Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: Formatting the Install/Boot Partition - Low-Level vs. Quick ?

30 Apr 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 
Formatting the Install/Boot Partition - Low-Level vs. Quick ?

I noticed when I went about doing a fresh install of Windows 7 on the HDD that shipped with my laptop, and using the partitioning and formatting options included in the installation routine, that when I'd do a format, the formatting would complete very rapidly. From this, I deduce that the installation routine does not perform a low-level format.

Perhaps, from this I should conclude that a low-level format is completely unnecessary. Yet, I seem to remember reading somewhere online, at some point in time (note: this might have been back in the Win'95 days) that it's better to do a low-level format; to flip all the bits to zero.

If anyone can shed any light on this issue (i.e., is doing a low-level format a good idea, or simply overkill and completely unnecessary?), it'd be most appreciated -- especially since I may be starting (yet another) installation process in the near future.

Thanks ahead of time for any thoughts you can share on this.
--Thri

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

30 Apr 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

The data being written over the old installation has no cognizance at all of whether it's overwriting 1's or 0's so zeroing is a waste of time and only useful for making data irretrievable by most forensic methods.

If there is a performance or troubleshooting reason to wipe the disk at all it is occasional installation problems we can solve much more easily with the Diskpart Clean Command which zeroes possibly corrupt or conflicting code in the boot sector.

The XP full format incorporated a Disk Check to sequester bad sectors, not zeroing. It's a waste of time as we found here from long experience and much debate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2012   #3

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
The data being written over the old installation has no cognizance at all of whether it's overwriting 1's or 0's so zeroing is a waste of time and only useful for making data irretrievable by most forensic methods.
Makes complete sense to me. Thanks, gr.
--Thri
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


01 May 2012   #4

Windows 7 home premium x64
 
 

Depending on your background, that is called zero writing, a low level format is far riskier which involves aligning all the CHS into the right place, usually best done by the manufacturer.
It seems to be accepted now for a few years that zero writing is now called low level formatting !
I'm old school on that one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2012   #5

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cyclic View Post
a low level format is far riskier which involves aligning all the CHS into the right place, usually best done by the manufacturer.
Now that you mention this, my memory is jogged... and I vaguely recall learning that there was something even lower than a "low level" format, and someone may have used a term like "factory-level formatting." Not sure... it's a vague memory. But I think you and that mystery source were talking about the same thing. Obviously you're being much more precise and detailed... and I'm glad to have the better understanding your post provides. However, what does "aligning all the CHS" mean? Thanks. --Thri
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2012   #6

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

Now I know that others may tell you not necessary and so on and so forth, but here is my approach:
  • Run ChkDsk or the mfg's test program over the entire disk to make sure that all bad sectors are marked and recorded in the disks controller.
  • Use DiskPart and its CLEAN ALL command to write zeroes to each and every byte on the disk.

If these steps fail, then the disk gets used as a door stop.
karl
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2012   #7

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
Now I know that others may tell you not necessary and so on and so forth, but here is my approach:
  • Run ChkDsk or the mfg's test program over the entire disk to make sure that all bad sectors are marked and recorded in the disks controller.
  • Use DiskPart and its CLEAN ALL command to write zeroes to each and every byte on the disk.
If these steps fail, then the disk gets used as a door stop.
karl
Thanks, karl. In the event of using this approach, I'm assuming I'd need some kind of boot CD (or other media) that would contain the above commands (e.g., ChkDsk, DiskPart, CLEAN ALL). If so, would you recommend this method for building such a CD? Or is there another method you prefer? Thanks.

--Thri
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Use this tutorial, which Greg linked you to in #2: Disk - Clean and Clean All with Diskpart Command

For boot media you can use a Windows 7 DVD or a System Repair Disc.

System Repair Disc - Create
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2012   #9

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

As SeaVixen said,
you can use your Win 7 DVD or a Win 7 System Repair Disc for "boot media"

CREATE A SYSTEM REPAIR DISC

START | type System Repair | Enter key | Create Disc button

===================================================
===================================================
I recommend creating a System Repair Disc as you never know when you will need it.

At the very first dialog you get when booting from the Win 7 DVD,
press SHIFT + F10 to get to a command prompt.

Here's how to get to a command prompt using a System Repair Disc:
=======================================
GO TO A COMMAND PROMPT USING A SYSTEM REPAIR DISC

1) Insert System Repair Disc into optical reader.
2) Shutdown computer.
3) Boot up computer from the System Repair Disc
4) A SYSTEM RECOVERY OPTIONS dialog appears.
5) NEXT button
6) select Use recovery tools that can help fix problems starting Windows
7) NEXT | Choose Command Prompt

Run desired commands and type EXIT when finished.
Remove the System Repair Disc.
Shutdown computer.
Power on computer.

NOTE:
If your computer doesn’t boot from the optical drive, then
Immediately after pushing your Power ON button,
start tapping the F2 key to get to the BIOS to change the boot order

On some computers, Immediately after pushing the Power ON button,
start tapping the F12 key and choose CD/DVD to change the boot order
only for this time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 Formatting the Install/Boot Partition - Low-Level vs. Quick ?




Thread Tools



Similar help and support threads for2: Formatting the Install/Boot Partition - Low-Level vs. Quick ?
Thread Forum
Install win 7 on GPT partition WITHOUT formatting all data Installation & Setup
formatting boot partition, single drive Installation & Setup
How to install Windows 7 without formatting the partition? Installation & Setup
Solved Windows 7 will not boot after formatting Windows XP partition Installation & Setup
The value of true "Low-Level" formatting of HDD? Installation & Setup
install Windows 7 on different partition than the boot Installation & Setup
Resizing Partition to install dual boot Installation & Setup

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:06 AM.
Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App
  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33