View Full Version : Different type of formatting?

19-11-2006, 12:20 PM
Hello All :)

Just want to ask a quick question regarding formatting a HDD. I found that with some software such as Seagate's DiscWizard or some partition programs it only takes a few second for it to partition and format the HDD. Where if it was done with Window's software, such as the one in the XP setup or the one in the Disk Management, it would take a good 30-60mins formatting a HDD before we/users are allow to use it. So I was wondering, whats the difference between the one that takes less than 30secs to format and the 'long' format? Pros and Cons?

Thanks :)

19-11-2006, 12:39 PM
Well, the shorter formatting times are caused by the program only erasing the table of contents which basically all it does is leaves everything on the HDD but erases a part(s) of it so as it 'says' it is empty, longer times are caused by a program actually filling the HDD with 0s (zero filling) and this actually erases all data on the drive, not just the TOC

19-11-2006, 12:40 PM
quick formating simply dosn't check the disk.
formatting in itself is just like writting and index page. full formatting goes and checks that all the pages are there which is what takes the time.

longer times are not because of any erasing. formatting dosn't erase data or fill hardrive with 0's. which is how you can recover data even after its formatted.

19-11-2006, 01:12 PM
So...what are the pros and cons of each, as in would the long formatting be good for setting up the HDD for an OS installation ? I mean if the shorter version of formatting does the job, why is there still the long version of formatting?


Graham L
19-11-2006, 02:38 PM
The long version tests that each sector can have data written to it, and, quite important, gives the same data back when it's read. :D

That's a hangover from the MFM disks, which were never "perfect". The testing allowed you to have bad sectors mapped out in the formatting process, making them invisible to the OS. MFM drives came with a list of bad sectors found in the factory test, but it was tedious entering them by hand.

IDE disks are tested thoroughly in the factory, and the controller board is set up so the computer interface can't see the bad sectors.

I would use the longer version as a confidence booster, but you are probably safe enough with a new disk. If it's a second hand drive, I consider the test would be well worthwhile ... bad sectors can happen in use. ;)

19-11-2006, 03:36 PM
Ah I see, so the longer version is good for something ^^.

Many thanks for everyone's help and time :)

19-11-2006, 04:32 PM
the long ver is very handy when doing reinstalls. sometimes there is formatting problems which may have caused the last OS to fail.

i've had it a few times where the scandisk during format has picked up faults. if you did a quick format that fault won't be picked up and will cause problems later on down the track.

19-11-2006, 04:59 PM
Awesome :) though just any other quick Q, is there any difference between the format option under Disk Management and the one used during the Xp setup?