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Chapter 7. Preparing and Maintaining Dis... > Preparing Floppy Disks with the FORM...

Preparing Floppy Disks with the FORMAT Command

The FORMAT command prepares disks for use. All disks to be used by DOS must be formatted by DOS to be treated as valid DOS disks. Both floppies and hard disks must be formatted before they can be used. If you try to use a disk that has not been formatted, DOS reports a General failure, which sounds cataclysmic. All it really means is that the disk you are trying to read does not have valid format information. If the disk you are trying to read has been formatted and you know that it has been formatted, a problem exists. If that drive is your C: drive, you do have a cataclysmic experience to endure. Most of the time, however, a General failure just means that somebody has handed you an unformatted disk.

Caution

When you issue the FORMAT command with its required parameters, DOS presents you with a prompt, requiring that you answer a question before the command actually begins its work. In the case of a floppy, DOS prompts you to insert the proper disk into the drive. On a hard disk, DOS reminds you that you are about to wipe out everything on the disk.

In either case, the tendency of experienced users is just to hit the key and go. Don't! Take a deep breath and read the prompt. You might have accidentally specified C: when you really meant B:. Take a moment to be sure; the data you save might be your own.



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