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 Post subject: Why can't I format in NTFS?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:27 am 
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I got this 80gig laptop HDD in one of those enclosure ( :?: ) thing, and it plugged into my computer via USB, (like an external HD).

When I went to format it with NTFS, I got "Windows in unable to complete the format" or something like that. I tried going through Disk Management, delete partition, make new one, format... same thing. And the size of the partition doesn't seem to matter either.

But then I tried FAT32... and it worked! Why?

Also... before doing all this formatting, I noticed my all of my videos on that disk weren't playing right, like when they're incomplete. And the disk was originally formatted with NTFS, and working too I might add.

Got 3 partitions now (32, 32, 16), but I'm happy with that. Everything seems fine with it now, but should I be worried about the reliability of this HDD?

******Edit******
Hmmm... doesn't look like it work after all. Copying in videos resulted in the same problem when playing. Bummer! :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: Why can't I format in NTFS?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:40 am 
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Doesn't sound good. :(

I recommend that you first check the health of the drive with CrystalDiskInfo.

You can also scan the partitions for bad sectors. (Note that it will take a lot of time.) Open command prompt and run this command for each partition in the drive:

Code:
chkdsk /r [drive letter]:


For example,

Code:
chkdsk /r f:

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 Post subject: Re: Why can't I format in NTFS?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:28 pm 
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If it were me, I would take the drive back. That sounds like a hardware / disk error. Remember that while most drives last 4 or 5 years, a small percentage of drives that go out fail immediately, another percentage fail over the course of a few months. There are many drive diagnosis tools here on the site including what SYSTEM suggested.

Edit: you might also try to partition the drive into parts and format those parts. There's a chance that there's just one bad sector that won't spread to the rest of the drive and you can just avoid. Then use this drive exclusively as a backup drive and of course never trust anything you save to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Why can't I format in NTFS?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:59 am 
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Hey this wouldn't have anything to do with the hard disk alignment thing on XP would it?

Cause I just got another 320 gig HD and the same thing seems to be happening!

Trying to realign the new disk now, 6 hours... :shock:

Maybe that other disk isn't dead after all... :?:

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 Post subject: Re: Why can't I format in NTFS?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:00 am 
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No matter how the disk is aligned, when the operating system writes something to the sector X, and later tries to read the content of the same sector, it should get exactly the same data. Period.

If you're losing data, I still recommend that you investigate the disk with the tools mentioned in my previous post.

If it turns out that the new disk is OK, I suspect a hardware problem somewhere else (e.g. the USB controller).

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 Post subject: Re: Why can't I format in NTFS?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:34 am 
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Hmmm.... CrystalDiskInfo is saying my disk is "good". :D

Might be a faulty USB controller after all... :x

Thanks guys!

******Update******
Went to get another one and the HDD worked fine. It was the USB controller after all.... :?

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 Post subject: Re: Why can't I format in NTFS?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:34 pm 
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Just remember if you use FAT32 that it can't support privacy settings and is filesize is limited to something around 4 GB. There are some other limitations but I forget. If you try to create or copy a file bigger than that FAT32 will automatically split it into numbered pieces and the programs that use the file will likely fail to be able to deal with it.

I actually prefer to use FAT32 because I almost never deal with files that big. But I have some NTFS partitions in case I need to. Also any temporary data folders or areas need to be NTFS since temp files can get humongous during some installs or authoring. But aside from that, in some ways FAT32 is easier to manage than NTFS since it's not as complicated. Some say it's less reliable than NTFS, but that hasn't been the case for me. Also it's important to know that disk freespace wiping software often fails to fully wipe FAT32 because it's difficult to program for that in FAT32. Some small deleted files will be left over and almost all of the filenames will remain intact has been my experience. Last but not least, some programs require NTFS filesystems to write to and won't allow you to work with FAT32. And you can't safely install Windows onto a FAT32 drive without doing some fancy and risky tricks.

But Linux can read and write FAT32 and flash drives are usually FAT32 and many many older freeware disk recovery programs can work on FAT32. Technically, I suppose FAT32 wastes more drive space than NTFS, but when you are dealing with many free GB of space it doesn't matter so much. But that does remind me that FAT32 can't format disks larger than a certain size without special programs to do such. You can format a smaller partition, but that might not be what you want to do. NTFS doesn't have the same limits.


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 Post subject: Re: Why can't I format in NTFS?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:40 pm 
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Somewhat offtopic:
portafreeuser wrote:
Also it's important to know that disk freespace wiping software often fails to fully wipe FAT32 because it's difficult to program for that in FAT32.

No it isn't. It's easier 'to program for' than NTFS or journaled file systems. And if it's a slaved disk, the OS can still create shadow copies of your files that you don't know of.
portafreeuser wrote:
Some small deleted files will be left over and almost all of the filenames will remain intact has been my experience.

Not a 'feature' of FAT32, but poorly implemented software. You're looking at the File Allocation Table itself and very likely entries in your NTFS disk's Master File Table. Both can be cleared.
The small leftover files are due to fragmentation, something that happens by definition on FAT32. It frags like hell.
Although FAT32 has it's uses, NTFS is recommended.

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 Post subject: Re: Why can't I format in NTFS?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:53 am 
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More offtopic.

portafreeuser wrote:
Just remember if you use FAT32 that it can't support privacy settings and is filesize is limited to something around 4 GB. There are some other limitations but I forget. If you try to create or copy a file bigger than that FAT32 will automatically split it into numbered pieces and the programs that use the file will likely fail to be able to deal with it.


Not true. Saving the file will simply fail. Some programs are able to automatically work around that by splitting the file.

portafreeuser wrote:
Some say it's less reliable than NTFS, but that hasn't been the case for me.


FAT32 indeed is less reliable than NTFS, especially in the event of BSOD, system freeze or power failure. Of course, if such events are rare for you, reliability doesn't matter much.

portafreeuser wrote:
But Linux can read and write FAT32 and flash drives are usually FAT32 and many many older freeware disk recovery programs can work on FAT32.


This is indeed an advantage of FAT32 and the main reason why I still have one FAT32 partition.

portafreeuser wrote:
Technically, I suppose FAT32 wastes more drive space than NTFS, but when you are dealing with many free GB of space it doesn't matter so much. But that does remind me that FAT32 can't format disks larger than a certain size without special programs to do such. You can format a smaller partition, but that might not be what you want to do. NTFS doesn't have the same limits.


A FAT32 partition can be up to two terabytes in size (assuming a sector size of 512 bytes). However, a FAT32 partition can only contain up to 2^28 (around 268 million) clusters. As a result, the bigger a FAT32 partition is, the bigger the clusters have to be and the more space is wasted. That's the reason why Microsoft's formatting utility doesn't allow you to format partitions larger than 32 gigabytes as FAT32. It isn't a filesystem limitation, though.

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