How do you know if a HD is actually formatting...?

bovinda

Senior member
Nov 26, 2004
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I'm formatting a new 300 GB raptor with Windows Vista 64. It's not my primary drive, but an accessory one. So I intialized it in Disk Management under Administrative Tools, chose to format it, didn't click "quick format" (maybe I should have?), and started it.

I seem to recall in the past whenever I formatted a new HD there was always a percentage indicator somewhere. Not so here, it just says "Formatting." Is there any way to check that it is actually working? Did I miss something? It's been over an hour already, and I didn't think a 300 GB drive took that long in the past, but I can't recall.
 

CalvinHobbes

Diamond Member
Feb 27, 2004
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I've always seen it at least show a percentage complete. Is the drive activity light on at least?
 

bovinda

Senior member
Nov 26, 2004
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Originally posted by: CalvinHobbes
I've always seen it at least show a percentage complete. Is the drive activity light on at least?

I don't have this one specifically hooked up to the drive light that I know of. I hear activity, but I can't tell which hard drive it is (I have 4 in this computer now, total). I'm trying to cancel the format now and try a quick format...
 

bovinda

Senior member
Nov 26, 2004
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Well, I tried cancelling the format and wasn't able to (I kept selecting it, it just wouldn't let me). I restarted the computer, went back to disk management, and selected "Quick Format" this time. It was done in a couple minutes.

I'm trying to check it for errors right now...how else do you check hard drive performance to see if its working correctly?
 

n7

Elite Member
Jan 4, 2004
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Originally posted by: bovinda
Well, I tried cancelling the format and wasn't able to (I kept selecting it, it just wouldn't let me). I restarted the computer, went back to disk management, and selected "Quick Format" this time. It was done in a couple minutes.

I'm trying to check it for errors right now...how else do you check hard drive performance to see if its working correctly?

http://support.wdc.com/product...upid=612&sid=1&lang=en
http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php (S.M.A.R.T tab)
 

California Roll

Senior member
Nov 8, 2004
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Vista64 clearly shows a % completed indicator inside the graphical box that is supposed to be your HD. The % is next to the word "Formatting" inside the box.

Just FYI, it took me almost 4 hours to do a full format on a 1TB HD. A 500GB HD took me around 2 hours. Both done yesterday via USB2.0 in an external enclosure.
 

bovinda

Senior member
Nov 26, 2004
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I think that either something is wrong with this drive or I did something wrong...it seems to be really, really slow, especially at writing. I started topic about it in "Computer Help" here, if you guys can help at all I would so, so appreciate it, I have no idea what to try.

I downloaded WD's diagnostic tool, its quick test said fine, I'm running an extended test on it overnight. I don't know what the deal is.
 

n7

Elite Member
Jan 4, 2004
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PIO Mode perhaps?

Take a look under device manager under IDE/ATA controllers.
 

bovinda

Senior member
Nov 26, 2004
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Originally posted by: n7
PIO Mode perhaps?

Take a look under device manager under IDE/ATA controllers.

Thanks n7, I checked but didn't see anywhere they said PIO mode, though I might have missed it, I've never heard the term until now. I have 4 IDE controllers, the first is an ATA disk in Ultra DMA 5, the second's an ATA disk in Ultra DMA 6, the third's an ATAPI DVD ROM drive in Ultra DMA 5, and the last one has two ATA disks (with Target ID 0 and 1) in Ultra DMA 5. Does that make sense? There are also two ATA channels (0 and 1) in device manager, but I don't see anything about PIO there.

I hope this is clear - never learned about this before (which is part of the fun, although I wish things were working).

It passed an extended test with WD's Data Lifeguard Diagnostics utility in 7 hours, 12 min last night. Does that sound right...?
 

scruffypup

Senior member
Feb 3, 2006
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When you do a full format, it can take a long time,.. and sometimes won't show ANY progress for a while, harddrive sound and light showing activity can be your only indication sometimes. I think it was formatting fine honestly. A quick format will always go very quick, even a terabyte+ can go in a couple minutes in comparison.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the drive based on what you have stated,... check BIOS settings first and foremost if you suspect slow performance, ensure all drivers are updated for the chipset and such as well,.... if the incorrect drivers or generic drivers for the motherboard chipset are installed,... that could very well be the issue too.
 

bovinda

Senior member
Nov 26, 2004
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I wasn't sure what BIOS settings to check - I've never had this problem before. After doing the quick format to it, I tried installing a game (Oblivion) and it was taking forever...I tried installing it on a different drive just to compare, and it took literally about 1/8 the time to get to the same point. HD Tune's benchmark tests also suggested that the read speeds were great (110-120 MB/sec), but the write speeds never got above 4-5 MB/sec at most.

I ended up RMA'ing it today after talking with a WD support person. What exactly should I check in the BIOS for something like this? I've never had to configure a hard drive before, and if it was my hardware, I'll have the same problem when the new one comes. I don't know anything about controllers, etc. Good time to learn...where should I start?
 

haffey

Senior member
Oct 16, 2008
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Originally posted by: California Roll
Just FYI, it took me almost 4 hours to do a full format on a 1TB HD.
I think my 1TB drive took a while too. I wouldn't know, I left it on overnight. I would say that time sounds about right though.