Low Level formatting/Repairs on Mac??

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by UltraNEO*, May 11, 2010.

  1. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #1
    Folks, is it possible to low level format some drives on a Mac?
    Seems Seagate doesn't have any disctools for Mac, it's all PC... Incase anyone is wondering... I did try it on the PC but there seems to be some oddities, the Seagate drive I'm trying to fix won't play ball with the WD system drive:eek: You'd think in this day and age, there wouldn't be any compatibility issues, right?:rolleyes:

    So... As a last resort, would it be possible to do HD repairs via a Mac either in Snow Leopard or via VMware and Winblowz?
     
  2. psingh01 macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Have you tried the disk utility app? Check /Applications/Utilities folder. In any case you can't do it from vmware as that just sees a virtual disk.
     
  3. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #3
    Did you or have you tried repairing an empty disk on a Mac??? Apple's Disk Utilities doesn't technically repair and reallocate blocks/sectors..


    Next..
     
  4. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #4
    there are two steps that you should take here.

    1. run a 7-pass delete over the HDD. for obvious reasons to delete data etc.

    2. purchase a tool called SpinRite and condition the drive. this program can do a number of things including resetting the magnetic polarity of each bit on the hard drive, and mapping all dead sectors so that they are not used. it will basically give you the lowest level factory reset.

    SpinRite does not act as a formatting tool btw :)
     
  5. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #5
    Hmm... i have doubts...


    NANOFROG!!! WHERE ARE YOU? :D
     
  6. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #6
    get your wierd little crappy floppy drive tools which probably wont fix it either then!

    if its damaged its damaged.
     
  7. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #7
    Would you scrap/trash a Car cause you have a bad starter motor?
    MBRs are fixable... they can even be relocated with the right software but i doubt i can do this on a Mac, even under bootcamp, though I could be wrong.
     
  8. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #8
    so reformatting is out of the question then.

    im assuming its a SATA drive - why not get Hiren's Boot CD and run the SeaGate Tools off of that? it's worth a try.
     
  9. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #9
    I managed to get 'seatools for dos' on a flash dongle, booted a PC of that now, seems to be working... at least it's doing something... :)
     
  10. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #10
    impressive. nice job. still going ok? any errors or stuff?
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #11
    There's 3rd party software out there (ideally, it provides a boot image, and runs from that), but it's best to use something provided by the drive maker (each brand's low level formatting is different, so it is specific). You wouldn't want to use SeaTools on a WD drive for example. :eek: :p

    Unfortunately, it's a PITA on a Mac as you've discovered. :(
     
  12. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #12
    Man, four hours on and it's still grinding away!!!
    I wonder what will come first, the death of the drive or the solution? Hmmmm:rolleyes:


    PITA?
    Kinda of flat-bread?:confused:

    Anyway, I'd love to see what your common Mac noob do, in the wild do, would they just trash the drive and buy a replacement? Or flog it on ebay as "Original factory Mac Drive, untested...)
     
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #13
    Unfortunately, this is how it goes. And yes, the "solution" can in fact kill an unstable drive (lots of additional stress on both the electronics and mechanical components). In this case, if the platters are too far gone, there's nothing the software can do (assuming that is in fact the case, but from what you described, I'm of the opinion the platters are the culprit).

    Pita's rather tasty with the right stuff on/rolled in it, but in this case, I meant Pain In The Arse. :p

    I think that would depend on their ethics more than PC vs. Mac, or anything else IMO.

    On an unrelated side note, I've been having some major issues with my SATA RAID system (specifically the ARC-1231ML). I keep getting Under Volt reports from the card (i.e. more than 1k emails per hour :eek:), and the log's full of gibberish as well. Drives have been dying on me (PCB's are getting blown).

    PSU and main board are testing out properly, and the wall voltage flows through a UPS. There's strong evidence that the card's teh culprite, and I've got to get the card swapped out. :( The RMA process seems like it could be difficult, as Areca's made arrangements with the vendors they sell through (this would be the first RMA I've ever had to do with their products). The warranty is 3 yrs BTW, but the retailers tend not to want to take anything back that old (mine's not, but it's over a year, which is what the vendor I purchased from states as their limit for RMA replacements).

    This could get even more ugly that I've already dealt with (RMA'ed the main board, +3.3V regulator was tested, declared functional, and sent back, and RMA'ed drives, which were defective; non sequential S/N's, so it's not the result of a bad batch). Nor would they cause the Under Volt condition (affecting the entire system).
     
  14. UltraNEO* thread starter macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #14
    Yeah... seems my drives just dies sometime in the night when i was too busy snooozing. lol So much for that!!!
    Wonder can i get #10 for it on fleabay - under one of those 'sold as seen' sales... lol
    It'll make a nice paper weight! ;)

    I wonder is the warranty still valid, you know, they give fiver years now.. but.. it's only good if they physically swap out the unit!! I don't wanna place too much trust in a patched job...

    hahaha!!

    PITA!!! :D

    Well.. I never actually went through with the order of that amazing RAID card you introduce me to. As, at the moment I have my heart set on something much bigger and it'll involve me working my little ole ass off!! ... while I save money... for that dream apartment in Japan! I only know owe thing... it won't be cheap!

    It'll be nice if HD's last a few more years!
    I don't really wanna splash out on replacements every eighteen months....
     
  15. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #15
    Meh. There's much better looking things you can use for a paperweight. :D

    It's an external?

    Most of the consumer drives sold now only have 3yr warranty's. You can still find 5 with enterprise models, but you do have to check these days...

    I can imagine the conversation of the engineer to the manager now:
    Engineer explains cost cutting measures has resulted in QC is down, and failures during warranty period is increasing to the point the cost is too high to permit to continue.

    Manager: Improve QC? Why, when we can just lower the warranty period. "Cha ching sound goes off in his head..., followed by "Yup, that'll do it. //evil laugh" :rolleyes:

    Cheap bastards... :mad:

    At any rate, it's worth checking if there's any warranty period remaining. ;) And as per what it is, most externals are just an enclosure, brick PSU, and a standard consumer drive (from brands that don't make drives), whatever the cheapest thing that will do the job is used.

    What?!?!?

    Get the system tweaked, and use it to earn even more money. You'll likely be in that new apartment you're drooling over that much faster. :eek: :D

    As per the mess I'm in, I think it's just an anomaly, not par for the course. It really sucks though, as the array is too unstable now to even use (start to read or write, and it stalls, comes back, stalls... wash, rinse, repeat every few seconds). :mad:

    I know. Current QC sucks (10 - 13% right out of the antistatic bag :eek:, from what I'm seeing), and it seems only to be getting worse. :rolleyes: Poor packaging and harsh treatment during shipping are part of it, but still... :(
     
  16. iMAVERICKam macrumors member

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    Texas
    #16
    His suggestion was entirely valid. If you use Disk Utility (which is also accessible from the Utilities menu of the installer when booting from a Mac OS X Install DVD) you can click Security Options... in the Erase tab and choose a single-pass zero fill, 7-pass invert & zero fill, and 35-pass invert & zero fill.

    As for drive maintenance, SpinRite is only really useful if you're trying to recover data from a drive. If you're not, then the 7- or 35-pass options in Disk Utility will "massage" the drive enough for the drive's built-in error correction to detect bad sectors, mark them as bad, and make new spare sectors available. This "massage" is exactly how SpinRite works, just by inverting the data instead of erasing it. SpinRite will probably not work in a virtual machine with a SATA/IDE-to-USB adapter, and since it is DOS based you will need a bare metal PC to run it.

    For purely Mac based maintenance and data recovery, I recommend prosofteng.com. I purchased Data Rescue 2 when I accidentally deleted my home folder from another account and it worked fine. I have tried the demo of Drive Genius but not purchased it since I have not needed it.
     
  17. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #17
    its also useful for flagging bad sectors etc, isnt it?

    i was under the impression that changing the polarity of the blocks was different to erasing each one. sure - setting each block to a 0 might be readable, and after 7 times it might be set to the correct polarity, but its never going to be as efficient as what SpinRite will be.
     
  18. iMAVERICKam macrumors member

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    #18
    As I said, SpinRite just works the drive by inverting the data (it does this several times) which causes the drive's built-in error correction code to discover bad blocks/sectors, take them out of service (mark them as bad), and make new spare sectors available (if available). Using the secure erase with multiple passes has the same effect because it writes over the entire drive surface multiple times causing the drive's built-in error correction code to discover bad blocks/sectors, take them out of service (mark them as bad), and make new spare sectors available (if available).

    SpinRite is still extremely useful because of course it works the drive while keeping the data on the drive intact (you will still lose data on sectors the drive marks as bad) so you can back it up, and because it forces SMART to actually think - not just blindly accepting an OK status. It's very useful for gathering additional internal drive data not exposed by Disk Utility as well.

    The Disk Utility repair function is for repairing the filesystem, not the drive. Basically UltraNEO* was using to use a fork to eat his cereal and complaining that the milk was sifting through.
     
  19. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #19
    wonderful explanation. another user on here had explained it and i guess i misunderstood - saying that SpinRite could reset the polarity of each block/sector itself, where it is infact the concurrent resetting/alternating methodology. that makes sense :D thanks for clearing that up!

    once you talk to him for a while, thats all he ever does ;)
     

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