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1991 Western Digital Low level formatting utility needed

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    1991 Western Digital Low level formatting utility needed

    Have an old WDAC280 WD Caviar from around 1991 or so.

    Need whatever the WD equivalent of Disk Manager (Seagate's program) to low level format and get rid of the bad sectors. Anyone have it?

    Note, this is not "reinitilization" or zeroing out the drive. This is the utility to actually low level format the sucker.

    Thanks!

    #2
    Originally posted by acadiel View Post
    Have an old WDAC280 WD Caviar from around 1991 or so.

    Need whatever the WD equivalent of Disk Manager (Seagate's program) to low level format and get rid of the bad sectors. Anyone have it?

    Note, this is not "reinitilization" or zeroing out the drive. This is the utility to actually low level format the sucker.

    Thanks!
    Disk Manager does *NOT* LLF an IDE drive. It takes a formatted drive and prepares it for an OS to be installed.

    There is no utility to LLF an IDE drive outside of the drive's factory environment/equipment.

    YOU cannot 'actually low level format the sucker'.

    So, what do you really want to do to this drive?
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

    Comment


      #3
      Someone correct me if I'm wrong! I believe that's an IDE drive. You don't want to LLF that drive!! Some IDE drives can be made unusable after LLF.

      Looks like Stone replyed while I was replying.

      Comment


        #4
        If it were me I would just throw MAXLLF at it: https://winworldpc.com/product/maxto...format-utility

        With IDE it all works the same way. All a program can do is throw a command at the drive that that *requests* a low-level format. It will probably just wipe the sectors, and hopefully re-map that bad tracks. In some rare cases it can cause early IDE hard drives to "forget" what its actual geometry is, but if it is already full of bad sectors then you don't have too much to lose.

        Comment


          #5
          MAXLLF is what I'm looking for, sounds like. Something that can actually remap spares and take bad sectors out of use on this old 80MB drive. Spinrite and other refresh type utilities aren't taking them out of service.....

          Comment


            #6
            I had some success with maxllf back in the day with various drives. Definitely worth a go.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ibmapc View Post
              Someone correct me if I'm wrong! I believe that's an IDE drive. You don't want to LLF that drive!! Some IDE drives can be made unusable after LLF.

              Looks like Stone replyed while I was replying.
              Don't laugh, but back in the day ~ 1998, I had a Toshiba laptop with a 500MB 2.5" IDE drive in it (noisy little thing, too). Had some sector errors on it that formats and such weren't taking out of service, so the drive would get stuck on 1-2 of them consistently. Toshiba actually had me download a small command line utility that ran in DOS that "low level formatted" the drive (or remapped the bad sectors correctly) and I didn't ever have another issue with that drive. It was tiny (probably <50K), and Toshiba said they didn't give it out except for that one particular use case that I had encountered. Was the best 3 year warranty ever on that 400CS, and always got some top notch tech support back then....

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by acadiel View Post
                Toshiba actually had me download a small command line utility that ran in DOS that "low level formatted" the drive...
                FWIW, whatever it did, it didn't LLF the drive.
                PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by acadiel View Post
                  Don't laugh, but back in the day ~ 1998, I had a Toshiba laptop with a 500MB 2.5" IDE drive in it (noisy little thing, too). Had some sector errors on it that formats and such weren't taking out of service, so the drive would get stuck on 1-2 of them consistently.
                  Not laughing here. That sort of thing happens all the time on IDE, SCSI, and SATA drives. When a bad sector develops, the drive may sit there for infinity trying to get a successful read. It won't give up until something writes to the sector, so it knows it can re-map. But since those frequently develop inside important system files, that never happens and people just assume the drive is dead.

                  In theory just wiping the drive with something like Linux "dd" should do the same thing, but I have seen instances where that still doesn't help for whatever reason. Then bring in the "low level formatter" and it cleans everything up. Of course, as I mentioned, the name is inherited from how the earliest drives handled the format request. What it actually does is up to the drive firmware. Since it often has the same visible result of fixing things up like a real low-level-format, the name kind of just stuck.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by SomeGuy View Post
                    Not laughing here. That sort of thing happens all the time on IDE, SCSI, and SATA drives. When a bad sector develops, the drive may sit there for infinity trying to get a successful read. It won't give up until something writes to the sector, so it knows it can re-map. But since those frequently develop inside important system files, that never happens and people just assume the drive is dead.

                    In theory just wiping the drive with something like Linux "dd" should do the same thing, but I have seen instances where that still doesn't help for whatever reason. Then bring in the "low level formatter" and it cleans everything up. Of course, as I mentioned, the name is inherited from how the earliest drives handled the format request. What it actually does is up to the drive firmware. Since it often has the same visible result of fixing things up like a real low-level-format, the name kind of just stuck.
                    So, it's not literally a "low level format", but it's something built into the drive firmware, sounds like, that causes it to 'refresh' the good and bad sectors, correct?

                    Yeah, Spinrite was having fits with this 80MB drive last night. I haven't had that system powered up (it's a Tandy 2500 SX/20) enough yet to trust it overnight, and after about 6 hours, and only getting 30% or so through the 'refresh' operation, I went ahead and told it to stop. The bad part is the drive STILL thinks those "unrecoverable" sectors are there, even after Spinrite read/wrote them into oblivion (the drive SHOULD have realized those were needing to be remapped.)

                    I did try a 512MB CompactFlash card in that system, and tried dwindling around with the CHS settings in the BIOS setup program ("custom" settings) as well as the AUTO and other settings (like 348MB, etc) of the different types. I got it to be recognized and was able to FDisk and Format it, and even managed to write some files to it. However, booting and/or reading the files locked up the CF card (the LED stayed "ON") and it refused to do anything.

                    I did get one of these 256MB Disk On Chips for like $11 on eBay. We'll see if it works or not if I can't get this 80MB drive working again.

                    http://www.ebay.com/itm/262287342555...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

                    If all else fails, I'll have to see if that guy that did the last run of the XT IDEs has any more, as I'll have two Tandy's that need them then.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by acadiel View Post
                      So, it's not literally a "low level format", but it's something built into the drive firmware, sounds like, that causes it to 'refresh' the good and bad sectors, correct?
                      Correct, except for some very early stepper-motor based ones where that may have done an actual low-level format.

                      Originally posted by acadiel View Post
                      Yeah, Spinrite was having fits with this 80MB drive last night. I haven't had that system powered up (it's a Tandy 2500 SX/20) enough yet to trust it overnight, and after about 6 hours, and only getting 30% or so through the 'refresh' operation,
                      Hmm, Spinrite mainly does its magic on MFM/RLL drives. I was under the impression that the later versions were IDE aware, but if it doesn't know how to do anything special with IDE, then it is just going to sit and spin . Since SpinRite is a non-destructive tool, it is going to waste a lot of time reading bad/weak sectors if you don't actually need anything on the drive. If the drive re-certifies OK after using MAXLLF, then perhaps give Spinrite a try to see if it finds any new weak areas.

                      But it could be that the drive has already exhausted its spares or didn't have any spares to start with.

                      Originally posted by acadiel View Post
                      I did try a 512MB CompactFlash card in that system, and tried dwindling around with the CHS settings in the BIOS setup program ("custom" settings) as well as the AUTO and other settings (like 348MB, etc) of the different types. I got it to be recognized and was able to FDisk and Format it, and even managed to write some files to it. However, booting and/or reading the files locked up the CF card (the LED stayed "ON") and it refused to do anything.
                      Might test that on another systems. Sounds sort of like a dead one I ran in to, where the first 64K or so was readable and the rest resulted in errors - so the drive looked fine, but actually doing anything with it made it barf.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by SomeGuy View Post
                        But it could be that the drive has already exhausted its spares or didn't have any spares to start with.
                        A good rule of thumb is that once a drive has used up all its allotted spares it's time to remove it from service. IOW, once you begin to see bad sectors the drive has deteriorated enough that it should no longer be considered reliable. Of course, YMMV but don't forget that there is always a risk of data loss.
                        PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I really want to smack the idiot who started spreading around that you could just LLF any hard drive. It confuses the hell out of the newbs.
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                          Comment


                            #14
                            I gotta play devils advocate here and ask, why aren't you just using a CF card, DOM, or modern IDE drive or something? I would never mess with old IDE drives, too unreliable, I would much rather use modern IDE drives, or best yet CF cards in cheap CF>IDE adapter or industrial DOM.
                            My Vintage computer/blog site
                            Searching for a keyboard for a WYSEpc WY-1100.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by SomeGuy View Post
                              If it were me I would just throw MAXLLF at it: https://winworldpc.com/product/maxto...format-utility

                              With IDE it all works the same way. All a program can do is throw a command at the drive that that *requests* a low-level format. It will probably just wipe the sectors, and hopefully re-map that bad tracks. In some rare cases it can cause early IDE hard drives to "forget" what its actual geometry is, but if it is already full of bad sectors then you don't have too much to lose.
                              Gave it a try and got a 'divide by zero' error on the Tandy 2500 SX/20 (386). (4MB + 1MB RAM).

                              Will have to transplant it into another system and try there.

                              Comment

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