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Church Of The
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Using Format

The format command creates a new root directory and file system for the disk. It can also check for bad areas on the disk, and it can delete all data on the disk. In order for Windows NT to be able to use a new disk, you must first use this command to format the disk.

Typing a volume label

After formatting a floppy disk, format displays the following message:

Volume label (11 characters, ENTER for none)?

The volume label can be a maximum of 11 characters (including spaces). If you do not want your disk to have a volume label, just press ENTER. For information about volume labels, see the label command.

Formatting a hard disk

When you use the format command to format a hard disk, Windows NT displays a message of the following form before attempting to format the hard disk:

Proceed with Format (Y/N)?_

To format the hard disk, press Y; if you do not want to format the disk, press N. You must have Administrator rights to format a hard disk.

Format messages

When formatting is complete, Windows NT displays messages showing the total disk space, any space marked as defective, and the space available for your files.

Quick formatting

You can speed up the formatting process by using the /q switch. Use this switch only if there are no bad sectors on your hard disk.

Using format with a reassigned drive or a network drive

You should not use the format command on a drive prepared by using the subst command. You cannot format disks over a network.

Format exit codes

The following list shows each exit code and a brief description of its meaning:

The format operation was successful.
Incorrect parameters were supplied.
A fatal error occurred (any error other than 0, 1, or 5).
The user pressed N in response to the prompt "Proceed with Format (Y/N)?" to stop the process.

You can check these exit codes by using the errorlevel condition with the if batch command. For an example of a batch program that supports errorlevel conditions, see the backup command.

More Information About Format

ntcmds00000001.gif Format--Examples

ntcmds00000001.gif Format


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