Can't format my second hard drive


Aug 22, 2013
Alright so my computer had a virus so I decided to reinstall windows. The virus was filling up my hard drive with I don't know what. Anyways reinstalled windows and it kept a folder titled old windows. I tried deleting it and it was taking forever there wasn't much in there so I looked in my properties and the file size appeared to be growing! I figured the virus didn't get wiped. I run two hard drives so I reformatted my second one and unplugged my main one. Installed windows on the secondary hard drive. Then I plugged my other hard drive in and reformatted it. Reinstalled windows on my main one and am currently running off of that. The old pc folder was empty on both of them so I don't think anything could have spread. Unfortunately now it won't let me reformat my second hard drive now. Any ideas? It just says windows was unable to complete format when I try.


Jul 27, 2009

If you have nothing to lose in the form of critical data i.e. photos, documents etc then I would recommend that you download a Linux distro boot disk i.e. Ubuntu and format both drives and if possible perform a low-level format i.e. write zeros to the drives. Once complete then re-install your OS as you would.

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Your problem is that the second HDD has or had Windows installed on it. So, even though you are not trying to boot from that unit, Windows will not Format it, in order to protect you from destroying the Windows installed there.

elmo2006 has a good suggestion -make sure everything is backed up in another safe place, and then use a utility to zero fill both units. Them re-install Windows and all apps on one of them, Initialize the other, and restore everything from backups. That's the thorough way.

You could try a shorter route in this sequence:

1. Disconnect the drive that you want to be booting from. Leave the second drive connected.
2. Set up your BIOS Boot Priority to boot first from the optical drive, and next from the only HDD still connected, the "second" one. Put your Windows Install CD in the optical drive, SAVE and EXIT from BIOS Setup. The machine will boot from the Install CD.
3. Start as if you were going to Install Windows on an old HDD that contains junk data. That it, use the menus to Delete any and all Partitions on that HDD. When it is all Unallocated Space, back out and do not continue the Install.
4. Remove the Install CD and shut down. Reconnect the "first" HDD that you want to boot from. Boot and go directly into BIOS Setup and re-adjust your Boot Priority to boot from the correct HDD as the second choice, and NO mention of trying to boot from the other HDD. SAVE and Exit, and your machine should boot properly.
5. Use Disk Management to Initialize the second HDD - on newer Windows, this is Create a New Simple Volume.

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