By AOMEI / Last Updated April 20, 2020

About Low Level Format (LLF)

Low-level formatting (i.e., closest to the hardware) marks the surfaces of the disks with markers indicating the start of a recording block (typically today called sector markers) and other information like block CRC to be used later, in normal operations, by the disk controller to read or write data. This is intended to be the permanent foundation of the disk, and is often completed at the factory. – By Wikipedia.

Low level formatting is only one of the three processes of formatting a disk for use by an operating system and its applications. The other two are partitioning and high-level formatting.

When you encounter constant data corruption, virus intrusion within the MBR or bad sectors. Low-level formation is necessary to get your malfunctioning drive up and running yet again as long as the encountered problems have nothing to do with its mechanical integrity.

Low-level format will replace bad sectors with redundant sectors. Yet, the number of redundant sectors on a disk is limited; and, the read and write head of a drive wears out quickly when reading/writing redundant sectors. Therefore, low-level formatting will degrade the performance of HDD as well as reduce the lifespan of the drive. Moreover, it requires considerable time to low-level format a hard disk.

HDD Low Level Format Tool Free

HDD low level format software builds physical format through assigning a location on disk for data storage. Since the real low level formatting is done in the factory, HDD low level format tool only does zero-fills. It re-initializes the disk to factory settings by writing a zero byte to every location on the drive. This will clear partitions and partition table (MBR) and erases all data on your disk fully and irreversibly. Thus, if there are crucial files on it, please first of all move them to other reliable hard disk or make a backup of them.

Here, I’d like to introduce you a professional and free HDD low level format utility - HDD Low Level Format Tool from HDDGURU for personal/home usage. In its simple UI, it displays model, serial number, spin-up time, power-on time, hardware temperature, firmware revision, physical parameters, etc. for you.

HDD Low Level Format Tool supports most kinds of devices such as HDD, SSD, USB, flash cards (CompactFlash, MemoryStick, SD cards and MMC), etc.; supports interfaces including S-ATA (SATA), IDE (E-IDE), SCSI, SAS, FIREWIRE; supports most common hard drive brands like Western Digital (WD), Seagate, Hitachi, Maxtor, Samsung, IBM, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Quantum and so on; and, supports Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Server 2003, 2008 as well as 2008R2.

How to Use HDD Low Level Format Tool?

Firstly, download and install it on your computer.

Secondly, connect target HDD or other drive to the computer. You should do this before launching the HDD low level format software because the application isn't able to automatically detect new drives, nor is it fitted with a refresh option.

Then, select the target drive and click “Continue”.

Hdd Low Level Format Tool 4

Finally, in "LOW-LEVEL FORMAT" tab click “FORMAT THIS DEVICE”.

Hdd Low Level Format Tool 4

How to Reuse HDD after Low Level Format?

What can you do with the hard drive after low-level format it? If you don’t know where to start, please follow the suggestions below.

Remember what mentioned above that low-level formatting is one of the three processes of formatting a disk? Then, you can execute the other two processes, partitioning or high-level formatting right after low-level formation. Thus, you need a professional and reliable disk partitioning and formatting software like free AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.

Tips: High-level formatting is the process of setting up an empty file system on a disk partition or logical volume and, for PCs, installing a boot sector. This is a fast operation, and is sometimes referred to as quick formatting. (By Wiki)

Partitioning

First of all, download, install and open it on your computer.

Secondly, right-click on target disk on its main interface and choose “Create Partition”.

Create New Partition With Unallocated Space

In the pop-up window, you can decide the size, drive letter, file system (NTFS, FAT or EXT), partition label as well as partition type (primary or logical) of the new partition. Also, if this disk is an SSD, you are recommended to check “SSD partition alignment” to improve the performance of the drive such as read/write speed.

Specify Partition Size

Now, you can preview the condition of the new partition created on the low level formatted disk. Finally, don’t forget to click “Apply” on upper left to start the creation of the new partition.

Click Apply

High-level Formatting

Then, you can format the new created partition by high level format tool AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard free.

Similarly, right-click on the partition and select “Format Partition”.

Format Partitoin

Here, you can change the partition label and file system of the partition. Most importantly, you can specify cluster size of the partition from 0.5KB to 64KB as you like. It recommends you to use 4K alignment.

Also, click “Apply” at last.

Apply

Summary

In general, if your hard disk drives or external storage devices get bad sectors or write protection, you can take it through low-level formatting, partitioning or high-level formatting to recovery its ability and performance.

If yours is an SSD, there is another way to restore to its factory performance – SSD Secure Erase. This can be done by AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Besides, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional can do many other operations to manage a hard disk including but not limited to merge/split partitions, copy partition/disk, extend/shrink partition, convert NTFS FAT32 file system, convert MBR GPT disk, create Windows To Go as well as migrate OS to SSD.

Make your own choice and save yourself from bothering of dead disk drives.