Zero level formatting on HDD

8140 pts.
Tags:
HDD
Microsoft Windows 7
Windows XP SP2
What's the best way to do zero level formatting on a hard disk using Windows 7 or Windows XP SP2?

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  • TomLiotta
    Assuming that "zero level formatting" is a low-level formatting and that "best" means something like "fastest, cheapest and most certain", then using built-in features of the drive probably fits. The tricky part is in causing those to run.   See CMRR's Secure Erase utility for one of the best methods of activating the Secure Erase feature that is most likely included in the drive's controller. There are other utilities that invoke the same functions if you want to search. Many Linux distros include access.   The feature is built in essentially to every ATA drive (IDE, EIDE, SATA, PATA, etc.) larger than 15GB manufactured in/after 2001. Because it is a hardware rather than software feature, it runs in minutes rather than hours, and it processes areas of the drive that software can't see (e.g., sectors that were previously written over but later marked as 'bad sectors').   But it also has a couple aspects that go along with the 'Secure' part of its name. E.g., it locks the drive with a (temporary) password after the next power cycle, and you'll need to know the password in order to make the drive available again. Also, some system manufacturers will block the feature in BIOS and it must be unblocked before it will work on that system.   Because of those aspects, it's highly recommended to read the documentation of whatever method or utility is used and to practice the procedure a couple times to know what to expect and how to proceed after each phase. Anyone doing this type of work should always be familiar with the procedures they perform.   Tom
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  • TomLiotta
    As often happens nowadays, I my previous comment is not (yet) included in this thread, though it does show up under the 'IT Discussions' list of new comments. -- Tom
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  • jinteik
    use dban
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  • TomLiotta
    My previous comment still hasn't been included in this question thread. I'll assume that it will show up eventually and just add this comment for now : DBAN is okay if you want it to run much longer and don't need to clear the entire disk. -- Tom
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