With XP, what is the difference between a format and a quick format?
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Thread: With XP, what is the difference between a format and a quick format?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 1999
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    Port Townsend, WA USA
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    2,784

    Question With XP, what is the difference between a format and a quick format?

    When you set up Vista and choose the "format" option it's very fast. In XP it gives you a choice between normal and quick. I had always assumed that you could only use quick if the drive was already NTFS, yet it needed to be erased. Evidently this is not the case, because I just tried a quick format on a non NTFS drive, and it worked. The only reason I was brave enough was because of how fast Vista formats.

    So, what really is the difference then?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
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    Dallas, Tx.
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    2,668
    From XP's built in help file:

    Quick format removes files from the disk but does not scan the disk for bad sectors. Use this option only if this disk has been previously formatted and you are sure the disk is not damaged.
    "Imagine a world where dogs took bad owners to the pound."


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1998
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    Adelaide, South Australia
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    The quick format just writes over the essentials to make the filesystem look blank. If you do it by accident on a used drive, the odds of recovery are actually pretty good because everything else is left as-is.

    A full format overwrites everything once, and basically gives you that bad sector check.
    Safe computing is a habit, not a toolkit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Arkham Asylum, Cell 13
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    I always use quick format. If you want to test the hard drive, it's better to run the manufacturer's diags than to run the full format.

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