I was formatting a WD Caviar Blue 640GB hard drive using Darik's Boot and Nuke (writing zeros method), and suddenly power in the house went out so computer did shot down. It was on about 30% on pass 1 of 3 passes.

When I booted computer to start the process again, hard drive is not listed anymore. I tried rebuilding and deleting MBR using installation disk, Hirens, even Windows Data Lifeguard Diagnostics say's the MBR table is locked by another program and bunch of other software, but still can't make it work. In Windows disk manager shows disk unknown not initialized I/O error. Tried fixing with DiskPart but no success.

Is there any other way to fix it?

I used the folowing software to test HDD:

  • HDDScan v4.0
  • HDTune v2.55
  • WD Data Lifeguard Diagnostics v1.31
  • AOMEI Partition Assistant v7.0.1
  • EaseUS Partition Master 13.0
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
  • Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN)
  • Hard Disk Sentinel
  • MBRWizard 3.0.73
  • DISKPART (Windows)
  • bootrec.exe (Console using Windows installation disc)

OS used for testing:

  • Linux Mint
  • Arch Linux
  • Windows 10
  • 1
    Have you tried a live Linux image? If it doesn't show up for the Linux kernel, and low level tools, then you are probably screwed. If Linux sees it then I can tell you how to recover the disk. Apr 23, 2019 at 12:10
  • 2
    Adding onto @GuyGastineau’s comment, if you can boot into Linux you can dd if=/dev/null of=<your disk> to nuke the MBR/GPT partitions regardless of file locks.
    – Candunc
    Apr 23, 2019 at 13:09
  • 1
    @Slasher "drive doesn't show up," What does it means? Have you seen if there is the /dev/sd... or /dev/hd... that is not the working HDD? It should be useful to know where (on which sector) it stopped when there was the power failure, if you have some log. Please edit your question adding links to the program you were using.
    – Hastur
    Apr 24, 2019 at 9:06
  • 1
    @Candunc+ copying from /dev/zero might help depending on what the actual disk hardware state is, but /dev/null absolutely won't. Apr 28, 2019 at 6:48
  • 1
    @dave_thompson_085 yep, /dev/zero is what I meant. Thanks for catching that. I’ve had Mac OS refuse to format because of corrupted partitions and zeroing it can be used as a last resort.
    – Candunc
    Apr 28, 2019 at 13:57

3 Answers 3


Practically, the disk is dead, but I've found a few things that could wring a little life off of a dead drive.

If your filesystem alone is the issue, you could run a tool that works device level, like shred in order to zero out the drive completely, and doing a reformat. I'd recommend a "full" format, and doublechecking by using a badblocks option (in linux) or chkdsk in windows with the appropriate switches - /b would work for ntfs, and /R for other filesystems.

In theory zeroing out and reformatting the drive kicks in the drive's own bad block checking and error correction, and I've kind of gotten a 'dead' drive that underwent a similar scenario running for a short time (then dying, then coming back to life, then dying again finally).

That said, you really also need to consider the health of the drive as a whole. Modern drives have a reasonable ability to self test. I'm a fan of gsmartcontrol since it highlights problem values, but I'd recommend running a short test, then if it passes a long test. If either disk health checks fail, you're better off binning the drive.

Smart Statistics are also handy - I've another answer that goes into detail on these, and if you can't get smart statistics, well the drive is also dead


Age can be a factor. If it's true that the hard drive is 11 years old, it's about time to replace it.

In my experience, any hardware that's is more than 5 years old can be unreliable. That's just me speaking from my experience.

With what you have already done, it would be best use of your time to replace the hardware. Any extra effort is just a waste.

Hard drives are inexpensive these days. Get one from a reputable company, Best Buys, New Egg, etc.

  • This is genuinely the only reasonable and realistic answer here. Apr 24, 2019 at 23:58
  • Re: the last line: Is avoid a used hard drive at all costs. You don’t know what kind of abuse they’ve been through.
    – Cole Tobin
    Apr 25, 2019 at 18:19

Formatting only affects the data itself while disk recognition is handled by a chip inside the HDD. That's mean your formatting cannot be the cause as long as data and disk recognition are handled by different parts.

So the most probable scenario is the chip didn't supported the power loss, maybe he suffered from a temporary high tension (preceding the power loss in your house) that killed your HDD.

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