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eLinux
01-11-2003, 04:45 AM
Formatting a hard drive over and over and over (and over) doesn't damage it does it? I'm concerned about wear-and-tear and how an average lifetime for an ATA HD is... Any ideas?

I hope 4 or 5 formats doesn't damage or wear something down too much?

Thanks!

VinnieVen
01-11-2003, 04:47 AM
I think I rmemeber seeing that u can do 10,000 formats or something rediculous.

I know for a fact that 4 or 5 is certainly no issue.

eLinux
01-11-2003, 04:57 AM
Wow, 10,000. :) That's pretty comforting. lol...

So what's the difference between quick and full format? Like, what do the two do different (quick is much faster, obviously ;) hehe).

minibubba
01-11-2003, 04:57 AM
only 4 or 5 times? I have a hard drive that I formated at least 30 times and it is still going strong. HDD lifetimes vary and every time you access your hdd for data it gets ware and tare so formating isn't going to noticably reduce your hdd's life time. Defraging is probably the best way to prolong your hdd. So to answer your question, formating 4 or 5 times isn't going to hurt anything.:cool:

minibubba
01-11-2003, 04:58 AM
quick format is just a glorified erase

eLinux
01-11-2003, 05:00 AM
only 4 or 5 times? I have a hard drive that I formated at least 30 times and it is still going strong. HDD lifetimes vary and every time you access your hdd for data it gets ware and tare so formating isn't going to noticably reduce your hdd's life time. Defraging is probably the best way to prolong your hdd. So to answer your question, formating 4 or 5 times isn't going to hurt anything.:cool:

Cool. Thanks everybody for th ehelp -- greatly appreciated! :thumb:

Darthtanion
01-11-2003, 02:25 PM
quick format is just a glorified erase
Quick format is nothing more than removing the file header information for that particular drive. Nothing more.

I can make a straightforward promise... If you do a format /q, then I can go in behind you and pull every file that was on your hard drive when you're finished with this task. It erases nothing.

minibubba
01-11-2003, 02:34 PM
i did not mean for that to be taken literaly.. this would be why I use ntfs, and do a secure erase whenever i format anything...aka overwritting the entire disk with repeating binary (1 0 1 0 ...) even with a full format data can still be retrieved from your hdd until it is overwritten. Anything that is deleted or erased remains in your hdd until it is overwirtten

mystryd
01-11-2003, 05:54 PM
How often do you guys format your hd? once a yr?

ReSpAwN DeMoN
01-11-2003, 09:35 PM
I format every 4-6 months to keep windows running nice and tidy ;)

minibubba
01-11-2003, 10:48 PM
same here, every couple of months

Mr. C
01-11-2003, 11:43 PM
How often do you guys format your hd? once a yr?

Interesting question, with interesting answers for sure.

However this is not a basis for a guideline for your system I trust. You need to determine this based on your personal use/requirements. Windows can certainly get borked up over time by installing/uninstalling software. Less than proper driver upgrades can also have adverse affects on system health, manually removing old drivers is all too often a necessity for some hardware it seems - while others do just fine?
Of course the presence of malware is an excellent reason to reformat.

And certainly your hardware upgrade cycles have a huge impact on the necessity to clean install to get optimum performance from the OS.

Due to my budget limitations and my constant vigilance for malware, I am able to often go well in excess of 1 year between clean installs.

But these are all factors that you need to determine for yourself based on the use of your system.

Then again, if you are willing to take the time -- I don't think there is such a thing as reinstalling too frequently.

If you look at the Mean Time Between Failure specifications on modern drives, you can do a whole lot of formats with no worry.

DOA
01-12-2003, 12:10 AM
Two common misconceptions are that formatting a hard drive and flashing the BIOS has a limit. They might, but you will never come close to it.

On my gamer I reformat my RAID with every Windows release (even the service packs). Also with every BIOS or RAID driver change. Often I just change my boot up graphic.

I mod XP or hack the BIOS whenever I feel like it, I format at least twice monthly. I have 2 years on my twin IBM 40 gigs, and close to 50 formats.

As far as I can tell, formatting has no effect on the drive longevity. Heavy fragmentation is probably worse for your drives.

If you mod XP, formatting is a part of the process. Eventually you trash XP beyond recovery. It is so much easier to reformat and reinstall from a backup than figure out exactly what you did wrong.

I COULD go a year and do it all at once, but why suffer the slowdowns and reconstruction needed to fix XP? I can get data to my server in 10 minutes, format the HD, install XP and my apps in less than two hours. But it is only 20 minutes of my time, the rest is unattended.

Formatting is a good option for getting rid of troubles that you do not know how to fix. I would not hesitate to use it.

Wiggo
01-12-2003, 02:13 AM
Why do you fellows format so often? :confused:

It won't hurt them but... :?:

<small>maybe some of ya's need to do some homework me thinks</small> :devil:

:beer: :beer: :beer: :beer: :beer:

minibubba
01-12-2003, 02:40 AM
i'm always playing around with different OS and configs...and every once in a while because it is easier to format than to figure out what went wrong...this is only a philosophy that I use with my own comp, when it belongs to someone else I figure out what is wrong with it before I ever mention formatting

Wiggo
01-12-2003, 02:50 AM
I can understand that of software beta and hardware testers but in your case why don't ya use a multi-boot setup instead? :?:

I'm settin' up another multi-boot PC shortly that will handle a few M$ oses plus a few flavours of Linux all controlled by System Commander (http://www.v-com.com/product/sc7_ind.html) on an 80GB HDD. :devil win
<center>:cheers:</center>

minibubba
01-12-2003, 03:01 AM
I do that as well, currently i'm running win98, winxp pro, and red hat 8

Wiggo
01-12-2003, 03:09 AM
Well 18-24 months I get from a Win9x install (excludin' mitagatin' factors in ME) and goodness knows how long with XP (havn't had to redo one of mine yet except for a dud HDD over a year ago now) but the Linux oses will be a challenge to me at first. :beer:
<center>:cheers:</center>

eLinux
01-12-2003, 07:17 AM
Wow y'all know what you're talking about. With so many peeps formatting so much I definately feel much more comfortable with formatting :) I thought it would put lots of wear and tear on drive, but I normally quick format anyways, and if all it does it wipe the header to make the OS think there's nothing there, then it definately shouldn't wear it enough to scare me :)

Thanks for everybody's input...definately very very helpful! :)

eLinux
01-12-2003, 07:27 AM
<snip>

I COULD go a year and do it all at once, but why suffer the slowdowns and reconstruction needed to fix XP? I can get data to my server in 10 minutes, format the HD, install XP and my apps in less than two hours. But it is only 20 minutes of my time, the rest is unattended.

<snip>

How do you do all of this unattended... If you don't mind me asking, what is your backup method? Curious. I bet it beats writing 10 CDs to back up all of your data :) (which is what I'm normally forced to do to back up my data)

mrfin
01-14-2003, 04:40 AM
I use Norton Ghost to make an image of my HDD right after a clean install of XP and all my software. I usually update my image every other week. It only takes about 10 minutes to make an image and about the same to transfer that image back to the HDD. If I ever have any problems, I just re-ghost my HDD and in ten minutes my OS and ALL my games and programs are back like a fresh install.

eLinux
01-14-2003, 11:56 PM
I use Norton Ghost to make an image of my HDD right after a clean install of XP and all my software. I usually update my image every other week. It only takes about 10 minutes to make an image and about the same to transfer that image back to the HDD. If I ever have any problems, I just re-ghost my HDD and in ten minutes my OS and ALL my games and programs are back like a fresh install.


That's a really great idea. I've read that PowerQuest's Drive Image is also really good. How exactly do you "reghost"? Do you pop in a bootable CD or something?

Just curious :) Thanks for the really great answer! :thumb:

mrfin
01-15-2003, 12:58 AM
There are a couple of ways to perform a ghost image. You will need either 2 HDD's or 1 HDD w/2 partitions. You just need a place to save the ghost image. You can make a small 2GB partition to hold the image or place it on another installed HDD. You can also burn the image to CD's within the Ghost program, but it will take about 5-6 CD's. That is a waste of CD's, plus it takes a lot longer to make an image. The Ghost program has a floppy disk to boot from. It is very simple to do.

sKuLLsHoT
01-15-2003, 11:41 AM
well i have never had to format except when i moved back from intel to amd cpu which included a move from an intel chipset to a VIA one, other than that i never have troubles.

the system restore utility in windows xp is very handy to undo stuff when you install some borked app or driver, and goes a long way to making life easier, just roll back/restore to before you borked it and continue using system / delete leftovers, i can't see how anyone can get a truly borked winxp, unless they turned off the system restore :rolleyes:

josh_b
01-19-2003, 02:56 AM
i'm always playing around with different OS and configs...and every once in a while because it is easier to format than to figure out what went wrong...this is only a philosophy that I use with my own comp, when it belongs to someone else I figure out what is wrong with it before I ever mention formatting

Haha.. yeah when I get tired of how I have the system setup or I want to install another distro.... format time.

nosX
01-26-2003, 07:26 AM
I Format every 4 months but if u have bad bytes on ur HD u can loose HD Space , i tend to mess alot with my pc (testing viruses) and stuff so i kinda loose 300mb to 1gb every time i format ( 60GB Maxtor 5400 RPM) , also if u guys didnt know if ur hard drive has its own cable it runs much better making ur HD share the cable with some other drive slows it down. :cantfocus

Potatoe2
01-27-2003, 11:20 AM
I would like to interject a word of caution out there if you use oem XP pro. I personally have reformatted at least 5 times since august and ran into a snag on my last try. I received a message saying that I had exceeded my alloted usage for my code and that I needed to contact Microsoft and they gave me another code that can only be used once. It was a code only with numbers and much longer than my original code. The annoying thing about it is that I have to call in everytime I reformat now and answer a few questions. They ask what I use my computer for and why I am reformatting. It is none of their buisness the way I see it. I just thought that I would vent alittle. Anyone else run into this problem with oem software?

nosX
01-27-2003, 12:56 PM
tell them ur reformatting cause their program is a POS lol :smokin:

Wiggo
01-27-2003, 01:07 PM
I'll go along with that one. :thumb: :cackle:

:beer: :beer: :beer: :beer: :beer:

nosX
01-27-2003, 03:51 PM
mehehehe :afro:

eLinux
02-19-2003, 03:36 AM
Hate to revive a really old thread like this...

Just recently I bought a 120gb Maxtor...nice nice drive! Problem is that I've had to format the damned thing 5 times. The problem isn't the drive...it's windows. Getting windows to do a perfect installation so that I can image it is taking far more work than I though it would... Amazing that it's so difficult to get an OS to cooperate with you.

Nevertheless... I can't help but keep worrying that the HD isn't likin' these formats. I spoke to a friend who works is a computer tech and he told me that "although formats don't damage the drive, they stress it enormous and can cause a shorter lifespan of the drive."

So now I'm left like..."huh!?"

These formats have ended up shooting me in the head, 'eh? :snip: (hehehe, I like that icon!)

So now I'm back here...to inquire about what y'all think about this. I mean...I dunno, I guess I'm kinda paranoid about this issue. I'm still within my 30 days, and I will return it if I have reason to worry...

What do y'all think? Quick formats...I'm up to about 5. <sigh>

Why oh why...:(

mrfin
02-19-2003, 04:32 AM
I also work in the computer industry and have for about 5 years now. I have never seen extended damage or shorter life span due to formatting to much. I have a Maxtor 12.7GB drive that I've had since 1998 and it has been formatted 30 - 50 times since. It has been used for experimenting. It still runs like it did when I first got it. For the best installs of Windows, you should copy, depending on which version, either the Win98 folder or the i386 folder to your hard drive and run the installation from there. It's more reliable and much faster. You even might have a bad hard drive. I go through about 5 - 10 drives a month at work and I often get drives that are bad out of the box. You should return the drive for a new one and see if that works. If it doesn't then come back here and someone will get your problem fixed.

minibubba
02-19-2003, 06:30 AM
I too am a computer tech...you've got nothing to worry about

not defragmenting often will wear out a drive faster than formating ever will.

mrfin
02-19-2003, 06:34 AM
good point minibubba...