What’s the Difference Between a Quick and Full Format

Well…the irony is that if one wants to reuse/sell hard drive or some other storage device, the device needs to be formatted. You can get to see two main options in Windows to format or erase data: A Quick format and a Full Format.

Full Format vs Quick Format

Quick Format or Fill Format?

But how well are you sure that a Quick format is better than a Full format or vice versa? Both of the types lets you set up a new operating system, but which is the preferred format? What is the difference between these two? What happens when you choose the Quick format or Full format during a Windows installation? Let’s explore the right equations for all these questions….

The very first comparison to make is, as the name itself indicates, there will be a difference in the amount of time both formatting types would consume. But again which one is better?

Formatting is a term that is used for different things:

When you first log in to your Windows disk, you will be prompted with various formatting options like:

  • Format the partition using FAT file system
  • Format the partition by using NTFS file system
  • Format the partition using FAT file system (Quick)
  • Format the partition by using NTFS file system (Quick)

If you run Full format on a partition, the files stored on that particular partition will be removed. Also, a Full format will scan all the sectors present on a hard drive for bad sectors. This is why the reason a Full format will take double the time what a Quick format will consume.

On the other hand, if you choose a Quick format, the files on the partition will be deleted but it doesn’t scan for the presence of any bad sectors. So, this option is recommended when you are sure the drive is free from any damages as well as from bad sectors provided the drive has been formatted previously.

The drive not being scanned for bad sectors can be a problem in the later stages. For instance, if you store files on bad sectors, then the data will be considered as corrupted files or you may get read errors when tried to access such kind of files. And at times, the quick format option may not work at all.  Here’s what you can do if Quick Format option is not working.

Precisely, we can say that a Full format is something that will clean through from scratch. That means it will reconstruct the entire file structure along with a full scan of the disk to make sure the drive is at a safe level. Whereas, a Quick format will just lay down a void file system and a directory without testing for defective sectors.

Hence, a brand new unformatted hard drive needs a Full format rather than Quick format so that the entire file system could be set up properly. However, if your hard drive is at a satisfactory level and contains no bad sectors then you can give a Quick format to it.

During this process, if you ever been a victim of data loss due to accidental Quick format, you can perform formatted data recovery using this software.

When you format a disk, Windows does a high-level formatting wherein it writes a new file system structure to the disk. No matter you gave the disk a Full format or a Quick format. There is one more type of formatting called low-level formatting which is normally carried out by manufacturers. This kind of formatting includes dividing a disk into small units called blocks which can then be accessed by the operating system.

Further, if at all if you have installed Windows on a partition that has been formatted using Quick format option, you can examine the hard drive using chkdsk/r command. But don’t be lazy! You already have gone through a tedious job of reformatting. Just choose a Full format and give a noble justice to yourself and your computer until the next format.

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