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Hi, a m8 told me that I had to do a low level format of one of my drives as it refused to install win server again on it.

I downloaded the low level format tool from hddguru and ran it.

I'm confused because I got this error 'Format Error occurred at offset 31,453,085,696' it did that up to there and then continued ok.

Do you think this is bad?

The odd thing is that when I was trying to re-install win server I was using a partition of around the same size.

Do you think this is a problem as the hdd sounds ok and has worked fine for years or is this a normal thing when doing a low level format?

asked Oct 28 '10 at 15:04

SignOff's gravatar image


closed Oct 28 '10 at 19:24

The question has been closed for the following reason "The question is answered, right answer was accepted & the user fixed the problem." by SignOff Oct 28 '10 at 19:24

I would use a tool called Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) If the software produces an error the hard drive may be faulty, in which case you can use a utility called Seatoolsto test the drive for bad sectors, I've seatools or any other HDD testing tool finds that the drive is faulty it will need to be replaced.

You can use a boot CD called Hiren's Boot CD which contains all the tools you need.

answered Oct 28 '10 at 17:26

markd12's gravatar image


Thanks! I might try these if this does not do anything. But I got a while to wait yet...

(Oct 28 '10 at 17:30) SignOff SignOff's gravatar image

UPDATE: The software from the hddguru site sorted the drive drive. It's now working 100% fine again & my p4 machine has been relegated to server duties.

Must have been something corrupt.

(Oct 28 '10 at 19:23) SignOff SignOff's gravatar image

I'm glad to hear it sorted:)

(Oct 28 '10 at 19:24) markd12 markd12's gravatar image

yea Symantec antivirus flags hddguru.com as having security risks, I wouldn't use that site...


in any case modern hard drives seldom ever need a low level reformat. back in the day they used to have a coating of iron-oxide on the platters which loose the polarity thus making the drive worthless, a low level reformat resets the drive to a state that it can be ran from again. modern hard drives do not have the same issue, and when they fail... they fail...

answered Oct 28 '10 at 16:40

trueb's gravatar image


edited Oct 28 '10 at 17:11

Well, I did get the software to run fine in the end, turns out I had a partition on the drive so it basically did the low level format after the partition which would explain my confusion and the odd coincidence.

Re-doing it fully now.

Didn't seem to have the worm on my computer. The review who thinks that it's a false positive wrote it 6 months ago so it may have been fixed by now.

There also seems to be no odd processes running on my computer either.

Your link also says that the file was contained in a zip file. The tool is run as a .exe now so that might have sorted that out.

Thanks anyway for the heads up and i'll keep half an eye on my machine just in case and i'll reply if this actually fixed it or if the drive is defective. I have re-installed various operating systems on this drive about a thousand times so we'll see.

answered Oct 28 '10 at 17:20

SignOff's gravatar image


edited Oct 28 '10 at 17:23

Low level format isn't something that's done aside from in the factory these days. If you try it, you may be making a mistake because you may end up actually damaging your drive.

The reason it was necessary was to correct issues with drive alignment (eg. whether it was sitting upright or flat). These days none of this matters so you'll never actually have to do a low-level format.

Drive initialisation, on the other hand... When you buy a drive brand new it is already low-level formatted. You need to initialise it with a filesystem before you can install an OS, but Windows does this automatically. If you want to reinitialise your boot drive, download a livefs copy of Ubuntu, work out what your hard drive's device identifier is and use dd to overwrite the first few megs. This is how I'd do it in FreeBSD: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/ad4 bs=1M count=8

It takes no longer than a second. No need to do a "low level format". Once you've done that, reboot with your Windows DVD in your DVD-ROM drive...

answered Oct 29 '10 at 00:51

Seb's gravatar image


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Asked: Oct 28 '10 at 15:04

Seen: 23,984 times

Last updated: Oct 29 '10 at 00:51