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

markjs

markjs

Vlad The Impaler
#1
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? :confused:
 
Steve R Jones

Steve R Jones

Administrator
#2
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.
 
Tuttle

Tuttle

Resident Cynic
#3
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.
 
Midknyte

Midknyte

Caffeine Fiend
#4
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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