[svlug] Detecting 'virgin' disks ?

Joe Buck Joe.Buck at synopsys.COM
Tue Jul 26 13:43:46 PDT 2005

On Tue, Jul 26, 2005 at 07:39:41AM -0700, Steve wrote:
> > Anyone know a 'safe' method for detecting 'virgin' disks (disks that 
> > have never been formatted...)
> > I'm doing an installer, which will have to run MBR on these disks in 
> > addition to partitioning them.

On Tue, Jul 26, 2005 at 01:29:52PM -0700, Ian Kluft wrote:
> Before drawing conclusions, you'll probably need to check what people find
> on their new drives from various manufacturers.  I would expect that the
> results will vary with each manufacturer, maybe even among divisions of
> a manufacturer.

It seems that you want to avoid wiping out valid data, but there's no
end to the variety of invalid data you might encounter.  As Ian says, it
might be a test pattern, and every manufacturer might have a different
one.  A USB disk I recently bought came with an empty VFAT filesystem
filling the disk, and this seems common for removable media.

I'd suggest seeing if it has a valid partition table and valid
filesystems (of any of the common types).  You might decide to treat
completely empty filesystems differently (since overwriting them doesn't
cause data loss).

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