How-to-Guides

Step-by-Step Solutions for Common Problems.

Overwriting Sector 0 With Zeros

Clearing the first sector of a drive will make the Operating System (Windows) release its write-protection on that drive. This is important if you want to write an image back to a drive.

In the following example, we will clear sector 0 of a 4 GB USB stick. The 4 GB target drive is plugged into a USB port and recognized by DiskExplorer as 3rd drive (HD130).

Warning The procedure described below is intended to be used by careful and experienced users. Writing directly to a drive can cause data loss and system corruption.

1 Startup DiskExplorer

DiskExplorer: Invoking Security options

DiskExplorer: Change the Security options

The first thing we do after starting up DiskExplorer is to enable its direct writing ability. This is usually disabled by default. To do this, click on Tools->Options.

2 Enable direct read/write

DiskExplorer: Security dialog

DiskExplorer: Select "Direct read/write"

In the Options dialog, you see that the software is in "Read-Only" mode. Click on where it says "Direct read/write". That will allow you to write data to the drive directly. Once you have selected that option, click on Ok.

3 Go to "Select drive" dialog

DiskExplorer: Invoking Select Drive Dialog

DiskExplorer: Invoke "Select drive" dialog

Go to File->Drive. You are going to pick the drive you are clearing sector 0 on.

Warning Everything on this drive will become inaccessible, so be sure you have the right drive, and no data on here is important.

Warning Also, you must not choose the drive that hosts the system partition C:, usually HD128.

4 Select the target drive

Select drive dialog with list of available drives

DiskExplorer: Select the 3rd drive (HD130) as target

Select the drive you want to write the image to. Remember, all data will be lost on this drive. The drive you pick should be empty, meaning it should have no partition underneath.

5 Switch View to Hex

DiskExplorer: Change View to Hex

DiskExplorer: Change View to Hex

Click on "View->as Hex" to change the display mode to hexadecimal. You can accomplish the same by pressing F3.

6 Mark sector 0

DiskExplorer: Select the first 512 bytes

DiskExplorer: Select the first 512 bytes

Double-click the space below the sector number 0 on the left-hand side. The entire sector should turn blue.

Critical Verify that the Selection in the right bottom corner shows exactly x00000000:x000-x00000000:x1FF

7 Fill sector 0 with zeros

DiskExplorer: Fill sector 0 with zeros

DiskExplorer: Fill sector 0 with zeros

Click on "Edit->Fill".

Critical Verify the dialog shows the correct drive HD130 and exactly the range and size (0,0) to (0,511), 512 bytes

Click Ok, and you are done. Restart the computer, and Windows will no longer claim this drive.

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