Why can it be so hard to restore drives to factory default?

Since my first computer in 1995, I have been involved in partitioning and various forms of disk management. I found it interesting and a way to manage local storage on a computer in case the operating system malfunctions frequently. Back then, there weren’t many alternatives, there were fewer smaller disks, and data segmentation into different logical units had some …logic. PowerQuest Partition Magic was a favourite for this.

Later, this is not necessary in the same way, but as storage capacity increases and changes character, RAID is often used on more advanced configurations that require some redundancy.

This brings a new look at disk management. I won’t go into this, but suddenly a long list of new challenges arises. RAID that breaks down, disks that are pulled out of their RAID and whose partition table must be restored to the factory before they can be used again, and similar circumstances are why I am writing this post.

When you pull a disk out of a RAID, it is essential to, logically, tell the RAID controller not to use the disk anymore, and restore it to its original capacity and factory settings. If you don’t do that, there is a theoretical risk that it will be a minor hell to restore the disk. Now I have no less than 6 disks of two brands that refuse to understand that they should be restored. If I insert them again in the RAID controller, there are no additional options to remove or restore the disk in the “right” way. I have had challenges with RAID and managed to solve them previously.

2 of these disks happen to be Western Digital WD30EURX. Both are 3TB.

I have been working on them for several days now, and we can start by stating that S.M.A.R.T is ok on all of them. No visible physical faults. They all pass WD’s tool diagnostics. But, there is nothing in the tools that can restore them to factory capacity.

All disks are, of course, GPT to begin with.

When replacing them with other drives I removed them and did everything right in the raid controller configuration but now they are no longer back to default capacity of 3 TERABYTE but report their sizes as 2,7 GIGABYTE.

They are all healthy in Windows Disk Management, but I can’t format them to full capacity. Literally. Initialization and spin up or down work, but there must be something in the file allocation table or LBA that messes things up, but I can’t find it.

Example from RAID Controller configuration.

I have tried various tools for surface scanning and partition management, and nothing finds any faults. I try to enter the factory value for LBA, which is already there, but it doesn’t help. HDSentinel detects that something is wrong but doesn’t explain what can be done about it. DiskGenius finds no errors. Diskpart doesn’t give an error when running “clean all,” but it doesn’t produce results either. Gparted also finds no errors or seems to be able to do anything special.

What to do?

Which is correct.

Marketing and Sales use Base 10 math to keep it simple for consumers

So, your 3TB Western Digital WD30EURX is a Base 10 number and is actually 2.793GB in Base 2 math … which is what Computers and Operating Systems use.

No it is not correct because you think I am referring to the size reported in Windows 3,0 TB vs 2,7 TB, when I am actually and most seriously telling you guys that the drive is reporting 2,7 GIGABYTES.

And in the RAID it is reporting 2,5 GIGABYTES