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Even the dd is unnecessary unless you are giving the disk away and don't want any data to be recovered.
If you want to use the disk for something else yourself, just use fdisk to erase all the partitions, create new ones as you see fit, then put filesystems on them.
Important data are stored during low-level format. Like sector layout, servo data, etc. Since IDE disks have built-in controllers (unlike SCSI) there is no need to re-write this kind of information. Even more, it is possible to destroy an IDE disk if something goes wrong.