View Full Version : Low Level Format
10-04-2000, 05:31 PM
According to an A+ Certification book I was reading the other night, it is possible to Low Level Format a drive that has data on it, while keeping the data. They say that this is often times necessary in order to correct problems.
Is this really possible?
Sounds fishy to me.......
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10-04-2000, 11:17 PM
Not only is it not possible, but there really isn't any such thing as a true low-level format on modern drives any more. The programs that claim to do this just wipe the drive clean.
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10-05-2000, 01:15 AM
A true low-level format actually creates the sectors and tracks on the drive. This is now done at the factory, and with IDE drives never needs to be done again. If you do succeed in doing it, you have to destroy the existing sector/track information on the drive to do so. That would certainly also destroy any data already on the drive.
As ixl said, most utilities currently in use claiming to low-level format a drive actually just write all 0's or 1's to the drive, effectively wiping out all data. They are called low-level format utilities because so many people still seem to think they need to do that. If you actually did low-level format an IDE or SCSI drive you would most likely render it useless.
Low-level formatting was used only on MFM and RLL drives in the early days of computing, mostly on XT/AT machines. And it removed all data in the process. It was done sometimes by software, (Disk Manager, Spin Rite, etc) sometimes by a BIOS routine, and sometimes using the DOS debug command.
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