When adding a new Solid State Drive (SSD) or Hard Disk Drive (HDD) to a Windows 11/10 computer, the process of initializing the drive and setting up a partition style—either Master Boot Record (MBR) or GUID Partition Table (GPT)—should typically be quick and painless. Disk Management or the diskpart utility in Windows should usually complete this task in a matter of seconds to a minute.
However, some users may encounter an issue where Disk Management keeps loading indefinitely, eventually freezing and even crashing. This problem can disrupt the setup and usage of your new storage device. In some cases, users may also encounter the error message “The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error” after a long freeze. This article aims to explore the possible causes for this issue, focusing primarily on the chance of a faulty SSD or HDD, and provide you with a variety of solutions to resolve it.
Possible causes of disk management crashes when initializing a hard drive or SSD
Before jumping into solutions, it’s important to understand what might be causing Disk Management or diskpart to hang, freeze, or crash when trying to initialize a new SSD or HDD. The range of potential causes can include but is not limited to:
- Faulty SSD or HDD: This is often the most immediate suspect. A new drive that is DOA (Dead on Arrival) or has manufacturing defects can cause initialization to fail.
- Improper connections: Loose or faulty cables, improper seating of the drive, or even an insufficient power supply could be the culprits.
- Software glitches: Sometimes, the problem is not with the hardware but with the Disk Management or diskpart utility itself. Software bugs can occasionally cause these issues.
- Driver conflicts: Incorrect or outdated drivers for the disk or motherboard can lead to initialization problems.
- System file corruption: Rarely, corrupted system files on your operating system can cause these utilities to malfunction.
Understanding the potential root causes can provide a foundation for the troubleshooting process. Each solution we’ll discuss targets one or more of these areas.
Related concern: Hard Drives Makes Clicking, Humming, or Screeching Sound
Solution 1: Try the alternative utility for initialization
When one utility fails, sometimes the alternative can get the job done. If you experience problems while using Disk Management, then you might want to try using the diskpart utility in Windows, and vice versa. During the initialization process, you’ll generally have to choose a partition style—either MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table).
Steps for using diskpart:
- Open Command Prompt as an administrator: Press the Windows + X key combination, and choose “Windows Terminal (Admin)” or “Command Prompt (Admin)” from the context menu that appears.
- Enter diskpart: Type
diskpartand hit Enter to open the diskpart utility.
- List disks: Type
list diskand hit Enter to display all the disks connected to your computer.
- Select the disk: Identify the disk you want to initialize (e.g., Disk 1). Type
select disk 1and hit Enter.
- (Optional) Clean the disk: The
cleancommand is optional but can be beneficial if the disk has been previously used or has existing partitions. This command wipes out the configuration data and reverts the disk to an “Unallocated” state, giving you a clean slate for initialization. To use it, type
cleanand hit Enter.
- Initialize the disk: Type
convert gptdepending on your requirements and hit Enter.
Steps for using Disk Management:
- Open Disk Management: Press the Windows + X key combination and choose “Disk Management” from the context menu.
- Find the drive: The initialization wizard will normally pop up when Disk Management detects that there is a disk that needs initialization. If you don’t see the window, you can locate the drive that needs initialization from the list of drives.
- Initialize disk: Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the initialization.
Switching to the alternative utility may bypass any software glitches specific to the one you initially used, enabling you to successfully initialize your new drive.
Solution 2: Check hardware issues and connections
Sometimes the issue may lie with the physical connections between the drive and the computer. Loose or faulty cables can lead to Disk Management or diskpart freezing or crashing during the initialization process.
Steps for checking hardware connections:
- Turn off the computer: Make sure your computer is powered off and unplugged to prevent electrical hazards.
- Open the computer case: Unscrew and remove the side panel of your computer case to gain access to the internal components.
- Check the data cable: Make sure the SATA or data cable connecting the drive to the motherboard is securely plugged in at both ends.
- Check the power cable: Ensure that the power cable running from the power supply to the drive is also securely connected.
- Try different cables: If you have spare SATA or power cables, consider swapping them out to rule out the possibility of a faulty cable.
- Re-seat the drive: Unplug and then re-plug the drive to ensure it is properly seated in its slot or drive bay.
- Close the case and reboot: Once all connections have been checked and secured, close up your computer case, power up the machine, and attempt to initialize the disk again.
Taking these steps can eliminate any connection issues that might be interfering with the drive initialization process.
Solution 3: Try initializing your SSD or HDD on another computer
If you’ve tried the previous solutions without success, another troubleshooting step is to attempt initializing the disk on a different computer. This can help isolate whether the problem lies with the disk itself or with the original computer setup.
Steps for trying on another computer:
- Safely remove the drive: Power down your computer and safely remove the SSD or HDD you’re trying to initialize.
- Install the drive in another computer: Insert the drive into a different computer, taking care to properly connect both data and power cables.
- Try initializing: Use Disk Management or diskpart on the second computer to try and initialize the drive.
- If the disk initializes successfully: This suggests that the issue is likely with your original computer setup. You can then move the initialized drive back to your original computer and continue to use it as normal.
- If the disk also fails to initialize on the second computer: This is a strong indication that the SSD or HDD itself is faulty. In this case, the drive may be defective and might need to be replaced.
This approach can be especially useful in distinguishing between a faulty drive and issues related to the specific computer where the drive was originally installed.
Useful guide: How to Format HDD After Cloning Windows 11/10 to SSD
Solution 4: Verify disk health using SMART data
Another possible reason for Disk Management or diskpart freezing or crashing during initialization process could be the health of the SSD or HDD itself. Drives with bad sectors or other hardware issues could cause these utilities to freeze or crash during the initialization process. Checking the Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) data can provide insights into the health of your drive.
It’s generally possible to check a disk’s health using SMART data even if the disk is not initialized. SMART data is embedded in the disk hardware itself, separate from any partitions or file systems, so tools that read SMART data usually communicate directly with the disk’s firmware. This allows you to check key health indicators like “Reallocated Sectors Count,” “Read Error Rate,” and “Drive Life Remaining,” among others, without needing the disk to be initialized first.
Steps to check SMART data:
- Download a SMART monitoring tool: There are several third-party applications available for this purpose, such as CrystalDiskInfo, Hard Disk Sentinel, or SSD Life.
- Install and run the tool: Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation and open the application.
- Analyze the SMART data: The tool will display various metrics that provide insights into the health of your drive. Look for indicators like “Reallocated Sectors Count,” “Read Error Rate,” or “Drive Life Remaining” to assess the condition of your drive.
Interpreting SMART data:
- Good: If all indicators are showing positive signs, it’s unlikely that your drive health is causing the problem.
- Caution or Bad: If the SMART data shows caution or bad indicators, it may be best to replace the drive as it could be failing.
If the SMART data indicates that your drive is failing, it would be wise to back up any important data immediately and consider replacing the drive. A failing drive could be the underlying cause of your Disk Management or diskpart issues.
Suggested read: Does Faulty RAM Cause Freezes or Crashes on PC?
Solution 5: Update your storage controller drivers
Although SSDs and HDDs typically don’t require separate drivers to function on most modern operating systems, the drivers related to your storage controllers can play a crucial role. In most cases, the operating system comes with generic drivers that are sufficient for basic functionality. However, outdated or incompatible storage controller drivers can interfere with Disk Management or diskpart and could potentially cause them to crash or freeze.
Why focus on storage controller drivers?
The main reason we’re focusing on storage controller drivers rather than specific SSD or HDD drivers is that storage controllers manage how your computer interacts with all connected drives. An issue with these drivers could therefore affect your ability to initialize or manage your SSD or HDD.
Steps to update storage controller drivers through Device Manager:
- Press Win + X and select Device Manager from the menu that appears.
- Expand the “Storage controllers” section by clicking on the arrow next to it.
- Right-click on your storage controller and select Update driver.
- Choose Search automatically for updated driver software and follow the on-screen instructions.
If Windows doesn’t find a new driver, you can also go to the manufacturer’s website to download and install the latest driver manually.
Steps to update drivers manually:
- Visit the manufacturer’s website for your motherboard or laptop brand to find the appropriate storage controller drivers.
- Locate the latest drivers specifically for your storage controller and download them.
- Make note of where the downloaded driver is saved on your computer.
- Determine the type of driver file you have downloaded:
- If it’s an
.exeinstaller, run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation. You might need to restart your computer afterward.
- If it’s an
.inffile or other file type, return to Device Manager, right-click on your storage controller, and select Update driver. Then, choose “Browse my computer for drivers” and navigate to the location where you saved the downloaded driver. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
- If it’s an
After updating the storage controller drivers, restart your computer and attempt to initialize the drive again. This can often resolve any conflicts or issues that may have led to crashes or freezes in Disk Management or diskpart.
Solution 6: Check for software conflicts
Another possible reason for Disk Management or diskpart freezing or crashing could be software conflicts. If you have third-party disk management or system optimization tools installed, these could interfere with the native Windows utilities.
Steps to identify and resolve software conflicts:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc or Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select Task Manager from the menu.
- Look for any third-party disk management or system optimization tools that are running.
- Right-click on the conflicting software and choose End Task.
- Open Disk Management or
diskpartand try the initialization process again to see if it completes without issue.
Disable startup items:
If ending the task resolves the issue, you may want to prevent the software from starting up with your computer. Here’s how:
- In Task Manager, switch to the Startup tab.
- Right-click on the conflicting software and choose Disable.
If you identify that a specific software is consistently causing the issue, you may want to uninstall it.
- Press Win + X and select Apps and Features or Installed Apps.
- Search for the software and click on it.
- Choose Uninstall and follow the on-screen instructions.
After taking these steps, attempt to initialize your drive again. If the conflict was the root cause, this should resolve the issue.
Solution 7: Use built-in system checks to repair corrupted files
Corrupted system files could be a reason why Disk Management or diskpart is malfunctioning. Both the System File Checker (SFC) and Deployment Imaging Service and Management Tool (DISM) are built-in Windows utilities designed to repair these files.
SFC scans and repairs individual system files that Disk Management or diskpart relies on for proper functioning. DISM, on the other hand, repairs the Windows image itself, which includes all the files and data essential for the operating system. These tools provide a robust foundation for the operating system, improving the chances that Disk Management and diskpart will operate as expected.
Steps to run the SFC (System File Checker):
- Press Win + X and choose Windows Terminal (Admin) to open a command prompt with administrative privileges.
sfc /scannowand press Enter.
- Wait for the scan to complete. This could take some time, so patience is essential.
- Follow any on-screen instructions to repair corrupted files.
Steps to run DISM (Deployment Imaging Service and Management Tool):
- Open a new Windows Terminal window with administrative privileges as previously described.
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealthand press Enter.
- Wait for the process to complete. This could also take a while, so patience is advised.
- Follow any on-screen instructions that may appear.
After running these built-in system checks, restart your computer and attempt to initialize your SSD or HDD again. If corrupted system files were causing the issue, these steps should help resolve the problem.
In most cases, if Disk Management or diskpart is freezing or crashing during the initialization of a new SSD or HDD, the issue often lies with the drive itself. A faulty or failing drive may not respond to software requests as expected, leading these utilities to hang, freeze, or even crash. While other factors like software bugs, outdated drivers, or poor connections can contribute to this problem, the drive’s health is often the primary concern. Therefore, it’s crucial to thoroughly evaluate your SSD or HDD when encountering such issues to determine if a replacement is needed.