Low Level Format in Linux.

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Low Level Format in Linux.

Postby hack3rcon » 2020-01-18 07:27

Hello,
Does Linux have any tool for Low Level Format? I did some search and I just found "dd" command. Can "dd" command work like https://hddguru.com/software/HDD-LLF-Low-Level-Format-Tool/?

Thank you.
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Re: Low Level Format in Linux.

Postby peer » 2020-01-18 09:11

This will do the trick:
Code: Select all
sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=4M
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Re: Low Level Format in Linux.

Postby p.H » 2020-01-18 09:31

The only low-level format tools I know about are fdformat (for floppy disks), scsiformat (for SCSI disks) and cdrwtool (for optical discs). AFAIK there is no such tool for ATA disks. Other tools such as dd or shred do not do a low level format, they just overwrite data.
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Re: Low Level Format in Linux.

Postby wizard10000 » 2020-01-18 10:53

hack3rcon wrote:Hello,
Does Linux have any tool for Low Level Format? I did some search and I just found "dd" command. Can "dd" command work like https://hddguru.com/software/HDD-LLF-Low-Level-Format-Tool/?


That's not a low level format, it's advertising hype.

A low level format is what *creates* the tracks and sectors on a disk, not something that overwrites them. AFAIK there is no tool available to LL format an ATA disk and there would be no reason to do so anyway as the disks are formatted from the factory.

You could do the same thing as these "low level format" tools like this -
Code: Select all
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX


Hope this helps -
we see things not as they are, but as we are.
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Re: Low Level Format in Linux.

Postby CwF » 2020-01-18 13:58

wizard10000 wrote: AFAIK there is no tool available to LL format an ATA disk and there would be no reason to do so anyway

A true low level format should never be needed, or any more, possible. Some vendor utilities might work from a boot disk, like SeaTools and the like. But for those who happen to have an older scsi hba with a full bios, ide and pata disk for sure, probably sata, can be adapted to the scsi bus. Those tools will format, remap, check and report, reallocate sectors etc. And it does work through adapters, I've done it, last time took a gig+ stripe out of the middle of a deskstar, like 15 years ago.

I had wondered why this went away, but don't miss it. I'm not sure it went away, just hidden maybe. Now routines running in the firmware of modern drives do the functions automagically and live. Some later drives you just give them power, no controller or OS, leave them sit fow awhile, and you may hear them buzzing and clacking around doing things like sector verification and even relocations. SMART stuff is as close as we get now, and on a spinner it will show grown sector counts like I used to check with a scsi bios.

A few machines ago I still used an equipped machine with a LSI hba booting in a vm with a dos/W2k OS that I usually didn't need for this type of operation since the bios was available within the vm, <CRTL><A> or <B> or <S>, I think 'S' maybe, but adaptecs, buslogic, etc. could all do it. A few people have requested data from a disk they no longer have an interface for, and forgot to take that into account before an upgrade. I would use this VM to pull data off anything. I'd think this doesn't happen much anymore.

A few months ago I did such a thing for an old usb external box with some old IDE drive inside that would not start anymore. It turned out the internal adapter or power supply was bad, and I used a sata/IDE converter this time without any fancy hba. I'm pretty sure if we hooked up a modern spinner of TB+ capacity and did a hba low level format, I'd ask you to come back next week.
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