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Old 12-28-2004, 03:38 PM   #1
Darin
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Post DISCUSSION: Clean Hard Drive (zero fill)


This thread is to discuss the article titled: Clean Hard Drive (zero fill)
 
Old 12-28-2004, 09:22 PM   #2
amfoster
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What's to discuss? dumping /dev/zero to the hard drive will send an endless supply of nothing across the hard drive.
 
Old 02-05-2005, 09:59 AM   #3
Darin
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AFAIK This is an automatically generated post when you submit a LinuxAnswer.

As far as what's to discuss, I guess whether others have used it and had success. Personally, I find it's a great alternative to paying for commercial drive wiping utilities.
 
Old 03-10-2005, 08:05 PM   #4
Bruce Hill
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Could you explain how doing a low-level format "could
damage newer (pretty much anything over 512MB) drives."

I have used utilities from Maxtor, Seagate, and IBM to do
low-level formats on drives for at least 7 years, and have
never had a single problem. And I've never even seen a
drive of 512MB or under.

In fact, there are at least 4 drives in computers we're
using every day, which are under 3 years old, and all
40GB or above, which have had more than one low-
level format -- and they're all just fine.
 
Old 03-10-2005, 09:06 PM   #5
tormented_one
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^^Agreed Doesn't hurt the drives, either in linux or with manufacturer software
 
Old 03-11-2005, 08:25 PM   #6
amfoster
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Really the most it does is void the manufacturer's warranty. I had a reason to do a low level format on a hard drive in years. Back in the day of the whopping 10, 20 and 40 MB hard drive days, there may have been a reason. Drives are formatted by the manufacturer, so why would you ever have to do a low level format? I am curious how long it takes. It used to be a nearly all night thing back with those small drives.
 
Old 03-11-2005, 08:46 PM   #7
Bruce Hill
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Quote:
Originally posted by amfoster
Really the most it does is void the manufacturer's warranty.
Tim,

I don't know where you got this information, or if that was just a guess. I'd like to see you produce some "evidence" to corroborate that statement; otherwise, you should edit your post appropriately.

About four years ago I had a new IBM hard drive in a RAID array that seemed to be defective, and IBM told me to low-level format both drives as part of the evaluation process before they gave me a RMA number.

I have these tools from IBM, Seagate, and Maxtor. I believe I had the same tool from Western Digital until perhaps 1999 when I quit using WD drives.

I've used a lot of Maxtor hard drives, and their utilities for a number of years now. The reasons to perform a low-level format may vary, but is the safest way to write a drive completely back to zeros if a "zero fill" option is not available.

You can read this page from Maxtor where they suggest a low-level format, and provide the utility.
Quote:
Question
I ran the PowerMax diagnostic utility on my hard drive but the BIOS continues to report a S.M.A.R.T or imminent drive failure. What should I do?
Answer


Problem:
The BIOS and third-party utilities report S.M.A.R.T. errors even when the tests from the PowerMax diagnostic all pass.

Solution

1. It is recommended that you backup your data.


2. Use PowerMax to Low-Level format the drive and re-run tests.

Warning: Performing a Low-Level format on the drive will completely erase all data on the drive. Please backup data before performing a Low-Level format.

3. If the BIOS or third-party utility still reports an error with S.M.A.R.T. after PowerMax tests have passed and you low-level formatted the drive then it is recommended that you replace the drive. For more information regarding warranty please visit the Warranty Information Page
 
Old 03-12-2005, 08:17 AM   #8
amfoster
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I retract some of that posting. The proper term would be that some manufacturers will void the warranty. I found about 20 before I quit searching. Try "low level format void warranty" in google for a comrehensive list of web sites supporting my statement. The fact of the matter is DO What You Want. It is your equipment after all.
 
Old 03-12-2005, 09:22 AM   #9
Bruce Hill
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Quote:
Originally posted by amfoster
I retract some of that posting. The proper term would be that some manufacturers will void the warranty. I found about 20 before I quit searching. Try "low level format void warranty" in google for a comrehensive list of web sites supporting my statement.
Anyone can post something on the internet, which does not make it a fact. And just because some guy in a forum says "low level formatting voids your warranty" does not make it so.

Five pages into Google <Linux> produced not one single manufacturer link at all. And five pages deep into a normal Google search and I still fail to see one single manufacturer who says "low level formatting voids your warranty."

I did see one post where someone else told a user that low-level formatting voids your warranty, and the user posted back
Quote:
This is odd, everytime i go to RMA a drive to maxtor they suggest to use Maxblast to do this before sending a drive to them?
What I did see from Hitachi's website:
Quote:
Drive Fitness Test (v4.02)
Features:
# Low-level format utility (use DFT Utility option: Erase Disk)
And from Seagate:
Quote:
Formatting the drive
The drive has been low level formatted at the factory. Do not low level format
this drive again unless you need to perform certain diagnostics through the
host adapter. If you decide to perform a low level format, do not abort the for-
mat as this is likely to make the drive inoperable. Protect against power failure
or other power interruptions during the format. It may take up to one hour per
gigabyte to low level format the drive (18 hours). Do not reboot or otherwise
disrupt the process.
Warning. Formatting a drive erases all user data. Be sure that you understand
this principle before formatting any hard disc drive. It is not neces-
sary to format a drive that previously has been used to store data,
unless your intention is to erase all user data.
Note. Seagate is not responsible for lost user data.
which indicates that they do NOT void your warranty for low-level formatting a drive, but DO warn you against stopping before it's through.

And this from Seagate, also:
Quote:
What does "low level formatting" an ATA (IDE) drive 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. The only safe method of initializing all the data on a Seagate device is the Zero Fill option in DiscWizard Starter Edition.

The Zero Fill option in DiscWizard Starter Edition is the only safe method for use with Seagate hard drives. Some system BIOSs may include a Low Level Format option; use these at your own risk, as this may produce undesirable results.
Still no mention of "voiding the warranty," even though the Zero Fill options are advised over a low-level format by Seagate.
 
Old 03-12-2005, 12:28 PM   #10
amfoster
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You said: Anyone can post something on the internet, which does not make it a fact.

I guess there is no practical use for this forum then. I will quit it. You are free to have mt posts removed.
 
Old 03-13-2005, 05:02 PM   #11
Bruce Hill
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Quote:
Originally posted by amfoster
You said: Anyone can post something on the internet, which does not make it a fact.

I guess there is no practical use for this forum then. I will quit it. You are free to have mt posts removed.
IMO we should all have some integrity in our posting.
When others read our information, they're tyring to
get some legitimate help.

I've simply asked you to provide some evidence that
substantiates your post. It's not my responsibility to
edit someone else's incorrect posts. I've edited mine,
when it was brought to my attention that what I had
posted was incorrect.

As for the practical use of this forum, that really must
depend upon the quality of the information.
 
Old 03-16-2005, 12:33 AM   #12
hottdogg
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Beside zeroing with dd, dban can be used 2.
 
Old 04-13-2005, 10:31 AM   #13
JZL240I-U
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Why not use /dev/random (thrice to seven times from a script)? Makes even forensic tries of data recovery near hopeless...

See also

http://dban.sourceforge.net/ <oops, already said above >
http://freshmeat.net/projects/securedelete/

Last edited by JZL240I-U; 04-13-2005 at 10:33 AM.
 
Old 04-17-2005, 08:37 AM   #14
trickykid
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Even just performing a:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=1024 count=1024

Will do the job of wiping the drive in a manner where no partitions and data appear. I know it wouldn't wipe the whole drive but if you selling or giving away the drive, I doubt they would be someone that could actually recover the data left on the device, instead they are going to install whatever it is they attained the drive for...
 
Old 04-16-2006, 10:13 AM   #15
Cajun1968
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darin
AFAIK This is an automatically generated post when you submit a LinuxAnswer.

As far as what's to discuss, I guess whether others have used it and had success. Personally, I find it's a great alternative to paying for commercial drive wiping utilities.
Darin, of course I am a newbie... but where do I obtain this slackware or koppix so I can clean my hard drive?
 
  


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