Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Can't format my external hard drive. Should I wipe it?

Last response: in Storage
February 7, 2013 4:04:09 PM


I have a WD My Book Premium Edition. I received it as a hand-me-down. The previous owner tried to reformat it before giving it to me, but failed. He said it had a few encrypted files that he could not access to delete. He believes this is why he couldn't reformat the drive.

I opened it on my computer. It shows the drive as empty, but I can't add any files to it. When I tried to format it (several different ways), it would never finish...citing errors.

I don't have any files on the drive, so I am wondering...should I just wipe it with a professional wiping program (like Derek's Boot and Nuke) and THEN try reformatting it?

I'd really like to get this resolved. Otherwise, I guess it's just junk. Thanks for your help!
a c 106 G Storage
February 8, 2013 3:02:10 AM

If you have no files you want to keep on the drive you can attempt to delete the partition in Disk Management and then reformat the drive. I would try this before using a professional wiping program.
February 8, 2013 7:56:14 PM

I selected the drive (F: ) and did delete volume. It disappeared. I safely removed my drive. Then, I reconnected the drive, but my computer won't read it. I went under Disk Management to see if I could reformat under there...but the drive won't even appear.
Related resources
February 12, 2013 10:03:25 PM

I forgot to mention that I had restarted my computer, as well...and then, connected the drive again. But I had the same problem.

Well for some strange reason, today, Disk Management recognizes the external hard drive (but not My Computer.) I assigned a letter for the drive, and I am formatting the drive right now. I'll let you know what happens.
February 14, 2013 5:27:21 AM

After several hours, it was almost complete...but then, my stupid computer did Windows Update. Grr.

I had to start over again. This time, Disk Management recognized the drive as Disk 1 (healthy partition, etc.) and RAW.

I started formatting for the second time (NTFS again) and waited over 12 hours for it to complete. Towards the end, a message popped up and said that formatting couldn't be completed.

I clicked on the drive again, tried to do a quick format (NTFS), but it said the same error. Then, I deleted the volume, unplugged it, waited, reconnected the drive, and waited for my computer to recognize the drive. It recognized the drive as unallocated.

I assigned the drive a letter, and tried another quick format (NTFS.) Still, I couldn't format the drive. Same error. My last idea was to try formatting the drive as exFAT (that was my only other option.) Didn't work.

a c 79 G Storage
February 14, 2013 6:17:12 AM

Time to dump it since it has had a bit of a chequered history with previous owner, and keeps misbehaving since you acquired it. Buy a new one. Oh, and turn off those pesky automatic updates permanently. Visit Windows Update when it's convenient to you, about once a week, and check what each update is for before allowing it.

I would no way allow Microsoft to install updates and other stuff automatically every week without me knowing what each update is for and do I need it. I set time aside once a week and update manually, and I decide what I want and don't want.