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Formatting a floppy disk Do not format a floppy disk at a size higher than it was designed for. For example, do not format a 360K floppy disk at 1.2MB. Also, if you use the FORMAT command without specifying the size of the floppy disk, MS-DOS will format the floppy disk at the disk capacity of the disk drive. Thus, if you format a floppy disk without specifying the size, be careful not to use a floppy disk smaller than the capacity of the disk drive. 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, 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, MS-DOS displays a message similar to the following before attempting to format the hard disk: WARNING, ALL DATA ON NON-REMOVABLE DISK DRIVE x: WILL BE LOST! Proceed with Format (Y/N)?_ To format the hard disk, press Y; if you do not want to format the disk, press N. FORMAT messages When formatting is complete, MS-DOS displays messages showing the total disk space, any space marked as defective, the total space used by the operating system (if you used the /S or /B switch), and the space available for your files. Safe formatting If you do not specify the /U switch or a switch that reformats the disk to a different size, FORMAT performs a "safe" format. It clears the file allocation table and root directory of the disk but does not delete any data. You can then use the UNFORMAT command to recover the disk if you did not intend to format the disk. FORMAT also checks each sector on the disk to ensure that the sector can properly store data. If it locates a sector that cannot store data, FORMAT marks that sector to prevent MS-DOS from using it. If you specify the /U switch or any switch that changes the size of the disk, FORMAT performs an unconditional format by deleting all data on the disk. Quick formatting You can speed up the formatting process by using the /Q switch. Use this switch only if you have not received read or write errors on your disk. You can speed up the process even more by using both the /Q and /U switches. If you use the /U switch, FORMAT does not save the information necessary to later unformat the disk. Formatting a new disk When you use FORMAT to format a disk that has never been formatted, you can specify the switches /U /C to reduce formatting time. If you are using DriveSpace and don't often use compressed floppies, you might also want to disable the AutoMount feature to further reduce formatting time. To do this, use the <DRVSPACE /AUTOMOUNT> command, or turn off the Automount option in the Options dialog (start DriveSpace, and then choose Options from the Tools menu). Using format with a SUBST 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 or an Interlnk drive. FORMAT exit codes The following list shows each exit code and a brief description of its meaning: 0 The format operation was successful. 3 The user pressed CTRL+C or CTRL+BREAK to stop the process. 4 A fatal error occurred (any error other than 0, 3, or 5). 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 <CHOICE> command.
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