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Sata int/ext not loading

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June 28, 2010 12:40:12 AM

Ok, so I bought a 250 Gb HDD from a guy on craigslist for $20. I thought it would be an old IDE, but turns out it was a 2.5 inch Sata Notebook HD. Maybe the low price should've been a red flag, but oh well.
I've hooked the new HDD (Seagate Momentus 5400.4 250 GB) up to an external case(NexStar TX), that i've had a 60 Gb drive in. I can hear the drive spin up, and the light on the Ext enclosure turn on, Windows installs drivers says it works, but no new volume appears in My computer. "External" shows up under devices, but no access to read/write drive. Is the drive Dead? What can I do to fix it?
My next step was gonna be plug it directly into a MOBO and check bios for recognition, but sadly am a week away from getting back to my PC.
Any help would be appreciated.

More about : sata int ext loading

a b G Storage
June 28, 2010 1:05:03 AM

More then likely he has deleted the partition before selling it.
Go into Disk Management to see it has a partition, if not create a new partition and format the drive, if it has a partition it may need formatting.
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June 28, 2010 3:54:57 AM

It doesn't show up in disk management.
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a c 357 G Storage
June 28, 2010 4:17:47 AM

Well, look closely in Disk Management. A blank HDD with no Partitions will only show up in the LOWER RIGHT pane, and nowhere else. Don't forget that pane SCROLLS so you can see all it has.
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June 28, 2010 12:53:47 PM


Ok, It does show up on that bottom panel. Though there aren't any options to format or add partition, only option is to change the drive letter. Sorry for needing to be walked through this....


this is what disk management looks like.
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a c 357 G Storage
June 28, 2010 4:44:19 PM

Sorry, can't look at your image - it requires one sign in with an account/password.

So you found that HDD unit in the lower right pane of Disk Management. Usually a HDD unit will be represented by one horizontal block that contains at its left end a small block with labels - "DISK_2" or some such, a size, a disk type and status. To its right will be one or more sub-blocks. There may be one or more that each represent an existing Partition, plus there MAY be one sub-block to the right called "Unallocated Space". That latter will exist only if the full size of the HDD has not already been assigned to Partitions.

On any Partition, there will be some info: a letter name like "E:"; a volume name assigned when the Partition was made, like "Harry's Disk" or "OS"; a size; a File System like "NTFS"; and a status, hopefully "Healthy". So, what does yours show there? And, how many such Partition blocks are there in this HDD? - Just one, or more?

Two common problems can prevent use of a Partition. The first is easy. It should have a letter name. If it does not, you can assign one, as you almost have found. When you RIGHT-click on the Partition it offers you a chance to Change the Name of this Partition. If it does not have one already, just choose one not in use. If you do this, back out of Disk Management and reboot your machine so Windows' Registry can catch up on the change. It will then show up in My Computer.

If lack of a letter name is not your problem, the other common one I've heard is that the File System is "RAW". What this really means is that, somewhere in the Partition Table there is confusing data that Windows can't figure out, so it cannot access any files. The data itself is still there (not that you want it). For some people, recovering that data is important and you need to find the right tools. In your case you really want only to completely destroy all the old data and start as if the unit were empty.

There are two routes to follow to get to an empty drive. The straightforward one within Disk Management is to RIGHT-click on that Partition and choose the option to Delete the Partition. IF you have more than one Partition, do this on the one at the right end first, then work your way to the left until you have Deleted ALL the Partitions. Now you have an empty HDD. You can RIGHT-click on the mass of Unallocated Space and choose to Create a new Primary Partition. Since you are not going to use this drive to boot from, is does NOT need to be bootable, but it does need to be active. You can make it any size you like, up to the full size of the HDD. At this point you MAY be in the middle of a helpful Wizard that also offers you options for the Format process. If so, choose to Format the Partition you are creating using the NTFS File System. I recommend for a used drive that you choose a Full Format rather than Quick. This will do the basic Format operation and then take MANY HOURS to test every part of the HDD and mark off any "bad sectors" so they are not used. When it's all done, back out of Disk Management and reboot.

If you're using a slightly older Windows you may not see any Format operation options when you are specifying how to Create the Partition. In that case make the Partition in one step. When done, RIGHT-click on it again and choose to Format it as a second step, setting options as above.

If you cannot do those from Disk Management, the other approach is to use some utility to Zero-Fill the entire HDD. This literally writes zeroes to every sector of the HDD, destroying all of its data and even the Partition Table, etc. Now it is truly blank. Then you can use Disk Management as above to Create a Partition and Format it.

So, where to get a Zero Fill utility? There are several around. But IF your HDD happens to be from Seagate or Maxtor, go to the Seagate website and download their free Seatools diagnostic package. There is a version that runs under Windows as application software. But I prefer the version called "for DOS". Two forms exist - for floppy or CD-R. In each case you end up burning your own bootable disk, then booting from it. It loads a mini-DOS into RAM and you run all its tests from a menu, completely independent of Windows. In fact, you don't need a fully functioning HDD in your machine to use it. Just be VERY careful that you choose the right HDD unit - in your case, that older purchased unit - to operate on. There are lots of tests to tell you the condition of the hardware. One tool it contains is the Zero-fill tool. It has a technical side benefit to its use - as it does its job, it forces the HDD's on-board controller to re-examine all of the HDD and fix any problems by substituting good sectors for bad ones. When it finishes, the disk will appear to Windows to be perfect.

IF your HDD is by WD, their comparable diagnostic test suite is called Data Lifeguard, so get that. If it is by some other company, check their website for such diagnostic tools to test your used HDD. They don't all have a Zero-Fill tool, but the Seagate and WD ones do.
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June 28, 2010 6:01:44 PM

Wow, thanks for all the info!

To answer: "So, what does yours show there? And, how many such Partition blocks are there in this HDD? - Just one, or more?"

It shows nothing. On the left side it says Disk 1 - Removable - No media. on the right, it is just gray space, no partitions, empty space.
It looks just like the empty disk drive does.

I'll try putting the drive letter on and reboot after work.
Thanks again.
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June 29, 2010 12:19:16 AM

OK So, I added the letter, rebooted. Still the same gray in disk mgmt.

I downloaded Seatools for windows(don't have a blank disc at the moment), it recognized the disk and said status was ready to test, but when I tried to run tests it wouldn't do anything then status changed to test unavailable.

So, then I plugged it in and tried to run gparted liveCD. It stopped loading midway through, I've never seen it stop like that. I also don't kow how to read linux, but it seemed to stop when it tried to read the disk. something about the SCSI drive.... but it would stop and nothing would happen.

Anyways.... I'll get a CD and try the seatools from the booted disk. I assume the Zero-Fill is the Format option under advanced tests?

When should I declare death and give up?
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a c 357 G Storage
June 29, 2010 4:25:08 PM

Hmmm, not seeming promising, but I can agree with your plan how to move forward. I have not used Seatools recently, but I believe the Zero Fill tool in it is actually a separate item labeled that way. It is NOT a normal Format operation.

Format fundamentally is an operation carried out by a particular Operating system to install a particular File System on a disk (well, Partition, really). Some recent versions of Windows actually do a type of zero-fill job as part of a Full Format. But it is not the same as what Seatools can do, because Windows can only work with what the HDD's on-board controller lets it see.

For more details, see my post in this thread:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/259141-32-help-please...

especially the last half of it that explains why a Zero Fill done at the HDD level is different from Windows' Full Format. I am hoping that doing that through Seatools MIGHT wipe out any confusing info in the HDD's Partition Table and MBR, AND fix any truly bad sectors by replacement. However, given that you got this unit at a bargain price, be sure to run the tests on it, especially reading the SMART info both before and after running the Zero Fill.
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June 29, 2010 5:53:46 PM

But if it doesn't read the drive ro run the tests or do the Zero fill, it is dead? beyond repair?
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a c 357 G Storage
June 30, 2010 4:45:53 AM

Yeas, if Seatools for DOS cannot access the drive, it is dead. I'm not so sure about Seatools for Windows. I don't know if it can sneak around Windows' own limitations. But the "for DOS" version runs with no Windows at all and can access the HDD directly through the hardware.
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