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Thread: Formatting a HDD

  1. #1
    Triple Platinum Member wumply's Avatar
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    Formatting a HDD

    If I want to format an HDD, I can go to Disk Management (in XP) and do a quick format. I read that a quick format does not check the disk for errors and I understand that the disk contents are not wiped out, just that the master file table is rendered inoperative so nothing can be found. (So now, after you partition the disk, you can go ahead and install operating systems.)

    Now I have studied Michael Stevens' detailed instructions (www.michaelstevenstech.com) on doing a clean install of XP. And somewhere in the middle he writes this:

    "Choose the location to install. If this is a clean DD, you can choose to create a partition in the un-partitioned space. At this point, you can allow Setup to use all the space or set a size for the partition. If the HDD or partition has a previous installation of XP you want to remove, choose to delete the partition by pressing 'D'. You will then be prompted to create a new partition in the empty space. This will remove all data from the deleted space."

    Obviously the data there in the partition can no longer be accessed, so that part of the HD at least has been formatted. Yes?

    But was this last a quick format or did Setup actually erase or at least overwrite the data and ignore the MFT? And doing it this way, a new MFT will be automatically created when XP installs?

    So it's really just 2 ways of doing the same thing, right? 2 methods: 6 of 1; half-dozen of the other? I mean formatting an HDD means to make the information on the disk "normally inaccessible"?
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    Differences between a Quick format and a regular format during a "clean" installation of Windows XP
    View products that this article applies to.
    Article ID : 302686
    Last Review : May 19, 2004
    Revision : 1.0
    This article was previously published under Q302686
    SUMMARY
    During a "clean" installation of Microsoft Windows XP, you are prompted to choose from the following format options:
    • Format the partition by using the NTFS file system (Quick)
    • Format the partition by using the FAT file system (Quick)
    • Format the partition by using the NTFS file system
    • Format the partition by using the FAT file system
    • Leave the current file system intact (no changes)
    This article describes the differences between a Quick format and a regular format.
    MORE INFORMATION
    When you choose to run a regular format on a volume, files are removed from the volume that you are formatting and the hard disk is scanned for bad sectors. The scan for bad sectors is responsible for the majority of the time that it takes to format a volume.

    If you choose the Quick format option, format removes files from the partition, but does not scan the disk for bad sectors. Only use this option if your hard disk has been previously formatted and you are sure that your hard disk is not damaged.

    If you installed Windows XP on a partition that was formatted by using the Quick format option, you can also check your disk by using the chkdsk /r command after the installation of Windows XP is completed.
    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=302686

    That explains it rather specifically.

  3. #3
    Triple Platinum Member wumply's Avatar
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    Your response noted...thanks.

    But BB, the files are not actually removed from the volume or overwritten with zeros, right, but rather the MFT (for XP) is eliminated or made inoperative, quite independent of chkdsk? My quote from michaelstevenstech has him saying: "This will remove all data..." So he is, perhaps, imprecise.

  4. #4
    Friendly Neighborhood Super Moderator phishhead's Avatar
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    wumply its like deleting the table of contents to a book.



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