|In the days before IDE hard disks the controller BIOS contained a low level format routine. This was a genuine low level format, not the low level format that is often referred to in relation to IDE disks which just writes zeros to the hard disk.|
If you go to a DOS prompt and type Debug followed by g=c800:5 it will put you into the low level format routine. This has to be a genuine DOS prompt, not a DOS shell from within Windows.
Her you can set thing like sectors per track, number of tracks, sector interlace, and landing zone and a few other parameters that I cant remember.
Playing aroud with the interlace could often increase the speed of the drive by a dramatic amount. But it could also slow it down if you got it wrong. These days sector interlace is 1:1 and whole tracks are read into the buffer in one go so the interlace is no as important as it used to be.
You can try increasing the number of track but if you go to far you will start getting errors when you do a regular format. Be careful though becasue if you get it wrong you could render the disk unuable and you will have to do it all over again. Low level format can take some time and it will earase the entire contents of the disk.
In this case the designated landing zone will only work is the disk has auto parking heads. Around the time that MFM and RRL drives were current not all hard disk had auto parking heads, hence the frequency of head crashes when there was a power failure.