IBM Fixed Disk Adapter  -  Low-Level Format

WARNING:   Low-level formatting a hard drive will destroy any existing data on that drive.

The 'IBM Fixed Disk Adapter' is the hard drive controller that Xebec made for IBM's use in the IBM 5160 (IBM XT).
I sometimes refer to these as the 'IBM/Xebec HDD controller'.

This web page covers the low-level format of a drive connected to that controller.  This is something that you will almost certainly need to do if the drive has come from a different model of controller.


A low-level format is not going to work if your drive and IBM Fixed Disk Adapter 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 Fixed Disk Adapter (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.