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Formatting a Disk

Formatting a disk prepares it so that you can store information on it. Formatting removes all information from the disk, so you should never format a disk that has files you want to keep. When you format a disk, you need to specify the disk capacity, file system, and allocation unit size; default settings are recommended. Capacity is how much data the disk or partition can hold, such as the physical size, storage size, and sector size. A file system is the overall structure in which files are named, stored, and organized. NTFS and FAT32 are types of file systems. Disk allocation unit size, or cluster size, is a group of sectors on a disk. The operating system assigns a unique number to each cluster and then keeps track of files according to which clusters they use. The default allocation size is typically selected. If your hard disk uses the FAT or FAT32 file system, you can convert the hard disk to the NTFS format.

Format a Disk

With a disk in the drive, click the Start button, and then click My Computer.

Right-click the drive, and then click Format.

Specify the capacity, file system, and allocation unit size.

Select the Quick Format check box to perform a quick format, or clear the Quick Format check box to perform a full format and disk scan for bad sectors.

To format an NTFS drive so that folders and files are compressed, select the Enable Compression check box.

To use a floppy disk to start up your computer and run MS-DOS, select the Create An MS-DOS Startup Disk check box.

Click Start, click OK to format the disk, and then click OK when it's done.

Click Close.


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