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Windows 7: diskpart's "clean all" hangs, no signs of HD activity

12 Jun 2012   #1

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
diskpart's "clean all" hangs, no signs of HD activity

I am following the instructions at Disk - Clean and Clean All with Diskpart Command to erase my entire HD before sending my laptop somewhere. In particular, I am issuing the diskpart command from a "command prompt at boot". I only have one HD on the laptop, Disk 0, and I selected it before "clean all". The above webpage says it takes approximately 1 hour per 300GB, and I have 300GB but it is still not done after 2 hours. However, I also note that the HD LED is not showing any activity.

Has the process hung due to the fact that I am cleaning the same HD that I am operating from? Is it advisable to forcibly shut the machine down, then haul the HD out into an external enclosure so that I can use another computer to look/see what was erased? Will it hurt the HD to interrupt such a (possibly hung) erasing procedure?

I am running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit on a Toshiba Satellite Pro S750-008 (a.k.a. PSSERC-00800)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2012   #2

XP / Win7 x64 Pro

From what I'm reading, you are booted into Windows from your main hard drive and are trying to format this main drive. You can't do that. In those instructions, the drive to be formatted must not be the main drive you're using to boot into Windows to run that command. It must be a secondary drive. Windows can't format a drive it's currently using. You'll need to boot from a Windows 7 installation or repair disc and when the language screen comes up hit Shift + F10 to launch a command prompt. From there, you'll be able to perform the diskpart commands on your main hard drive.

Just to make sure you are aware, this will erase everything on the disk. You will no longer have a Windows 7 installation on it after issuing the clean command. Is this what you want?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2012   #3
Microsoft MVP


Only Wile E. Coyote can erase himself.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jun 2012   #4

Windows 7 Pro 64bit

Thanks, FliGi7. Erasing the HD is ineed what I want. I am sending it back to the manufacturer, and it takes them mere minutes to re-image the HD.

Here is where I strayed from the beaten path. In the link in my original post, I followed the link for "command prompt at boot". From there, I followed the link for Advanced Boot Options. From those combinations of links, it seemed that it was possible to erase the HD from which the system booted. I couldn't fathom why, but I assumed that it was because command prompt at boot was self-contained in memory.

From the feedback that I've gotten on this, however, I am obviously wrong. That probably applies to when you get command prompt at boot from a repair disc. For Toshiba laptops, we are instructed to make a set of recovery discs rather than a repair disc. Fortunately, when I boot off the first disc, I get the option of going to system recovery options, and from there, I found my way to the system prompt at boot. So far, the erase-all seems to be proceeding sanely, judging only from the fact that the HD LED is on continuously.

Thanks for getting me back on track!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 diskpart's "clean all" hangs, no signs of HD activity

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