IDE NTFS Hard Drive Won't Format - PLEASE HELP!!!!

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Tony Bensley, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. 1 Aug 11, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
    Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    I have a Dell Dimension Desktop PC with Windows XP, which I've been informed needs to be out of our house in 14 days - DON'T ASK! ;)

    This PC has been housing 2 NTFS Formatted IDE Hard Drives, one 120 GB, and the other is 320 GB, which I was using for extra space.

    Awhile back, I completely erased the higher capacity 320 GB hard drive, and successfully Formatted that hard drive. Since this PC is so ancient that booting from a USB stick is not possible, in order to Format the smaller hard drive, I installed Windows XP on the higher capacity hard drive, using a generic name, as actual identification would be defeating my purpose in erasing everything, at least to some reasonable extent.

    Here's where it became a frustrating exercise. After all my previous effort, the 120 GB NTFS hard drive refuses to format. I've tried Quick Format and Normal Format - NOTHING! Then, I opened up the hood and switched hard drives in case there was some problem with one of the hard drive connectors. I even switched the Master / Slave settings - STILL NOTHING!!

    Can anyone explain to me why I'm having such a hard time Formatting (Erasing) an NTFS hard drive that for all intents and purposes, appears to be fully functional? Just this afternoon, I was able to delete files from this hard drive, and am able to access its Windows XP OS. The bottom line is this is a task I desperately need to get done, but I have zero funds to out source!

    PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(
     
  2. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Tony - Are you sure you are not booting from the 120GB drive?
     
  3. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Positive, Clint. I only did a barebones XP installation on the 320 GB hard drive, from where I repeatedly attempted, and failed to Format the 120 GB hard drive.

    At the moment, I'm attempting to get around my problem by doing a clean XP install, which would also reformat my 120 GB drive, although it's a bit of a PITA! That it's now at the "Installing Windows" stage is indicative that the hard drive reformatting was successful, at least! Weird that I was unable to do it the other way, but so it goes!

    CHEERS! :)
     
  4. 4 Aug 11, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
    Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Something may have gone a bit wonky with my 120 GB hard drive. Even though I performed a clean install, my barebones XP, which should only take between 3 and 4 GB, it was showing as 21.3 GB taken up with something like 95.1 GB (It should be around 111 GB!) free. I suppose it may be the beginnings of hard drive failure. Nevertheless, I'm in the process of performing another clean XP install, this time having chosen the NTFS format changes option, rather than the no changes option, if that makes any sense, and I'll see what happens with that!

    CHEERS! :)

    EDIT: I was finally able to clear my entire 120 GB IDE hard drive, save for the 3 GB or so for the barebones XP, but what a massive PITA!!!! Now, for some unknown reason, neither hard drive will Format the other way, but no matter as this ancient beast is going to waste disposal. I'm debating about whether to hang onto my obsolete hard drives, but I suspect they're sufficiently wiped that I can just let them join the beast at the waste disposal, but as Gordon Ramsay sometimes says after an unnecessarily difficult dinner service, getting it done shouldn't have been so painful!! :P
     
  5. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    If the computer is going to salvage, I would take out the HDDs and destroy them with a hammer. It usually only takes a few good whacks to make them unreadable. This is the only way to make them completely unrecoverable.
     
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  6. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    I actually think that I'm simply going to keep the 2 hard drives for the time being, anyway. Who knows, down the road I might be able to get a deal on a pair of USB converter casings, or something along that line? The outside PC casing and the Monitor are the only two things that must go!

    CHEERS! :)
     
  7. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    I realize at this point it's probably moot, but for later...

    You said it couldn't boot from USB, but does it have a DVD/CD drive. If so I would personally download something like The Ultimate Boot Disc, boot to that disc, and use one of the format/wipe the discs with at least a basic erase program. Erase all the Rescue partitions that Dell may have installed and make it a decently clean HDD. if ever do decided to scrap those old HDD and don't wont;t to just destroy them you could run one of the DOD wipe/clean programs which would make it nearly impossible even on one of the lower levels to get anything useful from the disc. Unless you have Top Secret stuff stored on it, it certainly wouldn't seem to be worth the massive amt of resources it would take to restore a personal HDD that has been truly wiped 9not just erased/formatted)
     
  8. Stan

    Stan Producer

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    Wow Tony, you lost me at "booting from a USB stick". 20+ years of IT experience, but retired a while back. I'm only 56, not in my '90s :) But things in IT move so fast. Had no idea you could boot a PC from a USB. But it makes sense, if you can do it from a CD/DVD, a USB stick is just another piece of hardware.

    I'm falling behind :(

    Always liked XP, but my favorite is still Windows 98. It was just so easy to work with and when you're managing 300 PCs, it was nice to have something stable and reliable. Eventually upgraded everything to XP before I left the job.

    Can't believe you mentioned Gordon Ramsay in a computer thread. "but as Gordon Ramsay sometimes says after an unnecessarily difficult dinner service, getting it done shouldn't have been so painful!!"

    Ramsay is painful enough on his own. I'm going to finish Masterchef this season, but I'm done with his shows after that. Just one of those people who is overly impressed with himself. :rolling-smiley:
     

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