I am running Linux Mint 19, and have an external 1TB WD hard-drive, that I wish to reformat. What is a tool I can use to accomplish this. (Since this is for a hobby user, I do not wish to spend money so require a price of £0.)

My post was edited but NOT improved in any way I can see. I find that heavy-handed.

Gparted does not see the disk. I have no data to recover on this drive. I thought I had expressed myself clearly. Apparently not.

The drive is currently spinning but not recognized by the OS (Linux Mint 19). The goal is to revive the drive, if possible, otherwise it gets tossed. Pretty basic there. The stated goal is to reformat the drive. Data recovery was not mentioned. Data erase not mentioned. I wish to regain a usable drive.

  • Please give feedback (don't just vote down, and mark for close). – ctrl-alt-delor Oct 20 '18 at 23:13
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    What is your goal? what is the current state of the drive? – ctrl-alt-delor Oct 20 '18 at 23:16
  • I have re-written to make it not an opinion based question. I believe that it will produce a useful answer for the OP. – ctrl-alt-delor Oct 20 '18 at 23:18
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    You didn't say why you think you need to low-level format your drive. If this is for data-protection reasons, you can execute a SECURE ERASE command, if your drive supports it. This won't low-level format the drive, but it will erase all data on it, including the data it won't erase using normal means. For most modern drives there is no known way to do a low-level format. – dirkt Oct 21 '18 at 7:27
  • The drive is currently spinning but not recognized by the OS (Linux Mint 19). The goal is to revive the drive, if possible, otherwise it gets tossed. Pretty basic there. – James Leigh Smith Oct 22 '18 at 18:04

You probably can not do a low-level format, and probably don't need to.

What you can do is set up partitions, and add file systems. A good tool is gparted. This comes in two flavours: a bootable image (Gnu/Linux and gparted), and a package to install into your existing Gnu/Linux OS. apt-get install gparted. Be careful as it is very powerful tool, and can be used to write over all of your hard-disks, including OS and important user files. It is Free Software, that is you have the 4 freedoms of use, study, modify and distribute (for any price).

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  • I am familiar with gparted and have run Linux distros (and Coherent) since the late 1990s. What I am not is a hardware guy. I have the choice of tossing this drive or attempting to revive it, the first step of that would appear to be low-level format. It spins up nicely but is not recognized by the system. I have managed to find it in the /dev/ directory. Otherwise, no joy. – James Leigh Smith Oct 22 '18 at 18:01
  • What does gparted say?: Please attempt to recover using gparted, and tell us what happens (by editing question). – ctrl-alt-delor Oct 22 '18 at 22:59
  1. Check the S.M.A.R.T. information of the drive (to tell if there is something fundamentally wrong with the hardware)

  2. If 'Disk is OK', try with mkusb to wipe the first mibibyte, and if successful, try again with gparted to create the partitions you want.

  3. If still problems, analyze them and try again to solve them according to this link

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  • This device does not support S.M.A.R.T. gparted and parted both do not complete successfully. mkfs fails, too. – James Leigh Smith Oct 25 '18 at 20:02
  • @JamesLeighSmith, It is strange that an external 1TB WD hard-drive does not support S.M.A.R.T. I suspect that it is damaged (a physical damage). There is probably a standard SATA HDD in the external box, and it is possible, that the electronics of the box is damaged, while the SATA HDD inside is still good. How old is it? Is there still a warranty? Otherwise, try according to this link and if still no success, try to open the external box. – sudodus Oct 26 '18 at 4:45

The drive responded just fine to the tender ministrations of a hammer. No more drive, no more problem.

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