JJ Johnson

Problems formatting 2TB drive

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I have a 2TB Samsung EcoGreen F3 drive (model HD203WI) that I'm trying to format on a Windows Server 2003 SP2 32-bit system. I've attempted to format it twice, and both times it's stalled at the 55% mark.

The motherboard in the system is a Tyan S5211G2NR with an Intel 3210 chipset and ICHR9 southbridge. I've read of others having similar problems, but only with nVidia chipsets. This same drive had previously formatted with no problems under Ubuntu 10.04 64-bit on the same computer, so I'm inclined to think the BIOS and chipset don't have any inherent problems with the drive.

Any thoughts on what's going on? I also have an XP Pro SP3 32-bit system available, but haven't yet tried formatting the drive on that computer.

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I don't think so. Seems too coincident with the reports I'm reading elsewhere of users running into the same thing at the 54/55% mark when formatting 2TB drives.

I tried updating the motherboard's Windows drivers to the latest from Tyan and made another attempt at formatting. Pretty much the same results, although it hung up at 54% for a long while before displaying 55% and hanging there.

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How do you know?

I dont understand you people. You can spend hours and days putting in and out motherboards, removing and installing drives trying to find hte problem... yet you can't spend 2 mins to read some SMART data.

I don't think so. Seems too coincident with the reports I'm reading elsewhere of users running into the same thing at the 54/55% mark when formatting 2TB drives.

I tried updating the motherboard's Windows drivers to the latest from Tyan and made another attempt at formatting. Pretty much the same results, although it hung up at 54% for a long while before displaying 55% and hanging there.

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I dont understand you people.

Having now read some of your other posts, I find that very easy to believe.

S.M.A.R.T. info below. This drive had formerly been in use for a couple of months formatted ext3 under Linux and was about 2/3 full.

post-60227-12825596662869_thumb.png

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Looks good.

Decrease in spin-up time value (from 100) is and indication of spindle bearing problem or weak PSU voltages. I don't think this is the problem, I was more looking into pendings and UNCs.

Spindle issues are nasty, drive just die. I have one drive with weak bearing (Spin-retry count keeps increasing at every boot). But this drive is going on for 6 years now. I also had one drive that just died as soon as it developed spindle problems.

If you have time, take it offline and run manufacturer's diagnostics on it from CD.

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The spin up time is perfectly normal for a Samsung drive. There is nothing wrong with the value and no need to run diagnostics.

As for the 55% format issue I would suggest running a scan with R-Studio as it gives you a slightly more detailed error message, but my finger would point at driver issues. You're hitting an error at almost exactly 1TiB (0.997 by my calcs). I know for a fact that the ICH9M southbridge has no issue with >1 TB drives with the right BIOS and drivers. Check if your BIOS is running in ACHI mode or RAID mode or legacy IDE mode and you have the latest chipset and SATA drivers from Intel.

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I agree, it looks like a driver issue. Enabling SATA AHCI in BIOS and switching to AHCI drivers could solve the problem (if you're not already running in AHCI mode). Beware, however, enabling AHCI may cause Windows to BSOD during boot due to missing drivers.

When troubleshooting this, you could probably save some time by doing a quick scan with HD Tune instead of doing a time consuming full format each time you're testing. Or you could use a disk hex editor (like the freeware HxD hexeditor) and see if you can read sectors >=2147483648 (0x80000000 hex) directly without getting errors.

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I ended up doing a quick format, which the system had no problem doing. An R-Studio scan showed no problems.

Ended up saying screw it and started copying (not moving) files to the drive to see if it would run into a barrier at 1 TB, but it has no problems and is currently at about 82% full. I'll use it for a while longer, fill it up completely, delete some stuff, defrag it a couple times. If I see no problems I'll call it good to go.

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I had a similar problem with 1.5 TB seagate 7200.11 drive, where format always stalled at 70 something %. Could have been at 1 TiB point as well. That was also using 32bit Win2k3, SATA ports in legacy mode. After a few stalled full format attempts with 2k3 i tried it on WinXP system, where format finished ok. I plugged it back to the 2k3 system, scanned it with hd tune, found nothing alarming and then just quickformatted it and filled it with data to try it out. So far there hasn't been any other problems with that drive.

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Nice find. Thanks. Wonder why it only manifests itself with some drives and not others.

My guess is the bug they found would be what in programming speak would be "the result of doing this is undefined" meaning, you can't really assume what is going to happen due to the bug.

A simple example would be using an un-initialized variable. It may work, it may not. The results are undefined.

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