View Full Version : help!...abort low level format?

12-04-2001, 11:08 AM
I just managed to make hard drive toolkit see one of 2 new drives in an external case(see post below on help!....new RAID hangs up) and auto initialize wouldn't work...tried the low level format option and it started, saying it would take 9 hours or so...tried to abort...forced quit on HDToolkit, hit forced restart...still have clock cursor going and afraid to shut down. the drive light of the drive in question(being formatted?) is on......Do I dare turn off power to computer.....should I wait 9 hours and see? .....hope I'm not damaging the drive please advise....

12-04-2001, 11:19 AM
Well it will definitely need a low level format now! :-)

Use Apple Drive Setup to do the Low Level as it takes about an hour per every 10 gigs. Then if you want to use HDT as the driver use it and do a quick format later.

12-04-2001, 12:19 PM
Thanks....I went over everything I could think of and finally found a bent pin on the external cable connecting the drive case to computer.....straightened it out and both drives came up and auto initialized with HDToolkit....I knew something screwy was going on with the recognition of one of the drives as a scanner and the other as less than actual size ..sorry to panic...just afraid that I might damage a drive with the start? of low level format.

12-06-2001, 03:09 AM
The reported time for a SCSI low level format is always just a guestimate. Apple's Drive Setup and all third party software use exactly the same process to do a low level format. This is to send the SCSI command to the drive to do it. Since the drive is doing this process without interation from the computer, force quiting or reseting the computer will not abort the format process of the drive. As long as power is still present on the drive, the format will continue until complete.

Of course, aborting the formatting software will stop the partition table and drivers from being installed, but if the drive is allowed to complete the format process, you shouldn't need to low level format again.

12-06-2001, 08:20 PM
Thanks for the explanation, Lasvegas

Unfortunately, I didn't allow the process to continue, since I powered down the computer. I was afraid of damage, but after finding the bent pin and bad connection on the external cable(I assume the reason why I couldn't access the drive well enough to do a simple quick initialization), I was able to access and do a simple quick initialization on both drives with SoftRaid and the create the 36gig raid volume....My question is, do you think I should go back and do low level formatting on these drives and set up a new volume? Damien's post below makes me wonder if it might be necessary..The drives seem to be functioning normally......Thanks

12-07-2001, 10:48 AM

If you read the FWB docs they say a low-level format (at least their flavor) should only be used when you desire to change the block size (defaults to 512, BTW).

Thus, if you did NOT spec a different size at the start then its just building blocks of the same size that they started at. However, if you abort while trying to CHANGE the block size, then to get the drive back I think you WILL really have to let the low-level format run to completion.

While trying to get a Maxtor ide drive init'd by FWB that I put in one of my son's P'base a couple years back, we tried the FWB low-level but aborted it with NO ill effects. FWB didn't 'really' support the drive but they gave me a work around (basically 'generic' drive specs). Things are much improved for ide drives since then, however.

I've done the 'bent pin' snipe hunt myself on an internal drive. It sure seems that the pins used on 68 pin connectors are dying to lay down on the job. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
It ain't called 'SCSI Voodoo' for no good reason. http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif

I've only ever done what amounts to a 'quick initialize' on dozens of scsi & IDE drives and swapped them from PeeCees-to-Macs and back without EVER doing a low-level format on either side of the fence. Format and Fdisk on the PeeCee side (from the C prompt usually) are all I've used there to get a 'mac-enabled' drive to work in a PeeCee. Never had a problem doing this back-and-forth.

While experimenting/benchmarking some drives, I HAVE had an occasional problem with other manuf's drivers on a drive when trying to init the drive with a different manuf's driver. I had to use FWB to delete one or more 'driver' partitions to free up space for a different driver pkg. It has eliminated a show-stopper more than once for me when doing some experimenting with hardware and software configurations.

FWB's full retail hard drive kit (I currently have 4.5 in hand) has some VERY powerful abilities when it comes to tweaking a drive, etc. but knowing what you can change doesn't necessarily mean you know WHY you'd change it...let alone what the values should be to improve some performance measurement. I'm still learning and I've been wading around in the SCSI world since the mid '80s.

I've also read at least one drive manuf's literature that recommended against doing a low-level format for any reason. One note even claimed that a TRUE low-level format was not possible on their drives. Perhaps ALL user-level 'low-level' formats are just for block size changes.

In the PeeCee world, do note that a Scandisk util run is NOT doing a low-level format, by anyone's definition.

12-08-2001, 11:00 AM
Thanks DHB

for a very informative explanation on formatting. I'll definitely keep this in my files for future use. The information on cross platform drive formatting was something I've wondered about, but have not yet heard. I'm sure your explanation of low level fomatting without changing block sizes explains why interruption of this process had no apparent ill effect on the drive in question. Everything's working fine with the quick initialization, so I 'll leave well enough alone. It does make me worry a lot less about some unforeseen damage....