IBM/Xebec HDD Controller  -  Low-Level Format

WARNING:   A low-level format of a hard drive will destroy any existing data on that drive.

This web page covers the low-level format of a drive connected to the IBM/Xebec HDD controller.
By 'IBM/Xebec HDD controller', I am referring to the hard drive controller that Xebec made for IBM's use in the IBM 5160 (IBM XT).


A low-level format is not going to work if your drive and IBM/Xebec controller are not correctly cabled, or if the drive does not have its drive-select jumpers set properly. Incorrect drive termination can also have an affect. If you are in any doubt about that, then before proceeding to perform a low-level format, refer to the information on the link here.

Performing the Low-Level Format

There are three possible low-level format techniques available for the IBM/Xebec controllers (all three variations):

1. Advanced Diagnostics Disk
3. SpeedStor

Follow Up Actions

After the low-level format, to get the hard drive booting to DOS, you will need to perform the standard FDISK/FORMAT operations.

NOTE: If you are using an early version of DOS (e.g. 3.3), and you see "Disk Boot failure" after using FDISK/FORMAT, then try a later version of DOS (e.g. 6.22).
Early versions of DOS don't cope with certain areas of the hard drive being unusable.