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Format an Iomega Disk for Declassification

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The following information is presented to allow you the user to determine if the Iomega Format Routine will satisfy your requirements in order to declassify media. Since Iomega's format routine is written into the drive code (ROM) on the drive itself and not in the utility software, it makes no difference what version of Iomega utilities are in use. It is important, however, that Iomega's version of the format is used and not some other operating system's formatter. Also remember, that a "Full Surface Verify" must be performed to assure each track is overwritten. The shorter "Quick Format," typically does not overwrite any tracks at all.

All information in this letter pertains to the 3.5" ZIP drive, the 5.25" Half Height 20, 44, 90, 150, and 230 MB drives manufactured by Iomega Corporation, Roy, Utah. Information pertaining to the 8" (Full and Half Height) 10 and 20 MB drives and the 5.25" Full Height 5MB drives is not available at this time.

The 20 MB drive does at least four (4) overwrites of every track on the disk during a "Full Surface Verify" format, assuming no errors are encountered.

The 44, 90, 150, 230 MB and Zip drives all do at least three (3) overwrites of every track on the disk during a "Full Surface Verify" format, assuming no errors are encountered.

The only time a track would not get the minimum number of overwrites is if a serious error is encountered on the track. Errors like: "Unable to Track Follow," "Multiple Missing Sector Marks," "Hard Seek Error," etc., would cause the entire track to get flagged and would therefore not be overwritten. Once a track is flagged, however, that track is NORMALLY not available or accessible by the user.

The above information should give you enough data to determine if you can satisfy your requirements and declassify an Iomega 5.25" disk. One could also use a bulk media eraser, but doing so will damage the disk to the point where it will no longer be usable. The Iomega format, on the other hand, will still permit the disk to be used again.

See Also