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Disk formatting is the configuring process of a data storage media such as a hard disk drive, floppy disk or flash drive for initial usage. Any existing files on the drive would be erased with disk formatting. Disk formatting is usually done before initial installation or before installation of a new operating system. Disk formatting is also done if there is a requirement for additional storage in the computer.
Disk formatting can be performed on both magnetic platter hard drives and solid-state drives. The formatting comprises low-level formatting, partitioning and high-level formatting. Low-level formatting aids in preparing the physical structure on the storage media. The partitioning process involves the division of the hard drive into logical volumes for data storage. High-level formatting helps in creating the file system format within the logical volume or within the disk partition. Disk formatting is usually done with the help of a disk formatting utility.
While preparing the hard drive for initial use, disk formatting checks for errors in the drive. It can scan and repair bad sectors. Another benefit associated with disk formatting is its capability to erase bad applications and remove sophisticated viruses.
Disk formatting is an action which must be done with caution. As it deletes data and removes programs installed, backup of the necessary data or applications are required. Disk formatting takes time. Frequent disk formatting can gradually decrease the life of a hard drive.