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Why to Do It:

All disks need to be formatted before they can be used. Otherwise, you cannot even mount the disk. So why cover formatting of disks here, near the end of this book? It would appear that formatting should be one of the first things to do, not one of the last things to consider.

The answer is that reformatting of disks is an important problem-solving tool. It is an all-purpose last resort for dealing with many of the problems covered in previous Fix-Its. In particular, if you have a damaged disk that cannot be repaired by utilities such as Disk First Aid (as described in Fix-It #10), reformatting may be the only way to bring the disk back to life. Reformatting also fixes problems resulting from improper updating of a disk driver (Fix-It #12). Similarly, if you have a problem with bad blocks on a hard disk (as described primarily in Fix-It #11), reformatting is the most reliable way to solve the problem. Reformatting a disk also rebuilds the desktop (Fix-It #8) and reinstalls the disk driver (Fix-It #12). Finally, when you restore files to a reformatted disk, they are defragmented (Fix-It #7). In other words, in one bold stroke, reformatting can cure a variety of ills. Reformatting is also advised whenever you want to recycle an old floppy disk, even if you do not suspect any problems with it.


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