Is it possible to alter low level formatting information in hard drives such as sector address markers using input/output communication with the drive? Are there other settings stored inside the drive (such as concerning the physical configuration) which is possible to change using input/output with the drive?

Is it possible using input/output or perhaps reprogramming of the onboard chip to configure a drive to read smaller differances than 1/0, for example if you want to read small residue values after a complete zirrowing (low level formatting) of the disk?

  • I believe that's rocket science. I am sure that is off limits and is considered proprietary patented information.
    – Moab
    Jan 23, 2016 at 22:39
  • "Rocke science" it may be, but this site isn't called "superuser" for nothing, is it?
    – Alpha_Pi
    Jan 23, 2016 at 23:54
  • All that is controlled by factory firmware which is patented and or copyrighted, and you ill get no help here hacking it.
    – Moab
    Jan 24, 2016 at 17:00
  • 1
    @Moab. I haven't said anything about hacking anything. Reconfiguring a HD through input/output is only utilizing the built in functions. There is nothing wrong in using those functions that exist, even if they are undocumented. There is nothing wrong in modifying pantented or copyrighted software, as long as you don't plan to sell or distribute it. I think your reaction is highly irrational.
    – Alpha_Pi
    Jan 24, 2016 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


yes, but. You would need to know technical details about the on-drive logic and programming that is not publicly available (and probably considered confidential by the manufacturer). So if you work for the manufacturer, you might be able to get this info and start replacing the code in the on-board chips; otherwise - if you are not the government - you will probably not be able to get even a bit of what you want ever working.

  • You seem sure about your answer. Can you explain why you come to the conclusion that it is possible?
    – Alpha_Pi
    Jan 24, 2016 at 18:39

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