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Is there any way to save this disk (I no longer care about the data)

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  • Laptops
  • Storage
  • Hard Drives
Last response: in Storage
February 17, 2014 2:28:56 PM

I have a Western Digital Hard Disk 640gb that came with my laptop.
My laptop was sucking a lot so I decided that I just needed to re-install windows. I was backing up all of my Docs, Pics, and flics to an external drive.
My wife did not know what was going on, she grabbed the laptop, unplugged the external drive and took the computer.
When I got it back, windows was still running.
I was never able to successfully re-boot.
I bought a new hard drive and put it in my laptop and re-installed Windows 7.
So now I have this old (1 year lol) disk that I cna't format. I used PHotorec to recover my photos so I don't care about any of the data that still resides on this drive.

So I tried formatting the drive and it won't.
So I tried formatting it through Disk management and it will pretend to format. The next morning I come back and the format seems complete but when I try to access the disk it says "Drive W: must be formated before using it."

Finally I tried formatting it via Command Line with the same resutl.
Like I said I have written off the data but It pains me to simply throw away a 640 gb hard drive. I'd like to keep it around to keep my computer backed up so I don't get in trouble again.
Any suggestions?

More about : save disk longer care data

a b G Storage
February 17, 2014 2:34:18 PM

I don't know what can be done to make it usable again, but using a drive that has already had problems as a backup drive strikes me as an amazingly bad idea. You want your backup drive to be more reliable than your regular system drives if possible, not less.
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a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
February 17, 2014 2:36:30 PM

Yes. Use a HDD dock (or enclosure) to be able to access it as an external drive.
Download and install Killdisk on your PC, then plug in the external drive (see above), making note of the drive's letter.
Launch Killdisk and wipe that drive; it will write zeroes on the whole thing, erasing everything (including partition tables and such), like it was new.
After that use disk management to format it (low-level, then regular format) to be able to use it under Windows again.

If problems accessing the HDD as an external drive, try inserting it inside another PC and use a bootable version of Killdisk; boot from it (say, a CD or USB) and wipe the HDD that way.
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Related resources
February 17, 2014 10:18:04 PM

house70 said:
Yes. Use a HDD dock (or enclosure) to be able to access it as an external drive.
Download and install Killdisk on your PC, then plug in the external drive (see above), making note of the drive's letter.
Launch Killdisk and wipe that drive; it will write zeroes on the whole thing, erasing everything (including partition tables and such), like it was new.
After that use disk management to format it (low-level, then regular format) to be able to use it under Windows again.

If problems accessing the HDD as an external drive, try inserting it inside another PC and use a bootable version of Killdisk; boot from it (say, a CD or USB) and wipe the HDD that way.


Killdisk? I'll try that.

How do I do a "Low level" format?


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February 18, 2014 7:59:58 AM

So I've been running Killdisk for over 9 hours. When I went to bed last night time left said 76 hours. A couple of hours ago it said 148 hours left and I now it says have 189 hours left. Is it just me or is this number going in the wrong direction? Is it normal for it to take over a week to format a 640gb disk with just one pass?
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a b G Storage
February 18, 2014 8:41:59 AM

No, that's not normal for a good disk. I'd interpret your results to mean your disk is no longer usable at all. I suggest you look at the session log for errors.
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February 18, 2014 11:03:37 AM

Thanks for that tip. I just don't understand how I ruined the disk. The disk that I was writing data TO that was suddenly unplugged has no issues at all.
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a b G Storage
February 18, 2014 11:19:36 AM

That's hard to determine. If you take it to a computer retailer or repair place, they might be able to autopsy the drive. (using more than just software, I'd imagine)
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Best solution

a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
February 18, 2014 11:45:35 AM

swing4thefence said:
So I've been running Killdisk for over 9 hours. When I went to bed last night time left said 76 hours. A couple of hours ago it said 148 hours left and I now it says have 189 hours left. Is it just me or is this number going in the wrong direction? Is it normal for it to take over a week to format a 640gb disk with just one pass?


HDD is busted. Not much to do for it. It could be that it was on it's way out, that's why the laptop was "sucking a lot", and actually it's better you found out this way instead of backing up your data on it (as originally planned) and have it fail with all that loaded. If an HDD is older than a few years it's time to consider replacing it.
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February 18, 2014 12:32:13 PM

Strange part is the HDD was divided in to two partitions from the factory and up until I tried to re-format the entire drive the second partition worked flawlessly.
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