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Windows 7: Formatting problem on secondary drive.

27 Feb 2010   #1
mawmon

Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate
 
 
Formatting problem on secondary drive.

First off, hello all.
Long time reader; first time poster.

My issue is this.
I have a pair of 320Gb Hdds running in raid acting as my system drive and a third drive 500Gb acting as a data storrage drive.

I have recently installed Win7 ultimate 64 bit and want to format the 500Gb drive.
Unfortunatley if I try to do this from "My Computer" I get a dialog stating," windows was unable to complete the format".

If I try to format it through device managment I get a dialog stating" windows cannot format the system partition on this disk".

Any light you can shed on this would be greatly appreciated!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

27 Feb 2010   #2
WindowsStar

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
 
 

Somehow you have some part of the system or an application on your 500Gb drive telling the OS it is not safe to format. Page file? Backup Software Accessing it? Anti-Virus software? etc. etc. Double check all your services too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2010   #3
OldBloke

Windows 7
 
 

Most likely the BIOS is booting the 500GB drive first, which then boots the OS on the RAID pair.

It might be possible to fix that.
I know it's possible in non RAID systems, as I've done it successfully. First you change the boot order in BIOS (or actually remove the non OS disk to be sure) which makes it temporarily unbootable, then run a boot repair using the Windows installer DVD).
That puts the correct MBR and boot files on the same disk as the main Operating System.
I'm not sure that same repair method is possible with raid though. It could be risky to even try.

If you look in Disk Management, how does it describe the 500GB drive? (such as system / boot / page file / etc)

For some weird historical reason, Windows disk management calls the disk which first gets booted "System" and the drive with the OS (such as your Windows folder) on it is called "Boot".

It might be easier to just delete all the unwanted files from your 500GB disk, rather than attempting to change your current booting method so you can reformat the drive.

!!! I must add - if you delete files on the 500GB drive, do not delete the file in its root called "bootmgr" or the folder called "boot".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


27 Feb 2010   #4
mawmon

Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate
 
 

Thanks for the responses!

Umm.......question though OldBloke.
What would happen if I were to delete the boot folder?

Is it as obvious as I think it is and is it possible to retroactively fix it?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2010   #5
OldBloke

Windows 7
 
 

It seems very likely that your system is booting from that 500 GB drive. If so, the booting procedure depends upon info in the "boot" folder, to tell it to move on to starting the OS in your raid disks. Without it, your system won't boot.

Yes, if that folder got deleted, it should be possible to fix it, by running a boot repair, which you do by booting the Windows DVD - but I am not so confident about how good the Windows DVD is at doing that repair when your system is on raid.

I have no experience of raid myself (just lots of experience with fixing non-raid booting problems)
but I have read enough tales of misery in forums to know raid systems are more complicated and harder to fix when they go wrong.
That's why I emphasize - if it ain't broke, don't mess with it

Unless you have major reasons for needing to format that 500GB disk, I'd suggest you would do better to just clean it out by deleting unneeded files and directories.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2010   #6
Zomby88

Windows 7 Ultimate 64Bit
 
 

Did it install the hidden partition there ?

If all else fails format it on another system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2010   #7
OldBloke

Windows 7
 
 

Zomby88 writes:
"If all else fails format it on another system."

That's dangerous advice.
Sure it's possible to do it by brute force, such as booting a Linux CD with gparted, which will be willing to format it -- but that could make his system unbootable.

We don't know that for sure, because mawmon didn't answer my question about how the 500 GB disk is described in Windows Disk Management, such as "System" and/or "Pagefile" etc.

As he won't give us enough information, it's better to assume Windows is refusing to format it for a good reason.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2010   #8
Zomby88

Windows 7 Ultimate 64Bit
 
 

Possibly, but he did say he wanted to format it. You could give this a try. Disconnect that drive and see if the system boots.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2010   #9
CyberZeus

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 clean install
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Zomby88 View Post
Possibly, but he did say he wanted to format it. You could give this a try. Disconnect that drive and see if the system boots.
I agree. Disconnect the 500GB HD and see if OS boots up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2010   #10
OldBloke

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Zomby88 View Post
Possibly, but he did say he wanted to format it. You could give this a try. Disconnect that drive and see if the system boots.
that's a great idea
simple proof
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Formatting problem on secondary drive.




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