Low level format?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by eDOC786, May 18, 2009.

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  1. eDOC786

    eDOC786 Registered Member

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    Hi there,

    I have a Dell XPS 1710 notebook with a HITACHI Travelstar 7K100 HTS721010G9SA00 (0A25016) 100GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache 2.5" SATA 1.5Gb/s Notebook Hard Drive.

    What software should I use to preform a zero fill format........Deban Nuke or Hitachi Drive Fitness Boot CD, which has options to both erase MBR & the drive, besides Tests for drive function?

    Or should I first use Deban Nuke & than Hitachi DFT boot media?

    Hoping to hear from you smart geniuses,

    Regards!
     
  2. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Normally, the hard disk manufacture's utility is recommended but if you just want to format your drive and zero fill it at the same time, any partition manager would do the job.
     
  3. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

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    Why not have both on hand ?
    The Hitachi Drive Fitness Boot CD does provide useful diagnostic tools as well as MBR and full disc low level formatting options, but DBAN offers secure data deletion capabilities in case you ever choose to donate or sell the computer or hard drive.

    Another option you might want to consider is CopyWipe, a combination tool with drive wiping and HDD clone functions.
    What's nice about CopyWipe is that you can not only wipe a drive directly from the CD, but you can also clone from the CD; CopyWipe does not need to be installed.
    I've used it with W2K, XP, and Vista.
    On Windows 7, it will wipe the drive, but will not clone.

    Here's a link if you want to try it.
    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/copywipe.php
     
  4. stefan_waelti

    stefan_waelti Registered Member

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    Sorry to appear ignorant, but what's the use of a low level format compared to, say, a hard disk wipe with Darik's B'nN?
     
  5. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    It is the same thing. You can not low-level format a modern hard drive. That procedure is done at the factory at the time of manufacture and is not needed (or possible) later. Nowadays this term is used for "format + zero-filling all sectors of a hard drive".
     
  6. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

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    As it was explained to me;
    low level formatting (zero-fill) prepares the hard drive for the operating system so that various sectors can be recognized and accessed by the OS. In the process, any data currently written on the HDD is overwritten and (ostensibly) rendered unrecoverable thus eliminating the possibility of conflict with any new data subsequently written.
    In truth, there are various techniques that can be employed to recover data from a hard drive that has been subjected to a low level format but it does require a specific process combined with forensic software.
    I've never tried it (forensic recovery); that's all I know.

    DBAN gives the option of repetitive wipes (up to 32) using pseudo-random numbers and, I believe, other characters which make successful data recovery all but impossible.
    The jury on this is divided, but it seems clear that DBAN offers a far more secure data deletion model than a simple low level format.
     
  7. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    I have used CopyWipe (Bootable CD) three times for disk wiping and it seems to work fine:

    1st Time: Zero Write to a 120 GB Seagate SATA150 internal hard drive (Duration: I don't remember. It seems like it was 1 to 2 hours.)
    2nd Time: Strong Random Pattern plus Zero Write to 320 GB Seagate SATA300 hard drive in an USB2.0 External hard drive housing (Duration: ~10 to 12 hours, I was asleep when it finished.)
    3rd Time: Zero Write to a 240 GB Seagate SATA300 internal hard drive (Duration: 99 Minutes)
     
  8. eDOC786

    eDOC786 Registered Member

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    For a 100 GB Hitachi drive DBAn quick erase 1 pass takes 18 hrs approx.

    While Hitachi DFT boot media takes 90 mins.
     
  9. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

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    eDOC786;

    I have no idea what could have happened when you ran DBAN, but that elapsed time for one pass is absurd !
    I just ran quick pass on an 80gb drive and it took 0:53:04.
    Adding 25% to the time to approximate 100gb equals 1:06:20.

    Using DBAN to zero-fill a 160gb drive, I know I have completed a single quick pass in well under two hours.

    My computer is a Dell E-510 with an Intel 630 Prescott (3.0 ghz) CPU and 2.5gb of 533 mhz dual channel RAM.
    The DVD drive used was a Samsung SH-S202G.
     
  10. Searching_ _ _

    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

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    Malware today are using low level techniques for raw access to HDD, creation of bad sectors and hidden partitions to gain persistence.
    I Think it's more important to be complete in a wipe because of the advanced abilities of malware.

    If it's the best of the best your looking for, HDDErase.exe.

    Is it Red or Black?
     
  11. yankinNcrankin

    yankinNcrankin Registered Member

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    HDDErase.exe yes probably the fastest and best procedure provided your system allows you access to it, most cases especially DELLS won't let you use such a program. Theres ways around this but I rather not explain as some of the ways you run the risk of damaging hardware, safer way to run the drive on another machine as slave.

    You want something fast at zeroing and supports most systems with more options like HPA & DCO if supported by your system have a look here http://www.jetico.com/bcwipepd.htm
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
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