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Using DEBUG to Start a Low-Level Format

The information in this article applies to:
  • Microsoft MS-DOS operating system versions 3.1, 3.2, 3.21, 3.3, 3.3a, 4.0, 4.01, 5.0, 5.0a, 6.0, 6.2, 6.21, 6.22


The Western Digital 8-bit hard disk controller card ROM contains a low-level formatting utility. This utility can be started using the Microsoft MS-DOS DEBUG utility. Western Digital 16-bit controller cards need a disk-based formatter to do the low-level formatting.

For more information, contact Western Digital technical support and information center.

NOTE: Use the method listed below at your own risk.


Use the following procedure to perform a low-level format:

  1. Start DEBUG by typing the following at the command prompt:

  2. At the DEBUG hyphen (-) prompt, type one of the following commands:
    The above commands execute instructions starting at either location C800:0005, CA00:0005, CC00:0005, or CE00:0005, depending on which address is selected. If the computer freezes with the first address listed above, try the second address.

The program in the controller's ROM will execute and will query for interleave factor and other parameters. Answer these as appropriate; the hard disk will then be low-level formatted.

The following addresses are valid for BIOS low-level format routines on Western Digital hard disk controller cards when using DEBUG.COM to perform a low-level format:
   Address    Description
   C800:5     Used by most Western Digital hard disk controllers for
              XT- and AT-compatible computers, including all WD-1007A
              series cards
   CA00:5     Alternate address used on some XT hard disk controller
   CC00:5     WD-1007V-SE1 and WD-1007V-SE2 controllers;
              WD-1003V-SR and WD-1006V-SR controllers, Revision F003
              and F005 only (other SR-series controllers do not have
              onboard BIOS)
   CE00:5     Alternate address used on some XT hard disk controller
The above information is valid not only for hard disk controller cards marketed directly by Western Digital, but also for hard disk controllers manufactured by Western Digital for other companies. For example, the Seagate ST-01 and ST-02 hard disk controllers are manufactured by Western Digital.

The addresses noted above as alternate addresses can usually be selected by installing jumpers on the hard disk controller card, for controllers that have alternate addresses. If the jumper on a card with alternate address capability is left disconnected, the default address (C800:5) is used.

The information above was obtained from sources independent of Microsoft; we make no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding this information's accuracy or usefulness. This information is supplied only for your convenience.

Additional query words: 6.22 3.0 3.00 3.01 3.2 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.3 3.30 3.30a 4.0 4.00 4.01 4.01a 5.00 6.00 6.20

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Last Reviewed: December 14, 2000
© 2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Terms of Use.

Article ID: Q60089

Last Reviewed:
December 14, 2000

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