Formatting a hard disk erases all the contents of the drive. Formatting the hard disk creates sectors, tracks and places the file system on the hard disk. This prepares the hard disk so that the system can store files on the hard disk. Before formatting you must back up important data and files. You must also format a hard disk after you install a new hard disk on the system. Formatting also helps in cleaning the virus that cannot be removed by anti-virus software.
Low level formatting is also called physical formatting. During low level formatting, the system creates tracks and sectors on the hard disk. The Hard disk is formatted using low level formatting at the factory.
High level Formatting
High level formatting is also called as logical formatting. It creates the file system structure on the hard disk. Different operating systems use different file systems, so high level formatting program will vary from operating systems. Formatting a disk will erase all the data stored on the hard disk. Therefore you must take the backup of the files before formatting the disk. You can format your hard disk if you want to erase all the contents of the disk and make it as good as new. To erase the data on the hard disk, you need to perform a high level formatting. A low level formatting is not necessary. There are three ways to do low level formatting:
- While installing the operating system.
- Using the format command from the windows explorer.
- Using the format command at the command prompt.
To format a drive from the operating system
- Open windows explorer.
- Select the drive that you want to format.
- Right click and select the Format. The Format dialog box appears.
- Click ‘Start’. The formatting starts and a message box is displayed when the format is complete.
- Select the ‘Quick Format’ check box to do a quick format.
Troubleshooting Hard Disk Problems
If the computer does not start, the system displays errors while booting, or the hard disk does not display the correct storage capacity. You must also ensure that there is no power leakage from the power supply case as this can damage the hard disk.
System does not start
The system will not boot if it cannot load the system files from the hard disk. This may be caused due to improper jumper or BIOS settings or some problems with the cable connecting the hard disk to the motherboard.
- Check if the power supply is switched ON.
- Remove any floppy disk inserted in the floppy disk drive.
- Check that the BIOS is set to boot from the hard disk.
- Check that the cables connecting the hard disk to the motherboard are connected properly.
- Set the proper jumper settings if multiple HDD’s are present.
- Connect the hard disk using different interface cable that you know is working.
- Install the Hard disk on a different system to check if it is working.
- Boot the system using a bootable floppy disk or CD and try accessing the hard disk and scan the disk for errors.
- Format and reinstall the operating system on the hard disk.
Hard disk drive contains bad sectors
There are several ways in which a hard disk can form bad sectors; the first three are non-repairable, physical damage, and the last three are repairable, soft damage. Bad sectors can be fixed by using the the below three methods:
- High Level Formatting.
- Low level formatting.
- Disk Diagnostic Utilities.