I solved my problem following these steps, which is different than what I did last time. Last time I was able to access the format menu right on the actual STB.. this time I had to use the remote and follow these steps:
Try this alternative to the "Lazy-man's diagnostic mode":
Press and hold the pause button for 10 seconds +/- until the mail light appears on the 8300's display.
Press "PAGE -" on the remote (instead of PAGE +).
"E-00" appears on the 8300's display.
"d-2." appears on the display if you press "3" on the remote.
if you press "LIST" 3 times, the hard drive will erase all the programs on it.
Still not sure why mine defaulted to "d-2" when I did it on the actual STB. Now that I formatted my HDD, the box shuts off after 2 minutes like it should, its no longer lost looking for a show that isnt on.