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Time it takes to format a hard drive

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February 12, 2010 1:43:51 PM

Hello, I have been trying to format a 250gb hard drive and it has now been about 12 hours and it was only halfway. Wht is going on? Why is it taking so long?
a b G Storage
February 13, 2010 6:55:19 AM

Did you do a full format or a quick format? Depending on how much data you had on it, it can take quite sometime to do a full blown format.
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February 13, 2010 7:05:26 AM

Full format of a 320GB IDE drive took quite a while for me.. perhaps a hour or so.. quick format on the same drive took seconds.. and seems to do the same job..
Also when formatted my 120GB laptop HDD is took for ever to format...

What are the specs of the thing youre trying to format?
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a b G Storage
February 13, 2010 12:09:31 PM

How is the drive connected? Even for an external USB drive this seems to be much too slow. Assuming 24h for the full drive this would mean a transfer speed of 2.9MB/s and all 250GB drives should be at least about 10 times as fast as that. If it's an internal drive: perhaps the port settings are wrong or for an external drive perhaps USB is very slow.
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a c 415 G Storage
February 13, 2010 4:34:24 PM

Open task manager and check your CPU graph. If the CPU is at or near 100% even though there are no other programs running then the drive may be running in PIO mode instead of DMA mode - that could cause a considerable slow-down.
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February 22, 2010 12:04:23 PM

Well, It finally finished and guess what......LOL..it said that the format was UNsucessful. The drive was a Maxtor (sp) 250gb. I brought it to work and asked a bud to check it out for me and he said it was junked. there wasn't really anything on it except for some music and a few movies. Not really sure what happened, but I broke sown and bought a new puter. I think the old one was just to old to cpmplete the job.

thank you all fo rthe advice . I am not really computer smart, just enough to be dangerous. thanks for the tips.
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a c 342 G Storage
February 22, 2010 3:38:52 PM

For a reference point, we did a Full Format of a brand new WD Green 1.5 TB drive recently and it took about 3½ hours. Some might be a bit longer or shorter. On an older drive the times will be longer, perhaps, than this. But your situation certainly sounded like a bad drive with loads of errors, and that is what your buddy diagnosed.

A Quick Format DOES do all of the essential format job for you in less than 15 minutes. However, a Full Format does that part and THEN does exhaustive read / writes tests on EVERY sector of the disk, which is what takes all the extra time.
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