The Haphazard Blog

Quick Format or Regular Format

by on February 7, 2010 3:43 PM, under Computer Hardware, Technology

It has been a while since I had installed a new hard drive. I bought a 2 TB hard drive for media. In Windows I initialized the disk, partitioned and formatted it. Well, as the formatting was taking longer and longer I thought I’d check if that was normal. (It ended up taking 7 hours.)

Some people were recommending a quick format for new drives. That would’ve taken no time at all. I think I got to the bottom of it, and despite taking so long (I would’ve done it overnight to save time had I known), I think the regular format is best.

The quick format basically sets up the disk for use. The thinking of some is that since the disk is new and empty, there’s no need to do a full format (writing to the entire drive).

The regular format checks for bad sectors. This is what ends up taking so long. On the surface, it may seem like modern hard drives don’t have bad sectors (unless they are going bad), but in reality they do. The manufacturers set aside space to re-map bad sectors to so that from Windows perspective, the drive has no bad sectors. So the regular format makes that initial sweep of a new drive to discover any bad sectors before you put it to use. Quick format is better suited for a drive that was fully formatted previously.

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