High-level format vs low-level: what’s the difference? In this post, MiniTool will list the difference between them after offering you a brief introduction to them. Besides, it recommends you some tools for low-level formatting and high-level formatting hard drives.

For some reason, you need to format your storage device. For instance:

  • You buy a new hard drive, SD card, USB flash drive, etc.
  • You want to put new data on a full drive.
  • You would like to remove all the data on the hard drive.
  • You want to change the current file system of your drive.
  • You plan to remove all the data on the hard drive.
  • You expect to improve the performance of your storage device
  • You want to remove viruses from hard drives.

Then, it is inevitable to choose a format way. High-level format vs low-level: which to pick? You can select a suitable format method after reading the post.

What Is Low-Level Formatting

Low-level formatting, short for LLF, marks cylinders and tracks of a hard drive as blank. It further divides tracks into multiple sectors. As you see, low-level formatting actually is a physical formatting process.

After you perform a low-level format process on a disk with data installed, all the data will be wiped and can’t be recovered. Given that fact, it is regarded as a good way to avoid privacy leakage. You can also remove viruses from an MBR (Master Boot Record) drive by low-level formatting it.

However, if you low-level format a modern hard drive, its lifespan will be shortened. As for older MFM drives, they can be low-level formatted to prolong their service time. Besides, computers can’t low-level format a modern IDE/ATA or SCSI hard disk.

Since low-level formatting hard drives could cause physical damage, it’s strongly recommended that all Windows users, professionals, and even disk repairing workers don’t use this method unless you’re ready to destroy everything on the drive.

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HDD Low-Level Format Tools

If you are going to low-level format hard drives manually, you should pay attention to the following HDD low-level format tools. Then pick one from them to perform the operation.

#1. HDD Low Level Format Tool

Developed by HDDGURU, this HDD low-level format tool allows you to format hard disks (SATA, SSD, IDE, SCSI, etc.), SD cards, memory sticks, firewire drives, and CompactFlash media devices. It follows the zero-filling hard drive process, ensuring that the data can’t be recovered.

With HDD Low Level Format Tool, you can re-initialize the disk to factory settings. To be specific, it is capable of clearing all the partitions and erasing all the saved data on the drive. You should make a backup before you low-level format hard drives.

  1. Download this low-level format hard drive tool from its official website and install it on your computer.
  2. Connect the target drive to your computer and launch the program.
  3. Choose the connected drive and press Continue .
  4. Tap Yes to continue.
  5. Switch to the LOW-LEVEL FORMAT tab and select FORMAT THIS DEVICE .

#2. Lowvel

Lowvel is considered as a perfect HDD low-level format tool because it erases drive data permanently by zero-filling the storage device. Besides, it can overwrite data saved on the HDD. It helps you boost the write performance of the HDD and get rid of various drive issues.

This tool works on systems ranging from Windows XP to Windows 10. After you download and install it on your PC, follow the steps below to low-level format hard drives.

  1. Run Lowvel to access its main interface.
  2. Choose the drive you want to format from the drop-down menu.
  3. Tap on the Start button to begin the process.

#3. Diskpart

Diskpart is a built-in low-level format utility in the Windows system. It enables you to low-level format hard drives through some command lines.

Step 1: Press Windows and R keys, and input cmd in the prompted Run window.

Step 2: Hit the Enter key or click OK .

Step 3: Type the commands below and hit Enter after each.

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk N ( N stands for the number that represents the disk that you want to format)
  • clean all

Step 4: After the process ends, type and execute the following commands.

  • create partition primary
  • format fs=ntfs quick
  • assign

#4. USB Low-Level Format

USB Low-Level Format allows you to low-level format storage devices like HDDs, SSDs, and USB drives with ease. Here’s the guide on how to use this HDD low-level format tool.

  1. Download and install the program from its official website.
  2. Launch the app and choose the drive to format.
  3. Select a format algorithm from the given options.
  4. Click the Start button.

What Is High-Level Formatting

Different from low-level formatting, high-level formatting is a kind of logical formatting. It initializes portions of the hard disk and creates file system structures like Master Boot Record and file allocation tables on the disk. It aims for installing a new or used USB/hard drive for computers with file systems like NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, etc.

High-level format is known as HLF and is also referred to as standard format.