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Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 16-Apr-11 14:05:51
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Why can't Windows see my new external drive?


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I've just bought a SATA2 hard drive external docking station and a Samsung Spinpoint 1TB SATA2 hard drive, in order to make, from time to time, a complete disc copy of my machine-installed Seagate hard drive of the same capacity.

For a different function, I already use an external USB-connected fully-enclosed hard drive on the same machine, and so I know that Windows can normally see and access any externally-attached memory device.

The new dock station is USB-connected also. The operating system on my machine is WinXP SP3.

The problem is that I can't format the Samsung drive in the external dock. In Disk Management, the brand new Samsung is seen as an 'uninitialised' drive with unallocated space, but when I right-click to format the drive, the partitioning/formatting function is greyed out.

With the new Samsung drive in the dock and connected to the PC, I've run my utility that normally makes partition and whole disc images but the utility doesn't fully launch and instead corrupts. It's a utility that runs in a pseudo-DOS environment and I've been successfully using it for years. So, it looks as though it too cannot fathom what's externally attached by way of a drive.

Anyone any idea as to what's happening here? It's years since I ever did a complete disc copy and I can only presume that the utility, like Windows, cannot properly see the drive because the drive is USB-connected and is, as yet, unformatted.

But why can't I format the drive in Windows Disk Management? What exactly does 'uninitialised' mean and how is an 'initialised' drive achieved?

There are some jumper pins on the Samsung drive but an information leaflet supplied with the drive states that those pins are not relevant for normal SATA2 operation., so I don't think the problem's caused by that.

The question as to whether the system BIOS recognises this new external drive-in-its-dock doesn't arise, of course, because this is a USB-connected device.

Is my only recourse to install the Samsung drive temporarily into my machine and to use my WinXP Setup CD to pre-format the drive?

Most drives I've bought have come pre-formatted to FAT32, but this one has come completely unformatted. It's still odd that Windows cannot see it sufficiently in Disk Management to allow me to format it, mounted in the external dock.

Edited by meditator (Sat 16-Apr-11 14:19:16)

Standard User Pipexer
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 16-Apr-11 14:18:45
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Re: Why can't Windows see my new external drive?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
Can you not initialise the drive in windows disk management and then format it?

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Zen 8000 Active
Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 16-Apr-11 14:21:57
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Re: Why can't Windows see my new external drive?


[re: Pipexer] [link to this post]
 
Pipexer,

How do you 'initialise' a hard drive in Windows Disk Management? What does initialising do that formatting doesn't?


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Standard User iand
(experienced) Sat 16-Apr-11 14:28:45
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Re: Why can't Windows see my new external drive?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
You should just be able to connect the drive into the PC on a USB and it should come up as a working drive. You can then format it. If not, then it looks to me as being broken.

In order to get your utility to work, try starting the app first, getting it fully running and then plug in the nw drive once you think the sw is running. It should auto detect... well it does when I use acronis.

IanD

Edited by iand (Sat 16-Apr-11 14:32:23)

Standard User Pipexer
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 16-Apr-11 15:17:44
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Re: Why can't Windows see my new external drive?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
I think you can just right click the actual disk and select initialize.

Try action > rescan disks.

It may then prompt you to initialise the disks which are not initialised, once they are initialised, it will allow you to format it (assuming all is OK on the hardware side...)

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Zen 8000 Active

Edited by Pipexer (Sat 16-Apr-11 15:17:57)

Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 16-Apr-11 15:22:38
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Re: Why can't Windows see my new external drive?


[re: iand] [link to this post]
 
Pipexer's comment led me to the solution to partitioning the drive. In Disk Management, I needed to right-click on the grey-box description of the drive on the lefthand side in the GUI, not inside the body of the drive. Such a tiny detail but it made all the difference. I was then able to format the drive with the drive in the docking station. For now, for testing, I've formatted just 50GB of it. It completed that alright.

Trouble is, my disk-copying utility (an old edition of Ghost) still won't fully launch. It clearly baulks at the particular implementation of the USB 2 interface on the docking station. The station's a product of Akasa and I bought it rather than a cheap one knowing that, usually, japanese hardware is good. The pseudo-DOS environment of Ghost 2003 is known to be flakey with different implementations of external USB, so I guess this is why Ghost won't fully launch. So I'm pretty well stuffed, as far as doing Disk-to-Disk cloning's concerned. Just my luck! The only way I'll now be able to do it is by mounting the Samsung drive in the PC itself - which rather defeats the object of having an external docking station.

I've re-tested that Ghost still launches and still sees my other external drive (a LaCie enclosure), and that all still works fine. That's a permanently-enclosed external hard drive.

I'm still intrigued to know what initialising does? Does it set out the way that the MBR gets recorded on to the drive, or something?
Standard User Gypsydog
(fountain of knowledge) Sun 17-Apr-11 10:35:58
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Re: Why can't Windows see my new external drive?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
Intializing a hard drive is done in the factory but the term 'initialize' is loosely and, arguably,incorrectly to also describe a process of reinitialisation

Link explains the issue better than I can. smile

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_formatting#Low-lev...

DrayTek Vigor 2710n


ZeN Active 8000
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Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Sun 17-Apr-11 15:23:29
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Re: Why can't Windows see my new external drive?


[re: Gypsydog] [link to this post]
 
Hmm, I don't think initialising, as just done, has much at all to do with low-level formatting (writing zeros right across all sectors of the drive). I've performed LLF on hard drives myself - something sensible to do if dispensing with a hard drive, for instance - and it's an operation that usually takes hours and hours. But when I 'initialised' the Samsung drive in Disk Management the other day, the operation of it was all but instantaneous.

Although I've yet to fathom what initialising actually is, I think it must be something that some hard disc manufacturers already do, before you get the drive, but which other manufacturers don't. Hence the hidden feature in Disk Management, just in case you need it.
Standard User XRaySpeX
(knowledge is power) Sun 17-Apr-11 16:01:18
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Re: Why can't Windows see my new external drive?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by meditator:
Hmm, I don't think initialising, as just done, has much at all to do with low-level formatting (writing zeros right across all sectors of the drive)
Think you misread what low-level formatting means. It is dividing the raw disk into addressable sectors. It is usually independent of OS and is, nowadays, done at the factory.

The "writing zeros right across all sectors" is only done when you dispose of the disk for security purposes, as you rightly point out.

The more usual, higher level, formatting is the laying down the initial file system, as Wikipedia says at the top, e.g. NTFS, FAT, Unix, and is dependent on OS. It is the writing of a skeletal file system on the disk of basically an allocation table and top-level directory.

The "Format" of Disk Management is this. I don't know where you found it doing "Initialise" (my GUI doesn't have Drives on its LHS; just a tree of Computer Mgt. Tools) , but it could well be only available on uninitialised disks that do require low-level formatting.

1999: Freeserve 48K Dial-Up => 2005: Wanadoo 1 Meg BB => 2007: Orange 2 Meg BB => 2008: Orange 8 Meg LLU BB => 2010: Orange 19 Meg Tweaked / 16 Meg Untweaked LLU BB

Edited by XRaySpeX (Sun 17-Apr-11 16:13:07)

Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Sun 17-Apr-11 17:26:43
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Re: Why can't Windows see my new external drive?


[re: XRaySpeX] [link to this post]
 
XRaySpeX,

You're rightly baffled by where the 'initialising' function is, in Disk Management. I was formerly unaware of ever needing to initialise the drive and, for some time, couldn't find where, in DM, it had to be done.

Open Windows to the GUI of Disk Management. Forget the extreme left. To the left of the colour-coded partition(s) of the various discs, you'll see one or more grey rectangles with labels such as Disk 0, Disk 1, CD-ROM 0, CD-ROM 1, etc., basically describing the installed memory devices. It's this rectangle which, when you right-click on it for a newly-added bare drive, reveals a menu, one item of which is 'Initialise the Disk'. So, you just select it and click and it's done. You can then proceed to format the drive. If a drive isn't pre-initialised, that grey rectangle will be saying so and will also have a red warning symbol in it. However, there's no clue as to where and how to perform the initialising, but in fact all you have to do is to right-click on the rectangle and select 'Initialise the Disk'. You cannot format the drive until it's been initialised. Once the drive's been initialised, the menu disappears from the rectangle when you right-click it.

This is such a small feature but an absolutely crucial one, as unless you're aware of what you need to do, you'll otherwise be for ever scratching your head - like I was - and wondering why on earth the Format menu isn't available when you right-click in the unallocated space of the drive's graphic. This is, as far as I can recall, the first time I've ever needed to do it. I guess that it's something that normally gets done automatically when you install the Windows operating system on a new bare drive from the Setup CD, so it appears that it only comes to your attention when you subsequently install a second, third or fourth hard drive in the PC.

Edited by meditator (Sun 17-Apr-11 17:30:22)

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