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How To Format A Disk In Windows

In this day and age, when floppy disk drives are almost never included in new computer systems, you might never experience the “joy” of formatting a floppy disk. Almost all the disks that you purchase today, including CDs and DVDs, come preformatted. (The formatting is done as part of the automated process that checks the disks for errors.) From time to time, you may want to reformat a prepared disk — especially a flash drive that you connect to your computer via one of its USB ports — that has become corrupted or that contains data that you no longer need. 

In very rare situations, heaven forbid, you may even have to reformat a hard drive on your computer. 

To format a disk or computer drive, follow these steps:
  1. When formatting a floppy, CD, or DVD, insert the blank disk or a disk that holds files and folders that you don’t give a hoot about.
  2. Open the Computer window (Start ➪ Computer) and then right-click the icon of the drive that holds the disk (or that you want to reformat).
  3. Choose the Format command from the shortcut menu that appears to open the Format dialog box. To format any hard drive on your computer, your user account must be an administrator type. You cannot, however, reformat the drive that contains the Windows 7 operating system (unless you’re reinstalling Windows using the Windows 7 Install disc).
  4. (Optional) Select the Capacity for the size of the disk that you’re formatting. When formatting a floppy disk, choose the lesser (double-density) capacity 3.5", 720KB, 512 bytes/sector if you inserted that kind of disk into your floppy drive.
  5. (Optional) By default, Windows XP selects NTFS (supported by Windows XP, 2000, Vista, and 7) in the File System drop-down list box as the file system for which to format the disk. If you’re formatting a floppy disk for an older system running Windows 95, 98, or Me, select FAT on the File System drop-down list.
  6. (Optional) Type a label in the Volume Label text box if you want to attach a name to the floppy, CD, DVD, or flash drive that you can use to identify it. When you format by using the FAT system, you’re restricted to 11 characters; when you’re using the NTFS system, you’re limited to a maximum of 32 characters.
  7. (Optional) Click the Quick Format check box in the Format Options (if you’re reformatting a disk that contains files and folders that you no longer need). If you’re formatting a brand-new disk, leave this check box empty. 
  8. (Optional) If you’re formatting a floppy or CD as a startup disk for a MS-DOS computer, click the Create an MS-DOS Startup Disk check box. 
  9. Click the Start button to begin formatting the disk and then click OK in the alert dialog box warning you that formatting erases all data currently on the disk.

After you click Start and then OK, Windows keeps you informed of the progress in the Formatting box at the bottom of the Format dialog box. If you need to stop the process before it’s complete, click the Cancel button.

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Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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2 comments

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AUTHOR
November 19, 2011 at 5:40 PM delete

Very nice information, I had been using windows 95 or windows 98 in which we need to format disks in dos, that was also an awesome experience but the technology has so much improved that its just few clicks away.

Thanks
Michael

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November 19, 2011 at 8:05 PM delete

Thank you for your comment on bench3!, Michael

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