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External Hard Drive Not Recognized, No Initialize Option

by MomentsHaveYou / September 22, 2007 6:30 AM PDT

I'm running Windows XP and want to use Seagate FreeAgent as an external hard drive. When I first plugged it into my laptop, it was appearing in My Computer. I went to Disk Management, clicked on the drive and accidentally selected Delete Partition. Now, it's not appearing in My Computer. The drive shows up as being unallocated in Disk Management. I've searched the forum, and the advice people wrote was to initialize the disk. I right clicked on the drive in Disk Management, and there's no option for me to do so. There's only a Properties and Help option. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the drive but it didn't do anything. Help.

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Don't panic. That's what is supposed to happen.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 22, 2007 11:29 AM PDT

Unallocated space will have no drive letter. To get it working again, go back to that display and right click on it to create a nice NTFS partition and then quick format it.

You'll be back in shape in no time...


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by MomentsHaveYou / September 22, 2007 2:53 PM PDT

Thank you, it worked! I was seriously starting to panic.

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You're welcome.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 22, 2007 11:43 PM PDT
In reply to: TY

At least you aren't collecting Geeksquad receipts like a few people I've run into...


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Unallocated hard drive
by R-dean / February 2, 2010 12:28 AM PST

I was very interested to read the reply to the previous problem. Mine is vagualy similar, but ...

I had a RAID pair of 1 TB SATA drives, both operated through a PCI RAID controller card. Everything was on these drives (set as a mirrored RAID pair), including XP Pro OS and all data. Suddenly, after working well for several months, the PC locked and died. I have now transferred the PCI controller card and the drives to an older PC with an IDE C drive (also running XP Pro), so I can see, in Windows, what these two SATA drives are actually doing.

They are both visible in the PCI card's boot-up before Windows loads, they both appear in Device Manager and both also appear in Disk Management (after right clicking on 'My Computer' and 'Manage'), but only in the lower section and then showing their correct size, no volme label or drive letter and as 'unallocated'. Right clicking here gives me the option of 'initializing' but not (as worked for the previous questioner in this thread) the ability to create a new partition or anything else.

I was led to believe by the person who set the PC for me that if one of the RAID pair discs went down, I could boot up on the other one and then make a copy of the good one. So all my data is locked on both of the drives so I live in the hope that I can revive these two drives and that they are both OK but imply not accesible to me at the moment. I don't want to follow the 'initialize' route without guidance as I fear that could lead to formating them and losing all the data. Having set up a RAID pair, which I thought was safe enough, I don't have this data backed up anywhere else. To make matters worse it contains all the data I need to run a charity!

All in all, not a good day. Any help or guidance would be very gratefully received. Thank you.

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I was led to believe by the person who set the PC for me
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 2, 2010 1:56 AM PST
In reply to: Unallocated hard drive

"I was led to believe by the person who set the PC for me that if one of the RAID pair discs went down, I could boot up on the other one and then make a copy of the good one."

Let's see the documentation on the RAID controller to see if that was true. But here's the real truth. This is no substitute for a backup copy.

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Unallocatable Hard Drive - Data Rescue
by R-dean / February 2, 2010 2:43 AM PST

It was a person who told me that RAID was bullet-proof, not any hardware literature.

Are you able to help, please?

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To help I need one thing.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 2, 2010 5:48 AM PST

The make, model of the raid controller so I can read the manual. Not that I'll read it alone as you get to as well but it will tell me or should tell us about how to recover a failed RAID 1 setup.

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RAID Controller Details
by R-dean / February 2, 2010 6:00 PM PST

Sure. It's a Silicon Image SIL3512 (1.5 GB/s) 2 port PCI card. Unfortunately, the info it comes with is generic to all their cards, I think, and it only gives installation details.

If it helps (and apologies if this is too much info), just to give you the background, pre-crash, as I remember it.

The PC was only running this RAID 1 pair of SATA drives through the PCI controller card. The M/B is too old to support SATA and I needed the drive capacity but could no longer buy large enough IDE drives.

When booting up last Thursday morning, the PCI controller card BIOS read-out said RAID was in a critical state (rather than the usual "will rebuild when boot has been completed" message). Pressing F4 to look at the controler BIOS, it showed that disc '0' was "active" and disc '1' had (I think it said) "dropped out". In my ignorance, I thought I would be able to (as the BIOS calls it) 'delete the RAID pair' and would still be able to use just the '0' drive, but no bootable drive was found.

I then added an old IDE drive as the 'C' drive and loaded windows XP. And that's the set up I now have, which allows me to see what the SATA drives look like in Windows. As mentioned in my previous posting, they are detected during boot-up in the controller's BIOS but Disk Management only displays the presence of the SATA drives in its lower pane and shows both as 'unallocated' (I seem to remember not formating them when they were installed - is this why, I wonder?).

There's one bit of good news. I have another spare 1TB SATA hard drive. If just one of the old SATA drives failed, which I prtesume it did, would I be able to run the remaining good one (assuming it's OK) and plug the new unused drive into the controller card as well and then try to rebuilt the RAID 1 pair, which might put things back to normal?

I meant to say that I changed the controller card (with an identical one) and that didn't sort the problem.

Again, many thanks for yor help.


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That helped.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 2, 2010 11:56 PM PST

"delete the RAID pair' and would still be able to use just the '0' drive,"

There it is. No manual will save us now. It's not unlike us deleting a partition from a drive. We deleted the RAID so unless ZERO ASSUMPTION RECOVERY (google these) or GETDATABACK can help I have to suggest the drive be sent to for recovery.

Sorry to read about your loss.

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Is all really lost?!
by R-dean / February 3, 2010 12:27 AM PST
In reply to: That helped.

Thanks for this, but I'm hoping it's not that bad. I've actually been through this once before. When one of the SATA drives failed, I 'deleted the RAID' in the PCI card's BIOS settings and the PC booted up on just the remaining good drive (which is exactly how the benfits of RAID 1 was originally sold to me as such a good idea!)

I was told by a PC engineer at the time that 'delete' RAID pairing, in this case, simply means switch off the RAID pairing. I then replaced the faulty drive and 'created a RAID pair' in the BIOS settings and it started rebuilding a matching pair again. This time, though, it wouldn't do that for some reason.

Hence my enquiry about whether I could add another 1TB SATA drive and see if this will work again. In particular, I was worried that I could plug the old and new drives the wrong way around - don't they RAID build from '0' to '1' and NOT the other way around!!

I have got a download of "Recover My Files" standing by, but I was hoping it wouldn't come to that.


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Not lost yet.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 3, 2010 1:48 AM PST
In reply to: Is all really lost?!

But the delete the raid was where I think it all went wonky. In your average RAID you don't do that unless you want to wipe out and start over (I have a slight advantage of setting up a few too many RAIDs over the years.)

This is why I would use ZAR and GETDATABACK first. I would NEVER WRITE TO THIS DRIVE as that will assure recovery to next happen.

I would obtain another drive to hold what I recover.

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While there's hope...
by R-dean / February 3, 2010 3:27 AM PST
In reply to: Not lost yet.

I'm now trying data recovery on the two separated SATA discs and here's hoping I can get the data from one of them.

Thanks for all your help and words of wisdon, Bob.

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Need Help
by Neeraju123 / July 31, 2010 4:48 PM PDT
In reply to: While there's hope...

I have 750 GB Western Digital External HDD. Lats night the power went off and the external HDD got switched off( as it runs on external Power). Now when i trying to reconnect the HDD it does not present on My Computer but it gets displayed on 'Device Manager-->Disk Drives' and under 'Disk management' as"Disk 2 Unknown Not Initialized ". It has got all my office data which I work upon. Need help to retrieve the data.

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We covered this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 1, 2010 3:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Need Help

Above the titles were noted and this forum's sticky lists a few others you can try without purchase. As a rule I don't duplicate an answer if it's in the discussion.

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Any luck?
by kamandagcom / March 5, 2011 1:45 AM PST
In reply to: Need Help

Have you got an answer for your question. We are in a similar situation and stuck for months without a luck yet. Please let me know. If you have resolved yours.



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You rock
by tmherrin / March 6, 2010 2:22 PM PST

Thanks for explaining how to do this - I had an old 40gb drive that I pulled and was going to convert it to an external drive - it wouldn't work at all. So I 'googled' how to fix it and your advice popped up. And now I am up and running.

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External Hard Drive not detecting
by seth_19831983 / December 22, 2011 12:44 PM PST


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Hi Seth.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 22, 2011 11:43 PM PST

Posting in an old discussion is not a good idea. It means that you didn't find the create new discussion or all the posts above apply.

If I took your post on its own I would say this is proper for a new drive. We are still required to do the basic work of creating a partition and formatting the drive.

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