Cannot initialize 4TB external hard drive in Windows 7 64-bit using

  • Mawg

    I have a new 4TB drive, which I want to use as an external drive with my laptop (Windows 7 ultimate, 64-bit).

    From all that I can read, my Windows version should support it, but I can't find anything about using it as an external drive (not that I think that should make any difference, but ...).

    When I go to Disk Management on my laptop, I am told that I must initialize the disk. I choose to do so as GPT because that will support > 2TB and MBR will not. I get an error "The device is not ready" and the disk is shown as "not initialized".

    However, if I insert the disk into a desktop as an internal drive then I can create a 4TB partition. I can copy a text file to that, edit it, rename it, delete it.

    If I remove the disk from the desktop and connect it externally to the laptop, I get the same problem - disk not initialized / device not ready.

    So, I put the disk back into the desktop and see the 4TB partition with its single lonely text file. Hmmm. I repatriation the disk to have 2 partitions each a little less than 2TB - presumably at least the first of these would be visible on the laptop, if not both?

    Nope, same problem: when I connect it externally to the laptop, I get the same problem - disk not initialized / device not ready.

    I have googled extensively, but can find not help. Hopefully someone here knows better ...

    [Update] @Karan (+1) Did you just buy a bare drive and pop it into an enclosure? If so the enclosure might very well be to blame for this.

    gronostaj, thanks fpr the suggestion. I can't initialize it as MBR either - "the device is not ready"

    Yes, I did. Can you explain how I might be able to use this drive?

  • Answers
  • Mawg

    It turns out that at the current time (May 2013) most external housings support max 3TB. I was using one of those multi-purpose IDE/SATA 2.5"/3.5" converters which explains why it didn't work.

    I just bought a new USB 3 external housing which is one of the few which support 4TB and it works beautifully

  • Related Question

    windows - 2TB external drive, disk initialization: MBR or GPT
  • poke

    I just bought a new 2TB disk drive I plan to use as an external drive (connected via eSATA). When I started my computer it recognized the drive fine, but when I got into the Disk Management, a popup told me that I have to initialize that drive and I have to choose between MBR and GPT layout.

    The drive will be primarily used on Windows 7 computers (both x86 and x64) as well as on a Windows Vista x64 computer (which is the one the message appeared on).

    I do not plan to create multiple partitions on that drive as it is only supposed to be a data storage disk.

    Which partition layout should I choose, MBR or GPT? The dialog itself recommends to use GPT on drives >= 2TB or on Itanium based computers, but I want to make sure that I will be able to access the drive later on my other computers.

  • Related Answers
  • CJM

    GPT will not be usable by XP and earlier systems (I think), so avoid it if that is an issue. Not having seen an XP machine in 3 years it's not an issue for me so I use it in preference to MBR, but it makes little difference at this point in time. At some point, you will have to use GPT, until then, make a choice.

  • BloodPhilia

    As of now, support for GPT among common systems is limited. Check out the list of supported OSes here: