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Formatting is another necessary step to hard drive preparation. In most cases, when installing a new hard drive, all you need to do is a high-level format. It is usually the final step in preparation.

You must format your drive after partitioning (fdisk)

You must format every primary and logical partition on the drive.
You do not format an extended partition.

When preparing a new drive, you can use the FORMAT C: /S command. This (high-level) formats the volume C: and copies hidden operating system files to the volume, and prompts you for a label. It marks bad sectors as unreadable, writes the boot sector, creates the FAT, writes the root directory, and copies system files.

The other type of formatting is the low-level format. In general, this procedure is already done on your drive when you buy it. Only on old drive would this need done. Other situations exist in which you would want to low-level format your hard drive. If you need to erase all traces of data on the disk, a low format will do this. Low-level formats will also remove corrupted operating systems or viruses. They will also remap the drive so as to reallocate all bad sectors to other sectors. This replaces bad sectors with good ones. It will make your drive appear to be free of defects. This process is called defect mapping.

That said, manufacturers recommend you never low-level format a hard drive.

A low-level format cannot be done with the FORMAT command. It is recommended you get a low-level format program from the manufacturer of your drive. These programs are tailored to work with specific drives and can sufficiently trace the defects and map them. Visit the Web site of the manufacturer to find these programs; they are often available for download.


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