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Disk formatting

Disk formatting

Disk formatting definition

Disk formatting refers to preparing a data storage device (e.g., hard drive, memory card, or USB flash drive) for use. During disk formatting, system admins or end users create the structure for storing the files and establish rules for accessing the data. Sometimes, the admin or end user may delete existing data to empty the storage device and prepare it for keeping new data.

See also: disk defragmentation

How disk formatting works

  • System administrators or individual users typically perform disk formatting.
  • First, they check the disk for errors and bad sectors (i.e., malfunctioning or damaged). If they find any, they mark these sectors as unusable.
  • System admins can divide the disk into sections for different purposes or operating systems if necessary.
  • Then, they establish a file system that defines how the disk will organize, store, and access data.
  • The next step is creating special structures like Master File Tables (MFT) or inodes to manage files and directories.
  • They divide the disk into small units for data storage, and the file system keeps track of which units are used and free.
  • Then, they set up a structure for organizing files into folders or directories.
  • When you save a file, the data is stored in allocated units, and the file system keeps a record of where to find it.
  • Metadata like timestamps and permissions are maintained for proper file management.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security