"Low-level formatting"

Posted on 2005-03-28
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I have formatted my hard drive before but never done a low level format. i have a nasty virus on my computer that i dont know how to get rid of, i formatted my drive but it still did not erase the virus. somebody suggested for me to do a low level format because that completely erases everything and basically resets the hard drive. is this true??????????????? if so i have a Fujitsu MHS2030AT hard drive, i went to the manufacturers web siite and found an erase utility. the note pad providing directions is confusing to me and i need some help interpreting it.  can someone help be break this down into a step by step process that is easy for someone who doesnt know much about computers to understand?


 Running the program
1. Boot from a clean DOS disk.
2. Change to the drive/directory where FJERASE.EXE is located.
3. At the DOS prompt, type FJERASE to execute the program.

4. Inside the program
      At the startup routine, the program tries to identify all IDE drives
      connected in your system (Primary and Secondary Port). This procees
      may take some time.
      Afterwhich, all the drives found will be displayed in the Main Menu
      window with the corresponding valid product ID. Port with no drive(s)
      connected will also be displayed with 'NONE' as its product ID.
      Hotkeys are indicated in the taskbar. Use the up and down arrow keys
      to move the current highlighted drive.
          Hotkeys Definition:
          F1 - Displays the Help Window
          F4 - Reinitializes the whole hard disk user area to '00' data
                 pattern effectively erasing all its previous contents.
             **  Once this task is started, and even if you abort the
                 procedure, your hard disk data may already be lost and
                 irretrievable. Please remember that MBR, Partition
                 Tables and FAT are located in the first few cylinders
                 of your hard disk and this ERASE functions starts writing
                 from this area of your hard disk.
             **  The completion time for this task depends on the capacity
                 of your drive and the clock speed of your host processor.
                 (e.g. For a Pentium 133Mhz processor, it takes
                 approximately 10 minutes to erase the whole drive with
                     1 GB capacity.
                 This completion time doubles as your CPU clock speed
                 reduces to half. --- 66Mhz -> 20 minutes for 1Gb cap.)

          Enter - Displays basic information about the drive

          Esc - Prompts to quit the program.
Question by:richardmastroianni
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Expert Comment

ID: 13649591
You can create the "clean DOS disk" on a floppy disk from a comuter running the Windows 95/98 OS.  From a command prompt use the command, C:\>format a: /s .  Then copy the fjerase.exe file and any associated files to the floppy disk.  Then put the floppy disk into the computer that has the HD that you want to format.  You may need to use the CMOS setup to set the BIOS to boot from the A: drive.  Then restart the computer and at the prompt enter A:/>fjerase.exe .  

Author Comment

ID: 13650068
i have windows XP...do you have any suggestions
thanks for the help...

Expert Comment

ID: 13650161
Do you know someone who uses Windows 98, and would let you format a floppy disk on his machine?  Windows XP doesn't use DOS.
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Author Comment

ID: 13650215
everybody i know that has a commputer uses xp as well..............

cant i just use the command prompt in the start menu????

is there no other way than to use windows 98?


Expert Comment

ID: 13650340
When you use the /s switch it copies the system files to the disk after it is formated.  But the /s switch doesn't work in Windows XP.  It isn't based on the DOS operating system.  You might try it and see what happens.  Maybe I'm wrong.

Expert Comment

ID: 13652595
actually if you go to format a disk in the xp there is an option to format an ms-dos startup disk.  chose this option and you will have the necessary files to boot from.  place the fjerase (low-level utility on the disk after you have formatted then you can boot up to an a prompt - change the file to fjerase and low level your hard drive
LVL 38

Accepted Solution

Rich Rumble earned 1500 total points
ID: 13653285
A "true" low-level format can only be done at the manufacturer, here is the definition of a low-level format with todays hd's (or hd's for the last 8 years or so)

you may have a boot-sector virus, you will need to clear the MBR if the virus is this persistant.
Mcafee has a tool to scan the MBR http://vil.nai.com/vil/virus-4e.asp
Windows NT/2000/XP:
Shut down the PC and turn the power off. Obtain or create a virus free boot disk and scan disk. After booting, at the A:\ prompt, execute the following command:
BOOTSCAN C: /boot /clean
Once the virus has been removed, remove all floppy diskettes from the computer and reboot from the hard drive.

This will also clean an NTFS Master Boot Record and allow Windows NT to successfully reboot from the hard disk drive. VirusScan for DOS will not be able to read the rest of the NTFS partition. After starting Windows, execute VirusScan or NetShield to detect and clean Windows NT file infections which may exist.

Also be sure to turn off system restore ANYTIME you have to remove any pest's when using XP pro or winME

Expert Comment

ID: 13653501

You can also do a Low level format using DEBUG see the commands at: http://osr5doc.ca.sco.com:457/HANDBOOK/osT.low_format.html
You then need to copy the debug program to your floppy disk also. I believe debug.exe is in c:\windows\system32.

However that was not your question, you can download build floppy disk from Bart Lagerweij on http://www.nu2.nu/download.php?sFile=bfd107.zip
Extract this somewhere.  Now you have to do some tricks;

in the folder is a subfolder called BIN copy MKBT.exe to c:\temp (or similar) then go back and go into cabs\os\md701 and copy the .BIN file also to C:\TEMP.
Run in the temp folder the command (using a command console start - run - CMD)  mkbt bootsect.bin a:

This will create a bootable floppy.

Let me know your results

Expert Comment

ID: 13655074

You can get a clean dos disk here. http://www.bris.ac.uk/is/services/computers/general/dos6disk.html
Also put the program on another floppy if it doesn't fit on the dos disk, or better yet a cd-rom.

Basically when you run the program out of a clean dos boot, it will look for all the drives you have connected to your computer and come up with a menu. F4 will erase your drive. Once you start you are probably committed to the process because all the important stuff is gone first.

Hope that simplifies everything for you and helps you get this taken care of.

Expert Comment

ID: 13656991
It would probably be a good idea to repartition the HD as well.

Expert Comment

ID: 13659251

Just one comment to that, you are required a license for the MS-DOS 6.22 OS, and also the disk is not downloadable outside the university.

Expert Comment

ID: 13666061
My mistake.

Here is a working link, provided you have a license, but your software is corrupted. Or in case of emergency (Although you would still need to acquire a license.)

Here is a link to purchase a license if you do not have one already.
Depending on what version you need it will cost 15-50.

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