This article describes how to format an existing hard disk or partition on a shared cluster hard disk or partition. You may have to do this if there is NTFS file system damage on a cluster hard disk resource that the chkdsk command cannot repair, or if you want to reformat a partition to start with a known good file system state and known good data. To do this, you may have to format one or all the existing shared hard disks, including the quorum hard disk. In Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003, if a program or service has an open file, you cannot format the hard disk where the file is open. You cannot format the quorum hard disk when the Cluster service is running.
Formatting a hard disk is a destructive procedure. Make sure to save important data in another location so that you can restore it later if you have to do so. If no current backup of the hard disk is available, you may want to try to salvage the data from the hard disk before you use this procedure. This procedure assumes that you can bring the hard disk online and that you are not changing the size of the partitions. If you change the size of the partitions, this procedure does not work and renders the hard disk resource unusable.
To close all handles to the shared hard disk so that you can format it, use the steps in either of the following sections. The first section assumes that you have more than one shared hard disk; the second section assumes that you have one shared hard disk with one partition.
To close all handles so that you can format a shared hard disk if you have multiple shared hard disks or partitions:
Quit all programs, stop all non-cluster-aware services, and then move all groups to one node.
Start the Cluster Administrator tool, right-click the cluster name, and then click Properties.
On the Quorum tab, note which hard disk is the quorum hard disk.
Note: If the hard disk that you want to format contains the quorum log, move the quorum log to another shared hard disk. To do this, click a different hard disk and a different partition.
In the Cluster Administrator tool, click the groups until you find the shared hard disk that you want to format.
After you find the hard disk resource that you want to format, take the whole group offline, including the shared hard disk. This closes all handles to the hard disk. To take the group offline, right-click the group name, and then click Take off-line.
In the Cluster Administrator tool, right-click the hard disk that you want to format, click Properties, click the Advanced tab, and then note the LooksAlive and the IsAlive values. Increase those values to a value that is a longer time than it takes to format the drive.
Note: You must increase the LooksAlive and the IsAlive values because the Cluster service tests the physical disk resources every 5 seconds for the LooksAlive value and 1 minute for the IsAlive value. To test for the IsAlive value, the Cluster service creates a temporary file at the root of the disk. If during the formatting of the disk the Cluster Service performs an IsAlive value test, the service does not create the temporary file successfully. As a result, the physical disk resource fails and therefore the formatting process does not succeed.
After you increase the values, click OK, and then bring online the Physical Disk resources. To do this, right-click the hard disk, and then click Bring on-line.
Minimize the Cluster Administrator tool, and then double-click the My Computer icon on your desktop.
Right-click the drive that you want to format, click Format, and then format the drive with the options that you want.
Note: The hard disk must use NTFS because the Cluster service requires NTFS for a shared hard disk.
Note: If you receive a "Disk is in use" error message when you try to format the drive, verify that all the services and utilities that have access to the drive are stopped. Any running service or program that has an open handle to the drive can prevent the disk from formatting.
After you format the hard disk, restore all your data, verify that all paths are correct, and then reset the LooksAlive and the IsAlive values. If you formatted the quorum hard disk, you do not have to restore the MSCS folder because it is automatically created when you move the quorum log back by using the Cluster Administrator tool.
In Cluster Administrator, right-click the group that contains the hard disk that you formatted, and then click Bring on-line. When you do this, you bring all the resources in the group online.
If you moved the quorum hard disk to another hard disk and you want to move it back, right-click the cluster name, click Properties, and then click the hard disk that you want to designate as the quorum hard disk on the Quorum tab.