Definition of Format What Does It Mean & Guides Showing How to Format
When we talk about format a drive either it’s a floppy disk, hard disk or flash drive, we mean to prepare that chosen partition of the hard drive to be used by our windows operating system or whatever your OS is after deleting all the files and data on it and then setting up a file system. The most commonly used file system supported by windows is NTFS and you also have seen FAT32 in rare cases.
The formatting in the windows is done by using their Disk Management Tool. Also, an option for you is to format a hard drive through the command line interface(command prompt) using format command.
What Does Format Mean
Note: You should know that a partition normally encompasses the entire physical hard drive. This is the reason when we say format a drive while for real we are just formatting a partition on the drive. It is also possible that the partition may consist on the whole size of the drive.
Do you have the best hard drive? See our list of Best External Hard Drives to buy now.
Resources on Formatting
The formatting process doesn’t usually happen by accident so that’s nothing to worry about that you can delete all of your files and data by mistake.Whereas, performing a formatting process you should be cautious and be sure that you really know what you are doing.
Sometimes devices like cameras allow you to format the storage through them. Which is similar to the process you format a hard drive through the computer, also this is possible with many digital cameras, gaming consoles or any other devices that need the hard drive formatted.
More Information on Formatting
Formatting the C: drive, or any letter partition where the windows are installed, should be done by the outside of the windows because you are not able to delete the files you are currently using. So doing this from the outside means the files are not in the usage or active running and therefore can be deleted.
In case you want to format an existing hard drive so that you can install the windows on it, don’t you worry, there is no need to manually format a hard drive for this purpose because when you are making a “clean install” of windows the formatting becomes its part during the install.
But you have a file system of FAT32 and you want to format a device just to change the files system to NTFS, First, you need to empty that drive completely by saving your data by copying off from the drive to somewhere else. You can also recover data from a partition even if it’s formatted. For that, there are a lot of recovery tools available free and paid both depending upon your needs.
The formatting is of two types, low level, and high level. In high-level formatting, the file system is written on the disk so that the data can be understood and organized by the software which is reading from it and writing onto it. While in the low-level formatting the sectors and the tracks are outlined on the disk. But keep in mind this is done by the manufacturer before even the drive is sold.
Note: The word format also means the type of data like images and text. Programs like MS word can format text to align it with the page, make it’s font different and so on. This process can be for both internal and external hard drive in your PC.[hide] [/hide]