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Formatting SCSI hard drive

theophilus

OSNN Junior Addict
#1
I installed a SCSI hard drive in a friends computer for him. It is hooked up through an adaptec card with built in bios (can't remember the exact number off the top of my head). Anyway, when I booted his system back up, and went into the bios for the card, I was unable to get the drive to format (takes 10 years with those cards on a fast computer). So I tried to use a windows install disk to use the partition tool on it, but it didn't show the drive. When I started up the computer though, the drive is recognized in the device manager, it just isn't present anywhere else. I tried installing new hardware, but that didn't work either. I am pretty sure the problem is that there is no format or partition on the drive, but I am unable to figure out a way to get it on there. Any suggestions?


Thought I would add, I also updated the Bios to the most recent version available prior to installing the hard drive, so the bios shouldn't be a problem.
 

cpugeniusmv

Computer Genius
#2
see if you can see it in Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Computer Management->Disk Management

if you can, you can probably partition and format the drive from there.
 

Son Goku

No lover of dogma
#4
I installed a SCSI hard drive in a friends computer for him. It is hooked up through an adaptec card with built in bios (can't remember the exact number off the top of my head). Anyway, when I booted his system back up, and went into the bios for the card, I was unable to get the drive to format (takes 10 years with those cards on a fast computer).
Did you format this from within the SCSI card's BIOS? If so, what this performs is a low level format and is not the same as an OS (or high level) format. These also take a super long time. Typically the manufacturer on a hard drive performs one of these before the hard drive is sold, and so there isn't necessarily a need for a user to perform one.

If this did not complete, or was not formatted correctly, I wouldn't be surprised if there's difficulty partitioning the drive.

BTW, I just booted out to my SCSI BIOS (my card is an Adaptec SCSI Card 29160), and the option you no doubt selected is under SCSI tools. I went in far enough to see what you probably did, but I won't proceed to perform this. It seemed to have nothing to do with formating partitions, and looks everything like a low level format.

OK, some links on this:

From Adaptec's site

http://adaptec-tic.adaptec.com/cgi-...X4mcF9jYXRfbHZsMT1_YW55fiZwX3BhZ2U9MQ**&p_li=

Looking elsewhere, there is a range of mention from

Modern hard drives are low-level formatted at the factory for the life of the drive. A PC can not perform an LLF on a modern IDE/ATA or SCSI hard disk, and doing so would destroy the hard disk.
http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/L/LLF.html

to other sites mentioning it just is not commonly needed

Note : There are times when a drive needs to be "low level" formatting. This is not done normally, but if the needs arises go to the "Low Level Format" page for more information.
http://www.techadvice.com/tech/H/HardDriveFormat.htm

to other sites that say

Important drive information (servo, sector layout, and defect management, etc.) is stored in the low-level format at the factory. This information is designed to last the life of the drive and therefore it is not possible to low level the drive outside the factory. Although some drive manufactures and BIOS provided so-called "low level format utilities", they actually perform a write-read verify of the drive’s user data sectors, and do not actually perform a low-level format.
http://www.ariolic.com/activesmart/low-level-format.html

Personally, I've never used this part of my Adaptec card's BIOS, and given that such a format is done at factory, haven't yet run into a need, for would I take the risk unless the need was there. There is a possible work of caution in all of this.
 

theophilus

OSNN Junior Addict
#5
cpugeniusmv said:
see if you can see it in Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Computer Management->Disk Management

if you can, you can probably partition and format the drive from there.

I tried that already, and it wasn't present.
 

theophilus

OSNN Junior Addict
#6
I've installed this same hard model hard drive in other computers before. One time I had this same type of problem, but I was able to format it using fdisk in a Windows ME startup/install disk. I don't have that disk anymore.
 

Son Goku

No lover of dogma
#8
theophilus said:
I've installed this same hard model hard drive in other computers before. One time I had this same type of problem, but I was able to format it using fdisk in a Windows ME startup/install disk. I don't have that disk anymore.
Coupla quick questions. It sounds very much like you performed a low level format here (that's what will be initiated if one selects this in the SCSI BIOS) based on the wording of your post.

1. Is this what you did?
2. Model, and are you sure it's OK with this drive?
3. Did this complete, or get interupted in the middle of the process (rebooted or anything), perhaps thinking it hung?

Even given Adaptec's info (that I provided), and they give the most optomistic proposition for this, they indicate

It's never recommended and not really safe to turn-off the computer or reset the computer in the middle of a hard drive low-level format procedure. This may make a hard drive unusable for future use and could void a drive manufacturer's warranty for service...If, however, the operating system installation fails, then one should consider having the drive tested or serviced.

...While the low-level format is in progress, the controller is not longer issuing a command and is now in an idle mode awaiting for a reply from the hard drive to tell the controller that the process is complete. Until this is done, the message presented on the screen from the Low Level Format utility will simply say that the device is formatting and to "please wait." This often times can be construed as a system lockup.
taken right straight from Adaptec's site.

BTW, I have sometimes had some success with a boot disk for DR-DOS 7.03, where DOS or win9x boot disks didn't work.
 

theophilus

OSNN Junior Addict
#9
After reading my initial post, even I was a bit confused at what I did. It was late when I posted it, and I was getting ready to leave town for a few days. My friend is frantic to get this hard drive working, so I put up a quick post before leaving.

I can't remember if I tried to format (low level) the hard drive through the card's bios, and got unable to (received an error message); or if I actually started the low level format, and forced the computer to restart because it appeared froze up. I don't think I even tried to format it through the bios because I know how long it takes (did it once before on another computer), and even then, I still had to format the drive and partition it with a bootdisk. I believe all I have tried is through formatting it through the OS, and then with the XP install disk. I will go to the bootdisk link provided, and try that. It will be a couple days before I get over to my friends house to do that, so if anyone else comes up with any ideas, please post them.
 

Son Goku

No lover of dogma
#10
Hopefully not...though I can see how that could happen. As low level formating isn't something one tends to have to do anymore (and on IDE drives it could be bad), lots of peeps who have worked on computers for several years, might not have run into this before to know... At least it seems you have encountered this before, so will assume this didn't happen.

What I'd suggest is to make a good faith effort to get the drive partitioned, you might try a win9x boot disk, DR DOS (sometimes worked for me where others failed), winXP installer, etc. If not, see if you can try it on another system and run a chkdsk. If it comes back with something like "track 0, sector 0 bad" or complains about the MBR, or a good faith effort to get it working does nothing, call the store up where it was bought, and look into an RMA.
 

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