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Windows 7: Format hard disk prompt

26 Jul 2009   #1

Windows 7
Format hard disk prompt

I have an external harddisk that is encrypted using TrueCrypt. Each time I plug it in Windows prompts me to format the disk because it doesn't have any recognizable file system. Vista didn't use to do this. I suppose it's because of the UAC changes and a user couldn't normally do this in Vista.

It is really annoying. Does anyone know how to disable this prompt in Win7?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jul 2009   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64

Hi degeberg and welcome to Se7en Forums

Do you have TrueCrypt installed on Vista? If so, you might need to also install it in W7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jul 2009   #3

Windows 7

Yeah, I have TrueCrypt installed, but when plugging in the HDD using USB I get a prompt saying "You need to format the disk in drive F: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?"

I obviously do not want to format it, but W7 keeps bugging me with that question each time I plug it in. After I plug it in I just open TrueCrypt and mount it on a separate drive letter. W7 doesn't know it's a TrueCrypt volume, but think it's a new disk so it asks if I want to format it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Aug 2009   #4

Windows 7 RC

I've got the same problem, and would appreciate an answer if anyone knows. I have created a partition on my external USB drive, and encrypted it (as NTFS). Every time I connect the drive, windows wants to format it. One miss-key and I blow away my truecrypt files.
I read that creating a partition and encrypting was supposed to stop this problem, maybe is it just a bug with TC on Windows 7?
I'm using TrueCrypt 6.2a and Win 7 RC 7100.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2009   #5

Win 7 Ult SP1/Win 10 Pro (all x64)

Perhaps turn off AutoPlay? Look that up in Start/Help & Support. Windows can't read that drive, that's why it's querying it every time but it may stop if Autoplay turned off, can't guarantee that though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Aug 2009   #6

Windows 7 RC

Thanks for the quick reply. I tried it, but it didn't help.
But I've also now tried the drive on an XP machine with the same issue. So either its my drive (maxtor mini) or this problem exists with truecrypt partition encryption as well as device encryption. I've seen a suggestion to put a small ext3 partition at the start of the drive, I'll try that otherwise I'll go back to using a file container.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Aug 2009   #7

Windows 7

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by thomas85 View Post
I read that creating a partition and encrypting was supposed to stop this problem, maybe is it just a bug with TC on Windows 7?
It's not a bug per se. It is an unformatted disk as far as Windows is concerned. It isn't really doing anything wrong. One of the features of TrueCrypt is plausible deniability. It's not possible to identify a TrueCrypt volume unless you 1) know it's a TC volume, and 2) you know the password.

Really, I just want Windows to shut up because I know it's a TrueCrypt volume.

The reason why you wouldn't get this prompt in Vista is because you by default don't have permission to format partitions. In W7 they "lowered" the UAC and if you turn off UAC in Vista you'll see the same message. Because XP has no UAC, you'll see it in XP as well.

Anyway, I found a solution. If you go to "Computer Management" > "Disk Management" and remove the drive letter it won't bug you with that formatting prompt each time you plug in the hard disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Oct 2010   #8

Win7 Pro x64

This is an old thread, but maybe this helps someone. It looks like this guy figured it out:
Windows 7 – disabling "you need to format the disk…" pop-up window « PZolee's blog
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jan 2011   #9

Operating System

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Ex_Brit View Post
Perhaps turn off AutoPlay? Look that up in Start/Help & Support. Windows can't read that drive, that's why it's querying it every time but it may stop if Autoplay turned off, can't guarantee that though.
I've tinkered with AutoPlay and other things (such as app's,) but found that the #1 factor that causes the disappearance/reappearence of drives (or, moreover, causing the "Drive L:\ must be formatted before you can use it. Do you want to format drive L:\ now?" error is the location the drive or flash (or whatever the media) is inserted into on the USB Mass Storage Device.

I use a simple, no-frills, Kensington Docking Station (sd120 with Ethernet,) with a mere 4 USB 2.0 ports on the back, and, when I rarely move my external hard drives around, without fail, I get that problem.

After reading an article (wish I could locate it,) where an old timer who knew his hardware fundamentals swore up & down USB isn't as "plug & play" as we like to think stated as such... I took notice and started to believe what he said.

Try hooking up what you need to, or where it last worked best, if you could, disable TrueCrypt (it's been a while... disable it as a Startup Entry if it is one ((?)),) and shut down.

Restart to force hardware detection.

Leave it all as it is.

Should it cause errors, run an elevated CMD and use the "sfc /scannow" command to verify integrity violations or lack thereof.

Reset policies if necessary.

Still leaving hardware as is, power-down (making sure all USB M-F connections stay put, but power is off,) and let it cool... then power back up.

Eventually, it'll whittle itself down and hopefully solve the problem; then you can go back to TrueCrypt. I hope this helps. I go through this error from time to time and it's a PAIN.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Mar 2011   #10

windows 7 Professional 32bit


This is probably too late but in my environment windows doesn't say anything when TC volume is made on the entire hard drive (not in a partition). I noticed this because I have several TC-encrypted drives and one of them has TC volume on the entire drive and another one has in a partition - this latter one lets windows show the formatting warning, but the former one does not. I guess this is because windows warns when it detects unformatted partition but this doesn't happen to a drive without partitions (I don't know if this is true, just my guess).

I don't know if this is true in all the cases but hope it helps.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Format hard disk prompt

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