Backup problems with backup hdd

I need help from experienced Win7 users. I do not own Win7, but I built a friend a pc with Win7 about a year ago. Never had a problem doing a backup until now.

The backup to the 2nd hdd errors and says the drive is in use. I've tried everything I know and can't get it to do a backup. I even tried formatting the 2nd hdd and it won't let me saying the drive is in use. I also deleted all the data from it manually, still says the same thing.

I know Win7 must install something to the 2nd drive when it's installed. Not sure what it is. I also now know that to avoid this, only install Win7 with 1 hdd in the computer, then add the second hdd later on. However it's too late for me to do this.

So I'm thinking about taking the drive out of the computer and formatting it on another computer and then put the hdd back in her computer. My question is, will it let me format the drive on my computer? And will her machine boot without the second hdd in it? Am I going to have problems booting her system to Win7 if I put the blank hdd back in her machine?

I really would like to just format and re-install Win7 on her machine, but she has a bunch of work data she can't lose and I can't back it up except to dvd.

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  1. Do you have hidden folders checked off (Maybe something is hiding?) Can you boot into another type of media (Linux) and format the drive? Is the page file on that drive?
  2. I don't know what's on it, it shows empty. No hidden folders.

    Yet when I try to backup to it, it fails and says drive is in use.

    Ive got Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes and no virus or anything is found.

    I just need to know if I take out the drive, is the computer still going to boot to Windows even though obviously Windows wrote something to that drive..??
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