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Windows 7: External HDD Low Level Format | Partitioning

13 Feb 2015   #1
TheDeerDude

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64)
 
 
External HDD Low Level Format | Partitioning

I've recently decided to do something about my 1TB of trash on an external hard drive I own. I've copied all the data onto two other drives, so this one is empty.

Now, I am considering performing a low level format (basically a 0-fill) on this drive, to erase all the data and restore it to almost-like-factory condition. To start clean, pretty much. Is that a good idea?

Also, to organize my data nicely, I was thinking of partitioning that drive. Two, maybe three partitions to separate some stuff. Is that possible/safe or external hard drives? I've never tried it, that's why I'm asking. I know it's pretty much impossible on flash drives.

Some information on the drive itself: WD Elements 1TB USB 3.0 (USB Powered) 2-3 years old, good condition


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Feb 2015   #2
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi,
Wiping a drive that large will take a very long time possibly all day.
I doubt it would hurt the drive though but it maybe painfully slow to you,
Cheers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2015   #3
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

It is a good idea to give a thorough wipe to the HDD before partitioning, not withstanding that it will take a lot of time (Guestimate for 1 TB is about 12 hrs.). Leave it chugging overnight.

You may use the manufacturer's Diagnostic/repair utility Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows WD Support / Downloads / Legacy Internal / WD RE2 Do a full erase.

Alternatively you may use HDD Guru's HDD Low Level Format Tool (my favourite eraser). Download Windows Executable (works without installation) ver 4.40. HDDGURU: HDD LLF Low Level Format Tool Be sure to select the correct drive for writing zeroes.

Whichever you use, plug out all other USB HDDs/ Flash drives so that you do not perform the operation on the wrong drive.
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13 Feb 2015   #4
TheDeerDude

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64)
 
 

@ThrashZone:
I did this before with an internal 320GB drive, which took about 4 hours. Time is not an issue

@jumanji:
I decided to give it a try and go with HDTune Pro since already owning a copy, it has erase/0-fill feature so I thought I'll give that a go since I've already got it installed. It worked fine before with a 320GB internal HDD. So far so good, ~300GB after 4 hours.

Thank you both for replies, I'll continue with the format and get back with results.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2015   #5
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi,
I don't know how your connected to this external but I doubt you can judge performance to an internal connection speed,
Be prepared for a long time to complete
Cheers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2015   #6
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TheDeerDude View Post

Also, to organize my data nicely, I was thinking of partitioning that drive. Two, maybe three partitions to separate some stuff. Is that possible/safe or external hard drives? I've never tried it, that's why I'm asking. I know it's pretty much impossible on flash drives.
It's possible, but not normally an advantage over simply using a folder structure such as E:\pictures, E:\mp3, E:\video, etc.

The disadvantage is that you likely can't accurately guess the growth rate of the data on the partitions, which leads to one partition running out of space while the other has plenty of free space. You're then forced to re-adjust partitions. It's inefficient in that way. You don't face that problem with a single partition and a folder structure.

What is your motivation for using multiple partitions on this data drive? How does a partition structure organize data more "nicely" than a folder structure?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2015   #7
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

I agree, just make folders, no need to partition an external drive.

But if you really want to it would be fine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2015   #8
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Due to the inherent issues presented above you need a compelling reason to partition an external drive. Folders were designed to provide organization and they are usually far superior to partitions.

Create as many partitions as needed - but no more. Usually 1 is enough.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2015   #9
TheDeerDude

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64)
 
 

My intention was to separate some data physically, but it would be inefficient, indeed. I really am better off with a single partition, and folders. Now, to come up with a simple yet effective folder structure for storing all kinds of goods - that might take me a while.

The format took over 13 hours, using usb 2.0

So far so good - I've initialized it as MBR and created a single partition that uses the whole drive. The speeds I get is 27MB/s read and 21MB/s write. So far so good, I'm just copying files back onto it.

Thanks for help, everyone

EDIT: I did notce that it hangs all the explorer windows that access it in some way, when I'm copying over something and try to browse some folders on it. Pretty annoying, hopefully will go away.
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 External HDD Low Level Format | Partitioning




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