Formatting Hard Drive


I currently have a 4 hard drive set up. I'm using 2 SSD drives striped together as my program drive, then 2 more 3TB drives as my data storage. I was able to format one of the hard drives just by right clicking it, but the other is already partitioned and I'm unable to format it.

I'm looking at the Disk Management for the hard drive, and I see that what the computer did (or user error on my part) is to use 100MB as a 'System Reserved', enabled for write caching on the device. It says that it improves performance, but I don't think that I necessarily need this? Then it partitioned 2TB in one partition and the remaining into another partition, probably because it didn't have the drivers yet to support a 3TB drive. Not sure how to go about reformatting this guy. Do I need to uncheck the option for write-caching?

I should mention that this is a new build, using Windows 7.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
5 answers Last reply
More about formatting hard drive
  1. You are mistaken about the 100MB partition being created for write-caching. It was created to hold the Boot Manager and is the "active" boot partition for Windows. It's also (usually) a hidden partition. The idea is that the boot files are protected from accidental deletion and other potentially disastrous meddling. As it's the active partition, it cannot be messed with from within Windows.

    You can remove that partition with a DOS-based partition manager, but if you do, Windows will be unable to start.
  2. Hmm... I installed windows on the SSD drives, not on this drive. I set up the boot priority in the BIOS to the SSD drive and the optical drive. The 3TB drive used to boot windows.

    Right now the 3TB says 'System, Active, Primary Partition'

    The SSD says 'Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition'
  3. First of all, an SSD is NOT a "Hard Drive"; there are SSD's and there are Hard Drives.

    What EXACTLY do you wish to accomplish?

    Are your 3TB Hard Drive's separate or as a RAID setup?


    Your drive manufacture probably has a simpler explanation.

    *As mentioned above, the 100MB partition is for the BOOT DRIVE which should be your SSD RAID. Did you attempt to install on one of the 3TB hard drives first?

    Everything I've read suggest no issues with 64-bit Windows 7 for 3TB internal drive formatting (NTFS).

    I'm not certain if RAID would be an issue (you'd have to read your motherboard manual) for 3TB drives.

    Assuming you have 3TB as SEPARATE drives, do this:
    1. Open "Disk Management"
    2. "Delete Volume" for the 3TB drive (if it won't format)
    3. "Add Volume" (should show one single partition)
    4. Format NTFS

    **There are TWO ways to format an NTFS drive, quick and FULL. You should try quick just to make sure it works, but FULL will build a bad sector table. It writes and reads to every single location on the drive then builds a table to prevent writing to areas that have problems. If you do NOT format the drive as FULL then you can get corrupted data.

    1. Please verify your setup (2xRAID0 SSD + two, separate 3TB drives?)
    2. Confirm the 100MB space is on the RAID0 SSD which WINDOWS is installed too?
    3. Format QUICK, then FULL once confirmed things work.
    4. I believe Windows 7 64-bit can format 3TB drives.
    5. Disk Management -> Delete Volume then Add Volume on 3TB drive if you have difficulty formatting NTFS as a single, 3TB drive.

    Good luck.
    On a 3TB drive this could take between 10 and 20 hours. I forget the exact time.
  5. Thanks for your replies.

    Perhaps I gave out some information that wasn't relevant.

    The SSD is the Raid 0 that I installed Windows 7 on to. I guess I didn't realize what I was doing when I was first installing windows and going through the BIOS assigning the proper boot drive. I assigned the boot drive to the hard drive, not the SSD, but installed windows on the SSD.

    Now, I went into BIOS and set up the SSD as the boot drive.

    When I go to format my 3TB, there's 3 partitions (one of the partitions being the 100MB boot drive). I want to delete the volume, and add volume like you suggested, but when I right click on it I do not have the option to do it.

    Does this 100MB partition have to exist? I want it on my SSD drive if anywhere, as that's where my program files are located.
Ask a new question

Read More

Hard Drives Formatting Storage