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Old 04-16-2006, 10:22 AM   #16
Bruce Hill
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Welcome to LQ!

http://iso.linuxquestions.org/
 
Old 06-02-2006, 01:32 AM   #17
NetRAVEN5000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinaman
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.
Let me explain.

Nowadays, usually when people say "low-level format" they really mean "zero-fill". Consequently, many zero-fill utilities are mistakenly called "low-level format" utilities. Low-level formatting is when you restore the drive to its original shipping state and overwrite the drive's internal programming that tells the drive how to function.

On older drives, since they were so much less complex (they didn't have S.M.A.R.T., transparent bad sector detection, or a multitude of other features newer drives have), they could all be low-level formatted using the same utility.

Not so with newer drives. On newer drives, a true low-level format is something that can only be done with utilities from the manufacturer. Using a utility on a drive other than the one it's intended for will destroy the drive.
 
Old 06-02-2006, 03:44 AM   #18
Bruce Hill
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Read the middle paragraph of my post again. I regularly use Maxtor's PowerMax 4.22 to low-level format drives. Did it yesterday. Yes, low-level format, as provided by Maxtor, vs. writing the drive to zeroes.
 
Old 06-02-2006, 10:40 AM   #19
NetRAVEN5000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinaman
Read the middle paragraph of my post again. I regularly use Maxtor's PowerMax 4.22 to low-level format drives. Did it yesterday. Yes, low-level format, as provided by Maxtor, vs. writing the drive to zeroes.
"Writing the drive to zeroes" is called a ZERO-FILL. Sometimes people mistakenly call it a low-level format but it is not, in fact, a low-level format. If all it's doing is writing zeros, then it's doing a ZERO-FILL.

Now if you're using Maxtor drives, then you might be able to do a true low-level format on the drives using this utility.
 
Old 06-03-2006, 05:10 AM   #20
Bruce Hill
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I don't mistakenly call a low-level format writing zeroes to the drive.
And I use utilities to do this all the time.
And I've never damaged a disk doing it.
And the manufacturer's have required/suggested it before returning drives under RMA.
And I've been doing this for better than a decade -- on more than just Maxtor drives.
 
Old 06-26-2006, 10:01 AM   #21
JZL240I-U
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinaman
...And I've been doing this for better than a decade -- on more than just Maxtor drives.
Umm, on their website it is not really clear -- so, did you use the CD-utility without a pre-existing windows installation just with Linux, or is that impossible?

The reason I ask is, I have three Maxtor drives but I scratched my WinNT some time ago. So, if I experience trouble, do I have to do a re-install or could I work just from CD, keeping my installation(s)?
 
Old 06-26-2006, 10:04 AM   #22
tnandy
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I recommend DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) as a convenient data shredder and zero-fill program. It removes all partitions, data, programs, master boot records--everything--from every brand and capacity of disk I've tried. It can simply zero-fill or it can overwrite old data multiple times for security. It boots from either a floppy or a CD and is available for free download here:

http://dban.sourceforge.net/
 
Old 06-26-2006, 10:25 AM   #23
tnandy
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Quote:
did you use the CD-utility without a pre-existing windows installation just with Linux, or is that impossible?
...
could I work just from CD, keeping my installation(s)?
The CD that comes with retail Maxtor hard drives is bootable. You don't need Linux or Windows installed to use it. Of course, if you zero-fill the hard drive, anything you have installed on that drive is destroyed. If you need to keep an installation (or anything else) on the hard drive, do NOT zero-fill it. If you only want to erase the contents of one partition while keeping another intact, simply reformat the unwanted partition.
 
Old 06-26-2006, 10:27 AM   #24
Bruce Hill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JZL240I-U
Umm, on their website it is not really clear -- so, did you use the CD-utility without a pre-existing windows installation just with Linux, or is that impossible?

The reason I ask is, I have three Maxtor drives but I scratched my WinNT some time ago. So, if I experience trouble, do I have to do a re-install or could I work just from CD, keeping my installation(s)?
I don't really understand your question. In order to use the Maxtor utilities, it is not necessary to have a Windows installation on the drive -- now or ever before. Just boot with their CD and follow the instructions.

My point that seems to have generated controversy and lack of understanding by some in this thread was never whether someone needs or should use low-level formatting, or writing a drive to zeros with the manufacturer's utilities -- versus using the dd command. I was countering FUD that said it would void the manufacturer's warranty to do a low-level format, when I have had the manufacturer tell me to do so before returning a drive with a RMA number.

The dd command works great, and I use it all the time. There is a pretty comprehensive tutorial here on LQ titled Learn the DD command. The thread is a good read.
 
Old 06-26-2006, 10:31 AM   #25
JZL240I-U
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnandy
The CD that comes with retail Maxtor hard drives is bootable. You don't need Linux or Windows installed to use it.
Aha. Very good .

Quote:
Originally Posted by tnandy
Of course, if you zero-fill the hard drive, anything you have installed on that drive is destroyed.
Thanks for the warning...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tnandy
...If you only want to erase the contents of one partition while keeping another intact, simply reformat the unwanted partition.
One also might use the dd command as suggested earlier in this thread .
 
Old 06-26-2006, 10:35 AM   #26
JZL240I-U
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Ups, we're posting in a tight schedule here, it seems .
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinaman
I don't really understand your question. In order to use the Maxtor utilities, it is not necessary to have a Windows installation on the drive -- now or ever before. Just boot with their CD and follow the instructions.
You just answered it (as did tnandy) .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinaman
My point ...
Taken long since .
 
Old 06-26-2006, 10:44 AM   #27
Bruce Hill
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I shouldn't get so piqued over stuff like that ... guess it comes from me blinding following advice from forums, especially when the poster was labeled "guru" when I first started using Linux. Hosed a few installs and lost some data in those days.

And just in case someone didn't know, if they desired to use such a utility the manufacturer's almost all offer them as free downloads -- with instructions. When you have a drive that has only had Windoze on it, it's quicker and more efficient to use those utilities rather than a Linux Live CD. There are ways with dd that you can 'cook the goose' -- whereas with a utility from a drive manufacturer it's pretty simple just to read and follow the menus.
 
Old 06-26-2006, 10:48 AM   #28
JZL240I-U
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I've just been trying to build knowledge against possible future desasters -- so, thanks to all for your time and explanations.
 
Old 08-16-2006, 03:28 PM   #29
tmulkey
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You can't do a true Low Level on a modern drive

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.

Low Level Formats were used on the OLD MFM, RLL, ESDI and SCSI drives, but todays drive are truly low level formated at the factory and the low level information is writen into the hard drive firmware permanently. SCSI also has never done a true low level format either, because the SCSI controller is just a Bus as well, but at least they had a standard for how to write all zeros which many "controller" card BIOS's called "Low Level"

MFM RLL and ESDI, these drives had seperate controllers which actually delt with the movent of the drive and the drives geometry. So if you changed controllers you usally had to redoo the low level format again as well (Deboug g=c800:5 (for those that remember))When IDE came out the contorller was built in with the drive, the low level format which sets the Interleave and records the bad spots, etc, was done at the factory and permenantly stored in firmware. Hince the term "Integrated Device Electronics" The IDE Controller is just a BUS, the stuff that used to be on the controller was now built into the drive. The average user canot low level format a drive. However in order to make everyone feel better most of the hard drive makers came out with a "low level format" utility that is really just writing all zero's to the drive and doing some read/write testing and maybe some stuff propreitary to that Manufacurer. I am sure that if you could find some majical way to do a true low level format then you would probably screw something up pretty bad, but that is impossible because the IDE bus is just a BUS, not a true conrtoller like in the old days.
 
Old 07-09-2007, 08:10 PM   #30
markmlinux
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A program diskerase does this as well - very well, and more.

Diskerase zeros out the drive with different strings and
has worked well for me.
 
  


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