What is Low Level Format and How to Low Level Format SD Card

What is Low Level Format and How to Low Level Format SD Card

Are you wondering what low level format is and how you can achieve this for your SD card? In this article, you will find the answers you seek.

Jul 20, 2020 • Filed to: SD Card Solutions • Proven solutions

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low level format jpg

Do you need to give away your hard disk? Perhaps, you are tired of your computer, and you want to discard it but still have private information on it? What you need is to perform a low level format and be sure that data cannot be recovered from your storage device.

This article will give you a full tutorial on what low level formatting means, why you need to low level format your SD card, and tools to use in performing this formatting. You will be shown how to low level format your SD card in Linux.

What Does Low Level Format Mean?

Low Level Format, also called LLF, refers to that type of formatting that completely erases your hard disk and creates new sectors and tracks on it. Through LLF, a physical format is created and this determines where your data are stored on the disk you are formatting. This type of formatting is performed directly on your disk sectors, unlike high level formatting.

If you low level format, say an SD card for instance, it means that surfaces of the SD card will be marked, then the start of a recording block, as well as other information will be indicated. All these would be used later by the disk controller for reading, and writing data. This can last for a long time.


Why Low Level Format an SD Card?

Low level format is not as popularly used as high level format because it takes a long time. However, this type of formatting is very vital for reasons such as these:


2 Best SD Card Low Level Format Tools

The internet is filled with all types of low level format tools that can be confusing. Not to worry, two great tools will be introduced to you so that you don’t make the mistake of using a tool that is not effective.

1. SD Memory Card Formatter

The SD Memory Card Formatter is a tool that is recommended for formatting not just your SD card, but also SDXC and SDHC Memory Cards. With this tool, optimized performance is guaranteed.

Note that this tool does not format the areas on your SD cards that have been deemed “protected” for security reasons. If you need to format such protected areas, you can use the appropriate SD host devices or computer’s application that ensures security function is guaranteed. This tool can be used on Windows and Mac system versions.

sd memory card formatter 1

2. Hard Disk Low Level Format Tool

This is another great SD card low level format tool that you can use. The tool performs format of your SD card with a speed of 180 GB/hour, i.e. 50 MB/s. Pretty fast, right? Another advantage is that any update you need to do on the tool is free. It also has a warrantee period of thirty days.

The Hard Disk Low Level Format tool is great for other flash cards such as MMC, CompactFlash, and MemoryStick, in addition to SD cards, all using a card-reader.

hard disk low level format tool 2


How to Low Level Format Card in Linux

Apart from using disk formatting software/tools with graphical interfaces, you could dive into your computer a little deeper, taking advantages of core command-line tools utilized by such software.

We’ll be using two of such commands:

1. Using dd command.

In this method, you simply open up a shell and type the following command:
Sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/drive_name bs=2048 count=1
Replace “drive_name” with the name of the drive. Warning! Don’t type in the wrong drive!

2. Using mkfs.vfat

Step 1. Run ‘lsblk’ command to identify the device.

You should have something like:

low level format in Linux 1

Step 2. Run ‘parted’ command followed by the name of the block device that you want to format. ‘sdb’ in the example above.

Type “Sudo parted /dev/sdb”. Replace sdb the name of the drive.

Warning! Don’t type in a wrong drive.

Step 3. Create a partition table using the following command: (parted) mklabel msdos

Step 4. Next, format it as fat32 using command: sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdb1


How to Recover Lost Data after Formatting SD Card

If you have performed a regular SD card format, you can retrieve the data on the card using a third-party recovery tool. Recoverit Data Recovery is the tool you can trust to recover your formatted files. This is because the tool supports a wide range of data loss scenarios such as formatted SD cards, deleted files, memory card errors, and corrupted internal and external hard drives, etc.

Furthermore, Recoverit is the tool you turn to for easy steps and user-friendly interface on both your Windows and Mac Operating Systems. It is interesting to note that Recoverit supports the recovery of data of different varying formats such as audio, images, excel, documents, etc.

Enough said about how amazing Recoverit is; follow the steps below to use it:

Step 1: Specify a Location

Choose the location you want to recover your data from, i.e. your SD card; select the “Start” button to commence the process.

recoverit interface

Step 2: Scan the Location

Wait on Recoverit to scan your card location for all the files to retrieve them for you. Even as the scanning is going on, you can see the progress bar.

operations during scanning

Step 3: Preview and Save

Peruse through all the recovered files once the scanning is done. This step has been made available by the Preview feature of Recoverit. Now, you can save all your files by choosing, “Recover” at the bottom right of the page.

preview recovered photos


The Bottom Line

This article has been able to explain what a low level format means and why it is the recommended type of SD card format for you. You can now use the steps provided to carry out a low level format on your SD card in Linux. If you have done a regular SD card format but need some data back, Recoverit Data Recovery can perform the magic.

Eleanor Reed

staff Editor

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