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Windows 7: "Windows was unable to complete the format." Help!


12 Mar 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 
"Windows was unable to complete the format." Help!

Hello. I'm trying to format one of my two hard drives in NTFS with Windows 7 64-bit, but I receive the error message:
Code:
 
Windows was unable to complete the format.
I installed a new 1TB SATA drive yesterday along with a 120GB HDD (IDE) which I already had. After installing Windows 7 on the new 1TB and backing up all of my AppData and documents from my original 120GB, I tried to reformat the old disk and received this error.

Since the installation of Windows 7 on the 1TB, I also changed the drive letters of both disks and did so in both of the installed operating systems. They do not match each other. This is what I fear may be the cause of the problem.

On a side note, I ran "chkdsk" in the cmd and received:
Code:
 
Access Denied as you do not have suffficient privileges.
You have to invoke this utility running in elevated mode.
I'm guessing this means I have to run the cmd in an administator mode somehow? My account is an administrator, but I don't know how to run the cmd this way, so could someone explain to me how to do this?

Anyway if anyone knows how I can fix this, I'd really appreciate some help! Thanks.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

12 Mar 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Tri-Boot
 
 

Hi,

To run chkdsk as an administrator do the following:

1. Click Start Orb, type cmd in the search box.
2. Right-click on cmd, and choose "Run as adminstrator", then hit enter.
3. Now type chkdsk /f, and hit enter.

Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2011   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


12 Mar 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Golden View Post
Hi,

To run chkdsk as an administrator do the following:

1. Click Start Orb, type cmd in the search box.
2. Right-click on cmd, and choose "Run as adminstrator", then hit enter.
3. Now type chkdsk /f, and hit enter.

Regards,
Golden
Awesome, thanks. Not sure if I'll need to use it yet, but good to know.

As for my disk management, here's a screenshot of the whole window:

"Windows was unable to complete the format." Help!-disk-management.jpg

And here's what it looks like when I attempt to format the disk:

"Windows was unable to complete the format." Help!-format-attempt.jpg

As you can see, there isn't actually an option to format the 120GB from my disk management window. The only way I've attempted to format the disk is straight from explorer.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Mar 2011   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

Your Disk Management screenshot is showing you may be Dual booting, & have NO C: HD drive.
Therefore your D: is the boot drive & can not be formated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Mar 2011   #6
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello.


You will need to move the data cable of the 1TB "Disk 1" to the #1 SATA port of the motherboard and set it as the second boot device after the CD/DVD drive and do the 3 separate startup repairs with the restarts discussed in this tutorial at the link below to create the "System" boot files to that Windows partition then the older HDD can be formatted.


Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times

How to Run a Startup Repair in Windows 7



Be sure to post back with any further questions you may have and to keep us informed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Mar 2011   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

Because you installed to new HD with old HD plugged in, it configured a Dual Boot placing the System files on the old HD. You need to recover the boot files into the new install by running Repairs with the old HD unplugged.

Once you swap the 1tb to DISK0, set as first HD to boot in BIOS setup then run 3 startup repairs from DVD/Repair CD until it starts on its own, you can plug back in the smaller HD as DISK1 to wipe it with Diskpart Clean All command: Disk - Clean and Clean All with Diskpart Command
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2011   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult x64 - SP1/ Windows 8 Pro x64
 
 

Agree with theog, Bare Foot Kid and gregrocker.

Your boot files are on the old 120GB drive, Windows 7 won't let you format it because then your computer would not boot.
In your Disk Mangement snip, Disc0, where it says: "Healthy (System, Active, Primary partition)" the 'System' indicates where your boot files are, in this case the 120GB drive.

Follow the advice in the above posts and you will be able to boot your new OS and format the old drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2011   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Thanks guys for all your helpful replies. I got really busy and ended up forgetting about this thread. I went back to another solution I had found earlier, though, and when I tried it everything worked perfectly. Here's the link:

Switching my Windows 7 Boot Disk from D to C with BCDBoot rather than BCDEdit - Scott Hanselman

I think that was a lot easier that unplugging any of my HDDs or running disk repairs and stuff. Thanks again! haha
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2011   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Yes , much quicker - commands are the way to go.

You might still want to set the HD containing windows ( Disk1 ) as first in bios order - saves bios checking the other hd first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 "Windows was unable to complete the format." Help!




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