S h o r t S t o r i e s

// Tales from software development

"The format did not complete successfully"

with one comment

As described in previous posts, Where are we now, or, what can you get for £99 ? and Adaptec RAID 1220SA card, I recently bought a server and wanted to install a RAID Contoller in it. I gave up on the 1220SA card as described in the post mentioned above and have been trying to get hold of the new Adaptec 2405 RAID Controller card for the past two months. It finally arrived on Friday last week. On Saturday morning I installed it in the server, attached a couple of 1Tb drives, and set them up in a RAID 1 configuration. I started Windows and then formatted the array using Windows Explorer. I decided to do a full format which ran for about 20 hours. At the end of formatting, this message was displayed:

“The format did not complete successfully”

No other details were available and nothing showed up in the event log. I tried running the command a few more times using the Quick Format option. Then I tried dropping the drive assignment and reassigning a new drive letter and running the format again. That didn’t work. I tried a few other things – I restarted the machine, I tried running the format from the Administrator Tools Disk Management Console, but the result was always the same.

The lack of more detailed error information was frustrating. I tried running the format command in a command window:

C:\Users\Administrator>format d: /fs:ntfs /q
The type of the file system is RAW.
The new file system is NTFS.
Proceed with Format (Y/N)? y
QuickFormatting 953866M
Volume label (32 characters, ENTER for none)?
Creating file system structures.
The second NTFS boot sector is unwriteable.
The first NTFS boot sector is unwriteable.
All NTFS boot sectors are unwriteable.  Cannot continue.
Format failed.

Finally, some useful information! It still wasn’t clear what the problem was but at least I could search for ‘boot sector is unwriteable’, etc., for a hint as to what the problem was. Most of the hits returned from this search suggested recreating the partition and using the command line tools to do this and to format the drive.

I ran the diskpart command and deleted the existing partition, created a new one, and formatted it:

DISKPART> list disk
  Disk ###  Status      Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  ----------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online       149 GB      0 B
  Disk 1    Online       931 GB      0 B
DISKPART> select disk 1
Disk 1 is now the selected disk.
DISKPART> list partition
  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Primary            932 GB  1024 KB
DISKPART> select partition 1
Partition 1 is now the selected partition.
DISKPART> delete partition
DiskPart successfully deleted the selected partition.
DISKPART> list partition
There are no partitions on this disk to show.
DISKPART> create partition primary
DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.
DISKPART> list partition
  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
* Partition 1    Primary            931 GB  1024 KB
DISKPART> format fs=ntfs quick label="Data"
  100 percent completed
DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.
DISKPART> list part
  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
* Partition 1    Primary            931 GB  1024 KB
Leaving DiskPart...

I restarted Windows and confirmed that the drive was formatted and usable. It’s still not clear to me why the drive couldn’t be formatted using the Windows Explorer format command or the Disk Management command.


Written by Sea Monkey

July 20, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Environments, Hardware

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. Windows doesn’t always like to work in this way, I don’t know why, but I have almost had to revert to DOS to get a proper format done. These days I use third party tools.


    September 14, 2008 at 7:21 pm

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