[SOLVED] Clean install can't format hard drive

Mar 26, 2019
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Hi,

I'm having a weird problem trying to format a new hard drive so I can install Windows 7. When I run the install CD, the drive is unavailable because it's GPT and needs to be NTFS. However, the 'Format' button is greyed out when I select the disk from the menu. I have no idea what to do.
 
Use this:

https://gparted.org/livecd.php

Another way:

From where you were, press Shift+F10 then follow diskpart instructions below or:

1.Insert the disc in the optical drive of your computer
2.Restart the computer
3.Press any key to boot from the disc
4.Select your preferred language, time and keyboard
5.Click Next
6.Click Repair your computer at the Install Windows screen Install Windows 7 Screen
7.Select the operating system from the list
8.Click Next
9.Select Command Prompt Windows 7 System Recovery Options
10.Type diskpart
DISKPART> list disk
DISKPART> select disk (id)
DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly
DISKPART> clean
DISKPART> convert mbr (or gpt)
DISKPART> create partition primary
DISKPART> select part 1
DISKPART> active (if this is the boot partition)
DISKPART> format fs=ntfs label=(name) quick
 
Last edited:
Reactions: greenhenry

Colif

Titan
Moderator
DISKPART> list disk
DISKPART> select disk (id)
DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly
DISKPART> clean
DISKPART> convert mbr (or gpt)
DISKPART> create partition primary
DISKPART> select part 1
DISKPART> active (if this is the boot partition)
DISKPART> format fs=ntfs label=(name) quick

You shouldn't need to convert to MBR after doing a clean as it wipes the hdd and leaves it unallocated. Rest looks okay though the Win 7 installer can create any partitions it needs anyway, so you could just exit after the clean and install win 7.
 
Reactions: greenhenry
Mar 26, 2019
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Hi,

I've tried the gparted route, running it from usb. I get the gparted start screen where it asks you to select how you want to run it, but after selecting the default option I just get taken to a blank screen. I'll try the other instructions now.
 
Mar 26, 2019
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Apologies, I don' t think I've been clear here. There is no operating system currently installed. So I can't select an operating system using 'repair your computer' menu from the Win7 install.

I just tried the command terminal route. When I hit diskpart>active, I get the message 'the selected disk is not a fixed MBR disk. The ACTIVE command can only be used on fixed MBR disks.'

I tried diskpart>conver mbr but get 'Virtual Disk Service error: The specified disk is not convertible. CDROMS and DVDs are examples of disks that are not convertible'.

I'm definitely selecting the right disk.

Thanks for the help, this is so annoying!
 
Mar 26, 2019
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Colif as per your suggestion I ran diskpart>clean again then restarted and went through the Windows 7 install again. This time the disk is being listed as having free space! 'Next' was selectable. However when I hit it I get an error message: 'Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition. See the Setup log files for more information'. I tried hitting the 'New' button (with the sun icon) and then Format, which had become available, but got the same error message after hitting 'next' each time. I don't know how to pull up the log files.
 
Mar 26, 2019
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Ok, I feel like such an idiot. I had another USB drive plugged in and a quick google revealed that's what was leading to the setup error. Thanks so much for your help! Can't choose a best answer because it was both together.
 

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