I just installed a new SATA disk, and was a little surprised that it did not appear on Windows Explorer as soon as I had installed it in a caddy and connected it via the caddy’s USB port. Then I remembered that I would have to partition the disk, which is done via Administrative Tools | Computer Management (Administrative Tools is available from Control Panel, then select the Storage | Disk Management item from the tree at the left of the screen). The unallocated (as in – not allocated to a particular type of disk partition) appears in the list as a black-barred-box, as per the screen-shot below. I right-clicked, and tried to create a partition, but to no avail, as every time I got the message: “The operation cannot be completed because the disk is not initialized.” This quick post is about the simple solution to that problem.
Try all you will, there is no initialize option (or Initialise if you prefer the English – but you definitely won’t find that spelling in Windows) when right-clicking the main drive box, or anything apparent on the top-menu. However, if you click in the little box highlighted with a red outline above – i.e. the box which describes the disk capacity,then you will find an initialize option. Click that, and you will be presented with options for how you want to disk to be initialised; I selected MBR or Master Boot Record… and two seconds later you’re done. (Sorry, the screen-shot above is taken after initialisation, so I don’t recall if it was different before [Update - see the next screenshot for what you should expect to see - note how the left box says 'Not Initialized']).
The drive is still not allocated, however, but you can proceed with assigning the physical space on the disk to different partitions by using the right-click menu on the larger right-hand box:
I’m not going to go into the details of how you would want to configure partitions on a new drive, but I just wanted to document the hidden location of the ‘Initialize Disk’ option.
Like one of the comments below, I recently experienced an issue with Initializing a new USB disk, when I received a ‘Data Error (Cyclic Redundancy Check)’ error during initialization. To cut a long story short, in that instance the problem was with power. The drive was USB-powered, and although it appeared to turn on OK when I plugged it in with one of the cables, it looked like it was functioning. It was only when I plugged in both USB cables (the additional one to help provide extra power) that it operated, and in fact then it showed that it did not even need to be initialized at all! (it had already been formatted etc).
One other problem related to this disk was that even with both USB plugs plugged-in at the computer end, recognition of the drive was still flaky, and required a reboot just for the drive to be recognised and for the drive to be displayed under My Computer.