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How to Perform Low-Level Format on Hard Drive?

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Aug 04, 2023 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

Have you formatted your hard drive, but can’t seem to troubleshoot an issue? Well, you might consider performing a low-level format on the hard drive. Unlike a high-level format, the low-level formatting of the drive would divide the disc into sectors and would erase all the saved data. In this post, I’m going to make you familiar with the difference between high-level format vs. low-level format and would also help you use the best low-level format hard drive tool.

What Is Low-Level Format (LLF)?

LLF (Low-level Format) of the hard drive is also known as “zero-filled” since it erases all the data from the storage and would replace it with zero-state bits.

Low-level Format vs. High-level Format

You might already know that disk formatting can be of two types – low-level and high-level. To further understand the concept let’s learn the difference between high-level format vs. low-level format.

Overall Principle

The high-level formatting only clears our data, initializes the partitioning tables, and creates new booting details (if needed). It will automatically get rid of logical errors and bad sectors. As listed above, the low-level format of the hard drive would reallocate the partitioning area and assigns zero-bits on every level to restore its factory state.

We can perform a high-level format on dedicated partitions of the hard drive while the low-level formatting is done of the entire hard drive at once.

What is deleted?

The low-level format in the hard drive would delete all the data, partitioning table, boot sectors, file formats, district DATA, identification ID, and everything related to the drive. The high-level format on the hard drive will only remove your data and would let you change the file format.

Time consumption

Needless to say, the high-level format of the hard drive might not take so much time while the low-level formatting is a more time-consuming process.


The low-level format on the hard drive is mostly done by the manufacturer when the product leaves the factory while the high-level format of the hard drive is often done by the user. You can do the high-level format on the hard drive by simply selecting any partition and choosing the format option from the context menu.

High Level Formatting Windows

How to Perform Low-level Format on Hard Drive?

While the high-level format on the hard disk can be readily performed without any tool, it is not the case for low-level formatting. Although, there are several low-level format tools for Windows, Linux, and macOS that you can try. Here are some of the popular tools that you can consider for performing low-level formatting on the drive.

For instance, let’s consider the example of the HDD Low-level Format Tool by HDDGuru. One of the major reasons we have picked the HDD Low-level Format Tool is because it is easy to use and is available for free. Also, it can perform a low-level format on every type of hard drives like SATA, MMC, IDE, SCSI, and more.

To learn how to use the HDD low-level format tool for hard dirk by HDDGuru, you can follow these basic steps:

Step 1 Install the HDD Low-level Format tool

To start with, you can go to the official website of HDDGuru or third-party sources like CNET to download it. Afterward, you can just launch the installer and complete the simple wizard to complete its installation.

Step 2 Select the Hard Drive to Format

Now, just launch the HDD Low-level Format tool on your computer and let it detect your system’s primary/secondary disk. On the wizard, you can select the disk you want to format and click on the “Continue” button.

HDD Low-Level Format Tool

Step 3 Complete the low-level formatting

That’s it! Now you can just wait for a while and let the application perform the low-level formatting on the disk. Once the data on the disk is deleted and the repartitioning is done, the computer will be restarted with factory settings. Try not to halt the low-level formatting process is between as it might take a while to complete.

HDD Low-Level Format Tool Operation

The following video talks about how to format hard drive on Windows and Mac operation system. You can play the video to seek a more explicit guide.

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Recover Data after LLF (Low-level Format) on your Hard Drive

While the low-level format on the hard drive will erase your data, there are still chances to get your files back. To meet these recovery requirements, you can take the assistance of Wondershare Recoverit data recovery software. It is a user-friendly recovery tool that can get your files back from all kinds of sources and has one of the highest recovery rates in the industry.

Here’s how you can get your formatted data back with the help of a reliable tool like Recoverit Data Recovery.

Step 1 Select a source to scan

To begin with, you can just install and launch the Recoverit Data Recovery on your system and select a location to scan. You can pick the entire drive, a partition, a folder, or even an external storage media.

select the LLF hard drive

Step 2 Let the application retrieve your data

Once you click on the “Start” button, simply wait for a while as Recoverit would scan the selected location. You can view the progress from an on-screen indicator here and even pause/stop the process.

scan the formatted hard drive

Step 3 Restore your files to any location

Afterward, you can use the inbuilt filters on the side to handpick the selected data of your choice. On the native interface of Recoverit, you can also preview your photos, videos, or documents and select what you wish to recover.

recover data from the low level formatted hard drive

In the end, you can just select what you wish to recover and even choose a target location to save your files.

save the recovery files

Final Words

There you go! After reading this post, you would be able to learn how to perform a low-level format on the hard drive in Windows or Linux. As you can see, with a dedicated low-level format hard drive tool, the whole process can be pretty easy. There are tons of applications out there that you can further explore to perform a low-level format on Mac/Windows hard drive. Besides that, if you have lost your hard drive data by mistake, then simply use a resourceful tool like Recoverit Data Recovery to restore your files.

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