External hard drive failed to initialize

by Jane / Tue Jan 16 2018 / UPDATED in Partition Magic Server

We converted an external hard drive to FAT32 without data loss in the last tutorial, did you succeed? have you met some errors? may be an error like the external hard drive failed to initialize.

What to do when this error happens? We have three solutions to fix this:

  • Use the initialize option in Partition Expert
  • Chkdsk in cmd.exe to check the disk
  • Clean the disk in cmd.exe if the disk is empty

The fastest way of fixing this problem is to use Partition Expert, we suppose you have opened our program and found the external hard drive has no convert to FAT32 option after reload. Now, you can check the sidebar to see if there’s an option called Initialize, click on it to initialize disk if it’s available.

And then in the opened initialized window, choose MBR or GPT from the Partitioning scheme column, if it’s the 500GB external hard drive, the MBR option would be just fine.

Then click OK and Commit to initialize.


> Chkdsk is the built-in command to check and fix disk and file system errors, we can try this method to fix the initialize problem with the following commands after you run cmd.exe as administrator :

                > chkdsk /? 
                //to see the help of this command
                > chkdsk /f D: 
                //this is to fix the specified drive errors
                > exit

Wait for a few seconds and it will show the report, if works, you can open Windows File Explorer, the connected external hdd will be listed there.

CMD check disk

Clean is another command built-in diskpart.exe, the function is like its name, clean the specific disk with or without error, you can take it as advanced deleted or format, because this command will clean out the disk and leaves nothing, if there’s no data on the external hard drive, you can try the commands below after you’ve run diskpart.exe as administrator:

                > select disk 1
                > attributes disk clear readonly
                > online disk
                > select disk 1
                > clean
                > convert gpt
                > create partition primary
                > format quick fs=ntfs 

or other disk listed in at the end, which always represents the external hard drive.

Cmd format