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Aug 18, 2009, 11:29 PM
This one is fun. I've been working on computers since I was 6, (now 16...) and I know quite abit about them. The hard drive in question is a western digital WD Caviar 307AA EIDE hard drive....with about 30.7 GB of space. I salvaged it from a computer a friend decided he didn't want anymore. So....I put it in (setting the jumper to slave, and on the slave section of the cable..and yes I plugged the power cable in...lol) and go to boot. This is where it gets interesting. According to the BIOS, it is fixed disk 1, and of course properly identifies the device beside that. The computer now boots into windows (xp-sp2) and we get to the desktop, and bam. It finds it! Yay! Wait...what?! Crap. It identifies it correctly...but wait....it doesn't set it as a disk...weird. I go to the device manager, and according to it, the most recent drivers are currently installed, and the device is working properly. Great. So I go to the control panel/administrative tools, and go to computer management. That pulls up and I work my way over to the disk management. Woah. According to it, the device has unallotted space, and is perfectly healthy. Nice. I right click, and click "initialize". It does absolutely nothing. It REFUSES to initialize. So I jerk all the harddrives out, and set the wonderful annoyance as the primary master (and the jumpers as well...) and run dos 6 booting from a cd. I use fdisk and create a primary DOS partition, using the entire disk except about 20 someodd megabytes...and I write it. It "writes" (there's disk activity) and tells me it works and I need to reboot. I do so. Nothing. I go back into fdisk, and hit option 4, and of course, nothing. There are no defined partitions. Hoorah. So I try CFDISK. Same procedure. Nothing. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. So now I am a bit annoyed at this little drive. I wonder if its not the MBR...but I tried restoring that already. Just in case, here's a history of its past (I did not do any of the below):
:used with windows xp-sp2, then formatted because of the activation timebomb that went off.
:installed GoblinX Micro on it
:formatted because of insufficient system resources
:***it was formatted in windows setup, all partitions are GONE and NO filesystem is in place. The MBR shows NOTHING pointing to ANY Operating system. It's clean as well.***
I refuse to believe that its dead, for if it were, wouldn't the BIOS and windows not even recognize, it, let alone show the available unallotted space? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I guess I don't know it all! :D
Very much thanks and appreciation, they said be descriptive...I don't think I can be any more descriptive! Ask if you need anymore information. Once again, thanks.
-Victim of 2 Western Digital Harddrives.
Aug 19, 2009, 12:13 AM
If partitions were created using fdisk and the drive is seen in windows explorer, have you tried to use right click and format option - try FAT32 as well as NTFS
If the drive has a jumper for Cable Select (CS), try setting it as CS instead of slave to see if that may make a difference (it does in some instances)
And attached on middle connector of the gray ribbon cable
Aug 19, 2009, 09:23 PM
Indeed I have...still doesn't work. I found something out today while toying with it. I think the hard drive is layered. In other words, there is information still on it...and when he tried to format...he didn't do it correctly, resulting in a segment of the drive (approx. 3/4ths of it) sealed off and layered over in a RAW format. So....does anyone know how I could peel back the layers and access the hidden information? Thanks. And thanks seahwk83.
Aug 19, 2009, 09:57 PM
Try a Low-Level Format
HDDGURU: HDD Low Level Format Tool (http://hddguru.com/content/en/software/2006.04.12-HDD-Low-Level-Format-Tool/)
WARNING: After running this free low level format tool, the whole disk surface will be fully erased.
Aug 19, 2009, 11:42 PM
Ah. I'll try it out. Thanks again! :D
Aug 20, 2009, 09:39 AM
Okaly. The "low level formatting guru" is basically fdisk in windows. So what'll happen is the same thing. The disk is layered. Sealed. So no matter how many times I format, I'm still going to get the same results, if not make it worse. I'm probably going to need a combination of ms-dos, unformat, and luck...anyways....any other ideas? Thanks again. By the way...I did run the tool....and like before, the information is still there. Joyus. Thanks again. :D
Aug 20, 2009, 10:01 AM
How about trying to set as master and put it an XP install disk and install using the format option before installation starts
Geek to Live: How to format your hard drive and install Windows XP from scratch - Feature - Lifehacker (http://lifehacker.com/software/windows/geek-to-live-how-to-format-your-hard-drive-and-install-windows-xp-from-scratch-157578.php)
Aug 20, 2009, 06:34 PM
Unfortunately that doesn't seem to work either. I did that before...it claims my hard drive format is not compatible with windows xp, and thus directs me towards the "choose a partition" screen, where I may create or destroy partitions at will. I hit 'c' (which SHOULD create a partition...) and nothing happens. Repeatedly. So that doesn't work either. Thanks again. Isn't this one fun? Lol.
Aug 20, 2009, 06:45 PM
Only thing from here would be to see if fdisk again may resurrect the partiton to some working state.
I have 3 drives with similar situation and put them on the shelf till a later time to go through the same steps you have with this one.
Hope you can get something to work out
Aug 20, 2009, 06:58 PM
Yeah...I suppose...fdisk won't do anything. I need to peel back the RAW overlay so I can get to the sealed off data, which I'm not entirely sure how to do. I guess qbasic, dos, and unformat will have to do...if anyone knows anything at all...please don't hesitate to post! Thanks!
Aug 20, 2009, 09:17 PM
Have you run WDC's diagnostic on this drive?
Try wiping the drive with a utility like DBAN (http://www.dban.org/). Also there were some patches required for the DOS/Win9x versions of FDISK and FORMAT to deal with issues related to large disks.
RAW is Windows parlance for "no file system" or "I don't know what file system this is." See What is this Raw File System (http://blogs.technet.com/ganand/archive/2008/02/22/what-is-this-raw-file-system.aspx) for drive antics.
What do you mean by an overlay? Overlays are software bits that get loaded into memory at boot to allow the drive to be utilized by a controller or BIOS that is lacking certain capability, historically LBA support. If you are using the drive in a computer with such a controller or BIOS and the overlay installed on the drive has been damaged or is missing, funny things can happen. Funny things can also happen when using such a drive in a computer that doesn't require the overlay. Often the drive manufacturer's diagnostic and software utility is required to install, remove, or otherwise manage the overlay.
Aug 20, 2009, 11:23 PM
Haha! He knows what I'm dealing with! Whoo hoo! AAAAAAAAAANNNYYYWAYS....what I'm pertaining to with overlay is "harddrive that has been layered (diskformatted incorrectly, thus sealing of sectors and thus showing no sign of data or a filesystem, hence the computer identifying it as RAW) and as for the disk's software utility...I laugh at it. It does absolutely nothing. It just sits there. Waiting. For what, I don't know. But it sits. I'll check DBAN out. Thanks....a lot. :D
Aug 23, 2009, 12:05 AM
Oh my...I used dban...and my hdd laughed at it. Doesn't write to the hdd. Same as the rest. I even used dskprobe.exe, which lets you alter oem, bios strings, etc. Even the bytes themselves...but yet again...IT DOESN"T WRITE. Why!? Oh why?! Ok...better now....this thing is so confused about what it wants to do. And what it is...its got 3 bootable partitions, 2 ntfs, one fat 16, the other ex2, and sectors going up to 17903752, and weird european characters where the friggin oem string NTFS should be...I'm about to give up and go skeet shooting. Its really starting to annoy me.
Aug 23, 2009, 02:51 AM
What motherboard does the computer have and is there a BIOS option for virus blocking or otherwise write protecting the boot sector?
Aug 26, 2009, 04:32 AM
Not sure what motherboard it is actually. But no, there is not an option for virus blocking and/or write protecting the boot sector. So yeah.....I looked it over again..and there are also overlapping sectors....which isn't good....if only harddrives had that handy write protect tab floppies did....lol
Aug 29, 2009, 08:49 PM
Try installing Ubuntu on it. Let it install in default, format as it wants.
Then try Windows install again, delete all partitions and create again.
If you have a SATA card or drive in the system, unplug it first.
Sep 12, 2009, 11:14 AM
X_chaos07 try putting Ubuntu on the drive and see what happens.
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