Unable to format USB connected harddrive

By uglytobone ยท 7 replies
Sep 1, 2005
  1. My system:
    XP Home w/service pack 2
    1gig ram
    DFI Infinity II motherboard with USB 2.0

    I got a good deal on a brand new Seagate 160gig harddrive ($25) and attached it to my computer as a USB mass storage device using a USB to ATA (PCI?) adapter which has its own power supply connection.

    2 Questions:

    (1) When I try to format the drive with the administrative tools it goes thru the whole format process and then at the end I get the message "Windows is unable to format" or something similar.

    The drive shows up as healthy with a 149gig partition in admin tools, and when I click on the drive icon in "My computer" I get the message that the drive is unformatted and asks to format.

    Seems this should work. Maybe missing some key update or software. I scoured the internet for solutions but have been unable to find any.

    (2) Right now the drive is just sitting on my desk next to the monitor. Do I need any heat disipation or dust containment?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    On the desktop, rightclick on My Computer, select Manage, then under Storage select either Disk Management or Removable Storage, wherever that USB-drive is visible.
    Rightclick that drive. You need to PARTITION that drive first, before you can FORMAT it.
    The options for that should be visible on the popup.
  3. uglytobone

    uglytobone TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I did this. I even tried partitioning into 2 half-sized partitions, but this did not work either.
  4. patio

    patio TS Guru Posts: 482

    Disconnect all devices on IDE 2...remove the drive from the enclosure and hook it up on IDE2 by itself, re-boot and follow RBS's instructions.
    Then re-install it to the USB enclosure.

    patio. :cool:
  5. uglytobone

    uglytobone TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That sounds like it should work. I will try it.

    Can anyone respond to my second question?
  6. patio

    patio TS Guru Posts: 482

    As far as heat and dust i don't leave drives out of the machine too long...but it shouldn't do any harm. I keep mine raised on a small wood block if it's going to be out more than a day or so...raising it a little promotes some airflow.

    patio. :cool:
  7. stepfour

    stepfour TS Rookie

    HDD format via USB


    I hope im not too late to help you!
    I also had this same problem.
    a customer bought a laptop hdd and installed
    it in an external case. he came back and said that it did not work.
    I tried partitioning and formatting it but just before completing the format
    it showed a message that it could not complete the format.

    However the solution was....
    I connected the laptop HDD into a laptop, booted from my bootdisk
    and used fdisk to partion it and formated it.
    USB seems to be unable to write bootsectors or FAT's.

    So all you should do is...
    pop your HDD into your pc (not on the usb)
    boot from a bootdisk
    partition using fdisk
    format the bastard!

    Hope this helps...
  8. uglytobone

    uglytobone TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Patio's advice worked. Thanks anyway.:)
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