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Low level format harddisk?

Posted on 2002-06-06
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Last Modified: 2010-05-18
Dear Experts,

Can anyone explain to me what low level format is, and
when this technique will be used, and how?

Thanks!
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Question by:kcwang7
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steinmto earned 150 total points
ID: 7061030
What does "low level formatting" mean?

Actually the term "low level" is a bit of a misnomer. The low level process first used years ago in MFM hard drives bears little resemblance to what we now call a "low level format" for today's ATA (IDE) drives. A better name for today's low level formatting utility is intermediate- or mid-level formatting. This is sometimes referred to as the "initialize" or "re-initialize" process. The basic purpose of a mid-level format is to erase everything currently on the drive.

Why would I want to low level format my drive?

The most common reasons to low level format an ATA (IDE) hard drive are:

The drive has contracted a virus that cannot be removed without destroying the boot sector.

The drive is developing bad sectors at an increasing rate.

You are changing from one operating system to another and wish to remove everything from the drive.

Some types of bios have a option to do a low level format built in.

Tom
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Expert Comment

by:jmiller47
ID: 7061036
Many motherboards support doing a low-level format from the BIOS.

You can sometimes download a utilty from the hard drive manufacturer that will let you do a low-level format.

I also believe there are some other third-party utilities to do this also.

Low-level format writes zeros to the entire drive instead of just formatting it. Formatting it, you dont actually strip everything off of it. You just delete data. But, it is still recoverable. After a low-level format, it is not.

You would low-level format a drive to erase any remnant of a virus, problem, or to do a diagnostic test on the drive.

I suggest that you download the utilities disk from your hard drive manufacturer.

I hope this helps...
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