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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 22nd June, 2002, 02:58 AM
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Hard Drive Formatting, Danger? Need professional opinion.

As the title said, is formatting the Hard drive cruel and dangerous? Would formatting the hard drive damage the Hard drive? Vs. running it in Windows running all types of applications such as games, benchmarks, torturing tests including benching and burning-in the HD. Please reply. Thanks!
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Old 22nd June, 2002, 03:04 AM
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Do you mean "does formatting place extra burden on the drive you wouldn't just running windows applications?"

I think the answer is yes as it needs to read/write instead of just reading, but no because it would not need to skip around the drive looking for the information...
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Old 22nd June, 2002, 03:27 AM
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i'm not quite sure why you want to format the hard drive (formating would erase everything on your drive, so you would have to reinstall everything) if its a new hard drive it may be pre-formatted so you shouldnt need to reformat unless are going to be changing the partitions
formating isnt dangerous though as long as you're prepared with a good set of boot discs drivers and installation CDs
if you're looking to burn in a new hard drive i'm sure someone could suggest a good testing program?
i hope that helps, i could help you better if i knew what the situation was
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Old 22nd June, 2002, 04:25 AM
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I see your point... interesting. pinky.


And to you all,

I know about Formatting and the purpose of it and know how it works.
I've been arguing with a guy about stupid HD formatting. The idiot(pardon my french) says that formatting is never necessary and is very "Cruel" for the hard drive if you format. By just formatting even one time, could likely hurt your hard drive. This is complete fraud. Doesn't even make sense. What he is saying is that you format the hard drive, you could likely to damage your hard drive very quickly. My end was to format the HD once a while especially for OC'ing the system, or/and messing with a lot of files, installing, uninstalling, messing with drivers a whole bunch for a long period of time, etc. The registry with unnecessary/ unused data will get left behind. (Let's not get into registry clearner. That's beside the point) He relies on his WinXP CD to reinstall his OS if he has to. By doing that it will elliminate everything and will work exactly like as if you re-formatting it. Do you think that will completely, 100% way to clear everything out and install OS cleanly?? He was talking about WinXP. I was talking about all OSs.


Damn it I format once a month. And I have never had hard drive going bad. Been doing this for years and how come my Hard drive is not dead? How come? I am serious. Years. Been 4+ years when I started formatting. but it's not dead and works like charm. I format my drives because of it and to keep my system in optimal performance by having absolute clean registry, not even one bit of unnecessary data of registry.
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Old 22nd June, 2002, 04:44 AM
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Perhaps your friend confuses partitioning with formatting. I'm told that fdisking does take a small toll on HDD's. Dunno how he runs a Win box that doesn't require a fresh format once in a while. It's a wonder, but it's his box!
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 22nd June, 2002, 05:53 AM
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I think it's cruel to NOT format the drive from time to time
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Old 22nd June, 2002, 10:10 AM
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If it's a FULL format, it can cause problems. Not sure so much with recent drives, but I know the old ones didn't like it. Becuase it does put strain on it.

BUT, a quick format is another question! all that does it delete the FAT. So I recommend a quick format.
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Old 22nd June, 2002, 02:57 PM
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Pinky, thank you.

cloasters, he is not my friend. I was a bit upset because he was treating me with no respect and very rude. (not happened in this aoa forum, some other site) and yes we were talking about formatting, not partitioning.

Spode, I take it "full format" you're refering is to do complete FDISK, repartition, and format, right? Yes I know. We were talking about just formatting.


To you all,

I don't do repartition everytime when I format. I do that only once or twice out of its lifetime. But partitioning still shouldn't cause damage to the hard drive. That is a big no no. Back to the main point, formatting the Hard drive causing damage to it is wrong. That is my opinion and what I believe. Have you thought about how hard the hard drive runs in Windows, running various types of apps such as copying/pasting large files i.e. 500+mb within the hard drive? Running HD benchmark? Even in loading large files in games? Searching files in the entire drive? Compare to how the hard drive runs in DOS reformatting????? I asked all this to the guy I was arguing with and he couldn't say anything. Try put your hand on the HD while reformatting. Do you hear the drive spinning very hard? Do you feel vibration? Heat?? No. You don't. But you sure can in Windows. The bottom line is that hard drive runs harder in Windows than in DOS formatting. Plus, how much time does it take to format vs. amount of time you spend in Windows? Yes, Windows.
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Last edited by whatever; 22nd June, 2002 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 22nd June, 2002, 06:32 PM
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you're correct with modern drives about all that happens when you reformat is you clear all data sequentally and re-create a filesystem i think with older hard drives when you did a "low-level" format it had to lay down new "markers" but newer technologies have elimated the need for low-level formats (in fact you cant even do them anymore- all you can do is write zeros to the drive. i think they dont even have sector markers on the platter anymore)
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Old 22nd June, 2002, 08:31 PM
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Thanks for the input.. drow_elf
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Old 22nd June, 2002, 09:25 PM
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Well just for a point of reference I had a 4.3 gig that I reformated about every 3 months I'd usually end up getting to OS so screwed up for changing drivers and such the thing would not run. I had this drive for 3 years and finally sold it with another machine and it is still going strong. Prob formatted at least 25 plus times.
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Old 23rd June, 2002, 03:12 AM
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Samuknow, thanks for the reply. Glad to here that drive is going strong.
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Old 23rd June, 2002, 03:36 AM
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I tend to format my Linux partition weekly as I seem to have problems not destroying Linux

And I don't even want to talk about the fonts...
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Old 23rd June, 2002, 10:29 AM
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I've got a happy stable system now, and all I've done in the last 6 months is defrag occasionaly. Reformatting is a last resort.....
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Old 23rd June, 2002, 08:21 PM
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High level formatting (IE, DOS format) simply writes each sector with a known pattern (Used to be 0xF6) and attempts to read back that pattern. It traverses the whole of the partition attempting to do the write/read pattern. This is done once per sector, I believe. After the partition has been traversed, the data structures (Root directory and FAT tables.) are created. This is done above the level of the HDD, so the HDD gets to do all it's normal stuff.

Other OSes and File Systems(FS) use different methods. NTFS, EXT2FS, Reiser, OS/2 FAT and many others don't bother traversing the whole disk. Most of them just work out where their data structures need to be, and write them there.


A mid-level format is a bit more in-depth. It has no concept of partitions, instead operating on a drive level. Such mid-level formats typically write either a fixed pattern across the sectors or, more often, a zero pattery across the sectors. Such a format will write across the ENTIRE drive, even sectors that would not normally be zeroed, such as the partition table and boot sector (admittedly the same thing.)

A low-level format is even lower still. Current IDE/SCSI hard disks will not allow you to perform a low-level format, as special factory equipment is required. A low-level format will re-write each track, including any IDs, markers, servo tracks, remapping tables and anything else the HDD needs for it's normal operation.

Once upon a time, when HDDs still used stepper motors for moving the heads, a low-level format was used to bring the tracks back in line again. Heat would cause tracks to slowly drift outwards, until they got to the point the drive would only read certain tracks if it were cold, or if it were hot.

Actually managing to run a low-level format on a modern HDD will destroy it, as all the information the HDD needs to position the heads and find the beginnings of sectors will be wiped out! That's why the manufacturers don't allow this to occur!


Anyhow, back to the point I was going to make... A high level format does a pass at each sector, which isn't a heavy load. By comparison a computer that is swapping heavily will be doing potentially many hundreds of read and write operations per SECOND.

I have seen IDE hard disks used in voicemail systems. On a busy voicemail system, the hard disk will be heavily reading/writing for at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. On a heavily used IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system, the hard disk will be busy reading/writing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Typically disks used in such a system will last longer than a couple of years! (Execpt that batch of fault 2Gb WD Caviar drives - they started to fail within a month on a busy system.)

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Old 25th June, 2002, 05:35 PM
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Great information, AidanII.

Only trouble I've ever had is with the last IBM 40gig ata100. I'd had it about 7 months, it was partitioned into 2 parts, and the lady I sold it to said she lost the C: drive and Windows a few days ago. Could be that ol' IBM thing, too.

I run lots of o/s's, or have, anyway. I like multiboot. Ran Linux for awhile, to learn some of it, 3 different versions, but now I run WinXP Pro, and love it.

Admittedly, I've never given much thought to the idea that partitioning and formatting was hard on a drive, I used to do mine frequently. No issues ever on a Western Digital 4.1 gb.
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Old 25th June, 2002, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Orbit
Admittedly, I've never given much thought to the idea that partitioning and formatting was hard on a drive, I used to do mine frequently.
Mainly cuz it isn't. Swapfiles are about the worst most PCs get!

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Old 3rd July, 2002, 01:56 PM
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Does this guy also say you cant mount a HDD vertically, since the bits will slide off?

I never heard of formatting being bad for a hard disk.
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Old 6th July, 2002, 07:12 AM
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A low level format, or "initializing" the drive DOES hurt it. Nothing else discussed here will.
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Old 6th July, 2002, 07:17 AM
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AidanII.... ummmm might want to check you facts.. because I have to low level format when I initialize a drive pack on my Mylex DAC960PDU-3 RAID Controller. I don't like doing it, but it is a neccesary evil. No low level format, no array.

This may only be safe on SCSI drives.

Consequently, the raid is unusable on any other controller. The only way to use the drives on say an Adaptec card after they have been on a Mylex is to low level format them again on the mylex before moving them. Mylex did some really wierd **** with their controllers. Oddly enough.. the mylex card writes 1's not 0's. The DACCF utility explains it in enough detail that I was afraid to do it the first time without verifying that the drives I was using were on Mylex's approved list, which they were.
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Last edited by Azriel; 6th July, 2002 at 07:29 AM.
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