Problem with XP installation – format taking for ever

I am trying to install Windows XP on a computer that has 2 brand new Seagate 250 GB internal hard drives (these are the only 2 hard drives in the computer). Before I started the installation, I made sure the master drive had the plastic jumper on the first pins and the slave drive does not have any thing on them.

Next I went into the BIOS and made sure the CD-ROM drive was the first listed so the PC would boot from the Windows XP CD. This occurred successfully and brought up the menu on how to install Windows XP. I began the installation process… on the step when it asked me to select the file system, I choose “Format the partition using the NTFS file system”

I then pressed enter. Now I see a screen that says, “Please wait while setup formats the partition”. It has a status bar on the bottom of the screen that says “Setup is formatting…”. Here is my problem because I have been on this screen for almost 18 hours now and the status bar still says 0%.

My question…, is my PC still formatting the drive? If so, how long should it take to format a 250 GB drive? I thought 18 hours would be enough and I also find it strange that the status still says 0%.

If my installation is still not occurring, should I just power down my PC and start over? If so, should I select “Format the partition using the NTFS file system (Quick)”? The only reason I did not select this the first time is that since both of these drives are new and I wanted to make sure the first install was completed successfully to avoid any problems in the future.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice you can provide.

I don’t know if I skipped a step, but for this screen…

The following list shows the existing partitions and unpartitioned space on this computer.

Use the UP and DOWN ARROW keys to select an item in the list.

  • To setup Windows XP on the Selected, press Enter.

  • To create a partition in the unpartiutioned space, press C.

  • To delete the selected partition, press D.

When I was presented with this above screen, it showed me 2 drives each having 238,473 MB. I did not press C before I pressed enter on the first drive. Could this be my problem since it looks like I did not setup a partition?

I would recommend you do the following.
Unplug your slave 250 GB hard drive. Load the Windows XP installation, and try again.
As you did before, use NTFS for the file system.
I have a 160 GB hard drive that took a long time to format, over 12 hours. But your setup cannot be still 0% after 18 hours.
Maybe it freezes up, maybe there’s something on the disc that prevents it from continuing (i.e. a scratch, dust).
So temporarily unplug your slave drive, clean the disc, try again. If it doesn’t work, it might be the disc, but try that and post your results.
As for your other 250 GB drive, you can always install it later when you have Windows installed.
Also, can you list the exact hard drive you have? In my experience with IDE hard drives, there are many pin positions, and you normally have to have at least one pin in each drive.

Thanks for your response. Before you posted, I just unplugged the PC since it was locked up. I then went through the complete install process again but this time I first setup the partition and then I selected the quick format. Since I have done this, everything seems to be working. I have also completed my 100 downloads from Windows Update.

If you have time, any recommendation on how I should setup the slave drive? It has not been formatted and I do not need an operating system on it, I just want to set it up as a 2nd drive on the machine.

Thanks again for the post.

the reason your pc needed forever to format the first time was probably because it hang… maybe it couldnt read properly from the cd or something similar. this kind of things happends all the time :slight_smile:

for installing the 2nd disk:
just plug the 2nd drive in as a slave and boot up, your computer should then alert you with “found new device” (or something similar) and install it, then you can go ahead and format it… if your puter doesnt find the drive, just go to controlpanel and scan for new hardware…

if the drive is sata you might need the drivers, but since you have installed one of them, i assume the drivers would allready be installed :smiley:

Thanks for the advice. I will give that a try. I do have another question. When I start the installation of the 2nd drive, is it going to ask me to format the drive? If so, should I select the quick format or the not quick format? I just don’t want to go through another 18 hour debacle. Also, what should be my expectation of how long it takes to format a 250 GB hard drive?

quick or not quick… thats the question hehe

as it is a new disk i would suggest you do a full format. the quick format wont check the disk for errors the way a full does.
but of course if you know the disk is 100% working there is no need to do a full format. but how can you know when you have not used it yet :wink:

and it should not take so long to do that, and you can work on your computer at the same time

Well, you should change the jumper settings so they’re on slave (assuming it’s IDE, you’ve said something about the jumpers before). It’s important you get it right, otherwise you might have problems.
Plug it in, boot up, then go to your Control Panel, and find Disk Management. Then you format it. I think you’re allowed to do Quick Format, it just basically fills up all the empty space with 0s.
Quick Format should be pretty quick. If you choose not to do Quick then just put it on overnight, and it will be done by the morning for sure.

I followed your instructions about using Disk Management… I started it before I went to bed and I woke up and everything worked perfect. I find it odd that I do one thing and it fails miserably and then I do basically the same thing without an ounce of trouble. Any way, thank you very much for the help. It is appreciated!

thats what makes it so fun :smiley:

I guess you could look at it that way but from a guy who installs drives once every 5 years… it was frustrating. I do appreciate your sense of humor though. :smiley:

Still you have done a good job of it. I had simply no idea that it can take so much of time to format. But doing partition is the key I believe.