Low level format utilities for the hard disk

Important drive information (servo, sector layout, and defect management, etc.) is stored in the low-level format at the factory. This information is designed to last the life of the drive and therefore it is not possible to low level the drive outside the factory. Although some drive manufactures and BIOS provided so-called “low level format utilities”, they actually perform a write-read verify of the drive’s user data sectors, and do not actually perform a low-level format. In the event of a corrupted master boot record or boot block virus, use FDISK /MBR command to restore the master boot record. If you need to low level format your hard drive then check the drive manufacturer and download such an utility from its website.

Every drive manufacturer provides just such a utility. Below is a list of hard drive manufacturers with a links to low level format utilities.

Note: If normal (high level) hard disk formatting is required, you can use standard formatting capabilities of your operating system (in Windows – right click in the hard drive icon in Windows Explorer and choose “Format…”). It is also a good idea when you hard disk becomes inaccessible to see if it is just the system files that are corrupted (for instance, due to computer virus activity). Therefore, low level format is always of LAST RESORT when you encounter HDD problems.



Maxtor (Seagate)


FAQ: Low level format

Western Digital

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Tags: format hard drive, hdd format, low level format