Unknown file system on internal laptop HDD

By lincolnparkjok ยท 10 replies
Feb 1, 2011
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  1. Hello all. I have a somewhat difficult dilemma I need help on. I am troubleshooting a Dell Inspiron 9300 that was booting into a password authentication where all passwords were not being recognized. But that's not the problem. When I attempted to re-format the 60GB Western Digital internal IDE HDD with the Windows installer disk, it didn't show any hard drives to install to. When checking the BIOS it showed no hard drives either. ??? I then took the hard drive out of the laptop and connected it to my HP desktop computer (running same version of Windows, btw) using a 2.5" to 3.5" IDE adapter and had it on its own IDE channel. The drive was not recognized in either Wndows Explorer OR Disk Management. It IS showing in Device Manager. On the "Volumes" tab, when I hit "Populate" it comes back with "Unkown file system". Is there any workaround to reformat this drive or make it usable? Or is it just dead? Any help is appreciated.

  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,128   +982

    delete the partition(s), define new one(s) and then format

    the command prompt FORMAT /? will explain how
  3. lincolnparkjok

    lincolnparkjok TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the reply. But if the hard disk will not show in either Disk Management or Explorer, how can I access it to delete the partition? I could try the MAP command in the recovery console, but do you think will it appear there?
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Look again in Disk Management in the lower pane at its display of physical disks. Does the ext drive appear as a Disk #? (if not sure, unplug/replug the drive and you should see a Disk # disappear/reappear as you do so)

    You want to rt click the Disk # and select Format (or it might say "Initialize Disk", i forget)
  5. lincolnparkjok

    lincolnparkjok TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That's just the problem...it isn't showing AT ALL in disk management. It IS showing in device managdr as a hard disk, drivers loaded ok, but the volume is an unknown file format.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,128   +982

    if it sees the volume, then that's sufficent.

    Unknown Filesystem is an attribute OF THE PARTITION, not the volume
  7. lincolnparkjok

    lincolnparkjok TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK. Think I'm following you. Keep in mind that when I say it is not showing in disk management, that is when it is connected via adapter to my desktop pc. When it is actually IN the laptop, it is not recognized in the BIOS at all. And an XP setup disk doesn't recognize it either. ???
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,128   +982

    CORRECT! The BIOS needs specific info; not finding it, it becomes unknown.
    right - - attack it there!
  9. lincolnparkjok

    lincolnparkjok TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I love the fact you're helping me..thank you again. and I apologize for sounding like a *****...but if I can't see it in disk management at all, what can I do??
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,128   +982

    hmm; if ANYTHING shows up when connected via adapter to your desktop pc,
    then attack it.

    I think you'll at least get a volume and the partition shown in the Disk Mgr will be "unknown"

    get a screenshot and post it please - -
  11. lincolnparkjok

    lincolnparkjok TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your time and everything. But when I attempted to once again connect the laptop's hard drive to my PC via adapter, now nothing will come up. In device manager, disk management or windows explorer. I'm just going to tell my friend that he needs a new hard drive.
    Thanks again,

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