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I seriously need to low format my netbook's HDD and I cannot find any tools on the web!
Can someone please point me to a tool for formatting any disks? (preferably free; not necessarily)

The reason why I need this is irrelevant to anyone.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Nov 8 '10 at 21:55

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2  
If you can give details on what your desired end goal is (data destruction, error scanning, etc) then the community may be able to suggest more specialized tools. –  Xantec Nov 8 '10 at 22:13
    
I simply want to wipe out everything on the hard drive, byte-by-byte. –  Vercas Nov 8 '10 at 22:22

4 Answers 4

up vote 15 down vote accepted

The reason why I need this is irrelevant to anyone.

It actually is relevant to anyone trying to help you find an answer. Are you actually trying to low level format the drive, removing the manufacturers settings, rendering your drive useless?

My hunch is that you want to delete the data, given your cryptic "these are not the droids you are looking for" note. So in that case you probably actually want Darik's Boot And Nuke or something similar.

Edit: If DBAN doesn't work for whatever reason, you should be able to use any linux live distro to do similar things, Parted Magic is well suited to this task, see: Using GParted

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A Linux SWAP Partiton screwed up my HDD! Now I cannot do anything but file I/O! The Linux installer also cannot detect that partition! Happy? Edit: I will post if the tool worked. :D –  Vercas Nov 8 '10 at 22:23
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@Vercas No, not really. Anyone choosing to answer your questions is volunteering their time and knowledge to help you, and you're being rude about it. DBAN should wipe your drive and allow to set things up again to function normally. –  Tyler Nov 8 '10 at 22:26
    
The tool is just what I need. Now I have another problem: a netbook. It cannot read CD/DVDs and thus I had to use UNetbootin to "burn" it to a USB dongle. Now I get 17 boot options (without the default). None of them seems to work! –  Vercas Nov 8 '10 at 22:34
    
@Vercas try: pendrivelinux.com/… –  Tyler Nov 8 '10 at 22:40
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@Tyler - You're a saint. OP was being incredibly rude and I think 95% of the community wouldn't have bothered. +1 to your answer, -1 to the question. –  Shinrai Nov 9 '10 at 0:04

Most modern hard drives are built to not require true low level formats performed by the end user. They will have this done at the factory and then in the wild they are usually able to auto correct errors on the disk while in operation.

If you are simply looking to wipe all data from the drive (basically reset the sectors to Zero) or if you want to do a manual integrity scan of the drive then Seagate's SeaTools may meet your needs.

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It is not able to auto-correct itself. Neither Windows (Installer/OS), Linux (Installer/OS) nor Acronis Disk Director are able to fix my problem. –  Vercas Nov 8 '10 at 22:24

Have you investigated any of the manufacturer based tools found here.
http://www.ariolic.com/activesmart/low-level-format.html

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1  
I do not know the HDD's manufacturer and I am not going to open my netbook's (fragile) case to find out. –  Vercas Nov 8 '10 at 22:26

A direct answer to the asked question, and disregarding the actual need behind it, would be this:

Seems like you want to completely erase data. I'm no expert at all but I've worked close enough to a guy in a company here in Brazil who works with recovering data for at least 30 years now. His current company, PC's & Dados is very small, but still the best on the market for over 10 years.

There is no logical data he can't retrieve, even if you use Disk Utility's 35-Pass Erase from apple or any given technique. He will be able to recover the data physically opening the disk and analyzing it. It's not a cheap task but it's doable given enough time.

So, your best bet to safely wipe out data is to break the disk and burn it. Seriously.

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