.
    winuser, Nov 25, 2009
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