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How-To Geek

Disk Formatting

Disk formatting is the process of preparing a disk or other storage medium for use by a particular operating system. The formatting process is typically divided into three distinct operations. First, a low-level format prepares the media for use. Second the media is partitioned with one or more partitions. Third, a high-level format applies a file system (such as FAT32 or NTFS) to the newly created partition(s).

It’s important to note that, contrary to popular belief, formatting does not typically remove all the data from the storage medium (but merely removes the file headers and other markers to tell the operating system the space is available). Unless the data has been securely wiped, there is always the potential for recovery and formatting should not be treated as a secure erasure tool.

 

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