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Sony 1.44' 3.5' Floppy Disk Drive Representation
mmedia5.gif Introduction To Formatting
mmedia5.gif Formatting A Diskette Under DOS
mmedia5.gif Explanation Of Switches Used By The DOS Format Utility
mmedia5.gif Formatting A Diskette Under A Windows Environment
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Article Index Page Architecture Of The Floppy Drive Evolution Of The Floppy Drive Formatting and Using
Floppy Diskettes
What Is The Future Of The Floppy Drive? Floppy Drive Replacment Procedures Overview Of The Floppy Drive Cable Conclusions
 
Formatting and Using Floppy Diskettes
Introduction To Formatting

Formatting a disk is the process of preparing it for use by an operating system such as DOS or Windows. Although disks come preformatted at present day, there will always be a need to format a disk. For example, if you want to quickly erase the contents of a disk without manually deleting each file you can do a quick format of the disk. A quick format is simply a method for clearing the entire contents off the disk but not preparing the tracks for first time use. Conducting a full format of a disk actually prepares the disk for use. It lays out all the tracks and sectors on the disk and prepares the disk to be written to and read from.

How To Format A Diskette

Formatting A Diskette Under DOS:

DOS contains a small utility to format disks called format.com. The instructions listed below will walk you through the process of formatting a 3.5" floppy diskette under the DOS environment.

Accessing the Start Menu Run Command
1.
Get to a DOS window by left clicking Start.
2.
Left click Run.
3.
In the open box, type the command CMD and press enter or left click the OK button.
4.
Insert an empty diskette into your PC's floppy drive.
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The DOS command intrepreter is a utility bundled in all versions of Windows and contains functions that help you complete a variety of operating system related tasks. For this exercise you will format a 3.5" floppy disk.
 
Accessing the Start Menu Run Command
 
Before completing this exercise ensure the floppy disk your are about to format contains no data that you want to keep. Follow the instructions below to format a floppy disk.
1.
At the DOS prompt change to your floppy drive by typing the command A: and then press enter.
2.
At the same DOS prompt, type the command FORMAT A:\.

A message will appear asking you to insert a disk, if you have not already done so.
3.
After you have inserted the disk, another prompt will appear asking if you wish to continue with the format. Before continuing, please be sure you do not need any of the data on the disk as the FORMAT.COM tool permanently erases all data on the disk and retrieving the data is virtually impossible.
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Explanation Of Switches Used By The DOS Format Utility

When formatting a floppy disk there are a number of switches that you can append to the end of the command in order to perform additional functions. They are listed in Table 1.1 below. These switches must follow the actual format command.

Switch Description
/s

This switch allows you to make a system bootable disk. A system bootable disk is a disk you can use to start up your system in case your system does not want to boot up.

/f:size

Specifies the size of the disk you wish to format.

/t:tracks

Specifies the numbers of tracks on the disk.

n:sectors

Specifies the number of sectors per track.

Table 1.1 - Various switches available in DOS’s Format.com utility.
Formatting A Diskette Under A Windows Environment:
To format a disk in Windows 95 follow these simple instructions. Before completing this exercise ensure the floppy disk your are about to format contains no data that you want to keep. Follow the instructions below to format a floppy disk.
1.
Insert the disk into your floppy drive.
2.
Minimize all the windows until you’ve reached the desktop. To quickly return to your desktop press CTRL + M at the same time, or use the Show Desktop The ShowDesktop Icon normally found in the Quick Launch Menu Bar Is An Easy Way To Return To Your Windows Desktop Efficiently.icon located in the quick launch menu bar.
3.
Double left click the My Computer icon and left click the3 1/2" Floppy A: icon.
4. After the popup menu appears, left click the menu item FORMAT.
5.

A dialog box will appear with various options which can be customized depending on how you need to format the disk.

6. The capacity option allows you to specify the type and capacity of floppy drive you are formatting.


The ShowDesktop Icon normally found in the Quick Launch Menu Bar Is An Easy Way To Return To Your Windows Desktop Efficiently.
  In the format type options box, select Quick Format if you want to quickly delete the files on your disk.

The Label box allows you to specify a label or identifier or the disk.

The rest of the options are fairly straightforward to understand.
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