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  • Format "Healthy" Raw HDD When Format says disk is defective

    Posted on JimHensel Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Questions: How to troubleshoot hardware problems Format "Healthy" Raw HDD When Format says disk is defective


    This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  mn– 3 months ago.

    • Author
    • #1642136 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I have a 500 Gb HDD that was wiped with 0’s and then again with random characters.  I put it in a USB HDD case with the idea of using it for backups.  I have several computers,  Win 7, 8.1 and 10, and the results are the same in each one.  Computer Management > Disk Management shows the disk having 6 partitions,  including the system of 452 Gb and I guess a Factory Install of 12 Gb.    All are listed as Raw,  all are listed as Healthy,  but they will not format.  The error is defective sectors.   None of the partitions have a letter designation, although when I first used it on my 8.1 laptop the drive showed up as D: and the System Partition also as D:.  The disk doesn’t make any noises and seems mechanically ok.   Device Manager sees the ASMT 2115 Device and Properties does list the disk as basic, online, GPT,  476 Gb and lists all the volumes and their sizes but will not give the properties of any.  It would not check the disk because it isn’t formatted.

      Aomei Partition Pro shows the same Healthy, Raw partitions with 0 data that won’t Format, and an error check shows all the sectors as defective.    A call to Aomei says their program won’t format a disk with all Raw partitions.

      I tried many suggestions from the net and none work.

      Two questions.  1) how can the disk be Healthy and Defective at the same time?  and 2) is it a throw-away?

    • #1647530 Reply

      AskWoody MVP


      Try this in Disk Management:

      1. Delete all of the partitions.
      2. Create a new Simple Volume (Partition) using all of the space.
      3. Try to format it now making sure you choose NTFS as the file system.
      4. If this doesn’t work post back.

      Refer to this tutorial just skip the beginning about shrinking the current volume as you’re just deleting them.

      HTH 😎

      May the Forces of good computing be with you!


      PowerShell & VBA Rule!
      Computer Specs

    • #1651562 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      This is an annoyingly common problem really. A lot of tools on Windows (and MS-DOS too back in the day) just won’t work on a disk that’s formatted too differently from what they expect, or where the formatting metadata is broken.

      Now if you have partition sizes still visible you clearly haven’t overwritten the partition table itself, so the entire disk hasn’t been wiped… or it didn’t take due to write errors.

      It’s possible to have a defect where disks become read-only with the already-stored data being healthy and accessible, you just can’t write any changes… so a wipe fails.
      Depending on tools used and hardware specifics, it may fail to report the write failure too.

      What I usually do in these cases is use a Linux or Unix system (possible a livecd or live-usb) and use dd to overwrite the entire raw disk including the partition table itself with 0. (Some partition table types have metadata in weird locations on the device, so for the general case need to cover all of it.) Despite people saying that it’ll break SSDs… it won’t break a fully working new SSD, but it’ll expose some of those that are already just slightly broken and go over the write lifetime on those near it, particularly if you use a wrong blocksize. (If you have a disk with 4k blocks and wipe it “once” using 512 byte (half a k) blocks, you get 8 full overwrites due to the partial-block read-modify-write cycle. That’ll stress a SSD.)

      And if you still see partition sizes after that and a reboot, it’s the can’t write defect.

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