By Bryce / Last Updated March 10, 2022

“How to low level format a WD drive?”

It seems that the file system of my 1TB Western Digital Elements External Hard Drive is corrupted. I plan to do a low-level format on the hard drive to repair it. But there is no such option in Windows Explorer. How could I perform WD low-level format? Thanks for your help!

WD Elements

What is low-level formatting of WD hard drive?

Formatting has two ways: Low-Level format (LLF) and high-level format (HLF). HLF wipes partition table and rebuilds data structures, making data disappear apparently. Originally, LLF refers to dividing cylinders & track on a hard disk drive and is completed by hard drive manufactures. now, LLF usually is considered to writing zero.

That is to say, when you talk about low-level formatting a WD device (external hard drive, SD card, USB flash drive), it means is fill the drive with zeros, which can be useful when you need to clean the files on WD drive without recovery; there are logical bad sectors on the WD device and so on.

Safe WD low-level format tool |free download

To complete low-level format on WD drive, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard will be my first choice. As a secure and reliable tool, it is trusted by millions of uses all over the world. And it has a modern and concise GUI, enabling you to low-level format WD hard drive effortlessly. Besides, it is specially designed for Windows users and can be compatible with all versions of Windows 10/8.1/8/7, XP, and Vista (64Bit and 32Bit). Now, free download the utility and have a try!

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Complete WD low-level format within few clicks

After download the low-level format tool for WD device, install and run it on your machine. Then, follow the steps below:

Step 1. In the main interface, locate the WD external hard drive, choose “Wipe Hard Drive”.

WD Low Level Format

Step 2. Choose “Fill Sectors with Zeros” to wipe WD hard drive disk completely. For SSD low-level format, it is recommended to use SSD Secure Erase function in AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

Fill WD Hard Drive with Zeros

Step 3. Click “Apply”, “Proceed” and then wait patiently for the whole process to complete.


If you want to fill only one partition with zeros on WD hard drive, you can use “Wipe Partition” function.
To wipe hard drive in Windows Server 2019/2016/2012 (R2)/2008/2003, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.
After filling WD drive with zeros, it will be shown as a block of unallocated space. To use it again for data storage, you need to create partition with the unallocated space at first.


1. How long it will take to low-level format (zero fill) a WD drive?

It’s hard to say how much time it will cost. The time that the operation will spend is depended on the capacity of the WD drive and how much data saved on it. The larger the capacity is and the more the data it contains, the longer the time. Generally, filling 20GB hard disk with zeros will take about 1 hour to complete.

2. Will low-level format (zero-filling) fix bad sectors on my WD drive?

If there are only logical bad sectors on your WD external hard drive, low-level format (zero-filing) can fix the problem. However, when the drive has physical bad sectors, you can’t repair them via low-level format and physical bad sectors can spread on hard drive. In such a condition, you can isolate the bad sectors as unallocated space; of course, you’d better replace the hard drive that contains physical bad sectors as soon as possible.      

3. How to low-level format bootable Western Digital?

When the WD hard drive with Windows OS installed, you can low-level format it in the WinPE environment. The format tool aforementioned, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is featured with “Make Bootable Media” function. You can create a bootable USB drive via the tool and then boot PC from the USB drive. Once logged in, you can right-click the drive, choose “Wipe Hard drive” to write zeros to it.