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Understanding Disk Formats

Disk drives have a universal way of dividing a disk's available physical space: The number of platters, number of sides, number of tracks, number of bytes per sector, and number of sectors per track are the specific details that factor into this logical division of disk space. The specification for a disk's use of its physical space is called the disk's format.

PCs use a variety of disk drive sizes and formats. Some older PCs, for example, have both 5 1/4-inch and 3 1/2-inch floppy drives that can handle both double-density and high-density disks, while newer PCs only have a 3 1/2-inch floppy.


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