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Vista Quick format or Full format that is the question


bookie32
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Hi everyone :hello:

Look this question has probably been asked but can't seem to find a straight answer to it. I have noticed, like many others, that there doesn't seem to be the full format option included when installing Vista?

I have seen a thread somewhere (didn't save the link) about diskpart been available on the repair side of Vista. OK that said....is there anyone that can tell me what format is used in the general Vista install and if I choose the diskpart option ...is it better?

I know people have a tendency to go for the quick format (time saver) but I like to do the full format and check every sector to make sure there is no crap lurking in the shadows.

It would be nice to get some feed back on this ...just to have a better understanding of what processes are being used and not used...if you get my drift :wacko:

bookie32

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if i understand right, you wanna format while you reinstall yeah? thats one thing i couldnt figure out how to do with vista... it just indescriminately saves everything to folders called "windows.old" and deletes all the old os data. i spent half a day looking for that option as well but to no avail. best i can suggest is have the OEM disk on standby and try to reformat the disk on your own with the memory/disk manager thing (cant remember how to get to it at all, im sure someone else can help with that)

best of luck! im just doing a format and rollback to xp myself >.<

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You may be interested in this:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...134982&st=0

With a "normally" working HD, it is not "normally" needed to do a "Full Format".

When installing/re-installing from scratch, it is "better" in the sense of "safer" to:

  • wipe the hard disk, possibly with SecureErase:
    http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/SecureErase.shtml
  • check the disk with it's manufacturer diagnostics utilities (which should update the "firmware" mapping of bad sectors) - sometimes the same utility also has a "wipe" one
  • format it "normally" during setup

Using DISKPART, you can easily "script" it, using it's /s option or "feeding" it a script file with redirection:

http://www.ss64.com/nt/diskpart.html

or using a "self-contained" batch:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...26069&st=16

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...26069&st=19

jaclaz

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I think given the speed of Vista installation on a newly-created partition, it's a quick format used in that GUI stage.

When I use a completely brand-spanking-new hard disk and first partition it, I tend to do a full format, and that's the only time I do.

During Vista or Win7 setup, at the partition selection/setup stage, I hit Shift-F10 to get the command prompt up and use format from there before selecting the target partition.

Newly created partitions on a brand new disk - full format.

Existing partition which contains data - quick format.

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Hi guys,

Well, have to say that I am over whelmed by the response to my question. Sorry, for taking so long to reply...been busy...or should I say I am supposed to be on holiday...LOL

I would like to thank everyone for such good info and I now understand a little more about the process. I had always wondered about the significance of quick format and full format.

Thanks guys!!

bookie32

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About wiping... doing a full format will overwrite all the sectors on the chosen partition.

Surely NOT! :realmad:

Please read these threads, where some details are explained:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=125900

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=134982

If you do not trust the info above, read the difference between "quick" and "full" from the actual makers of the FORMAT command:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302686/en-us

(they should know what something they've written does ;))

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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Yes, a full format writes zeros to all sectors. You are here:

Microsoft Software Products - Discussion & Support > Windows Vista

Where is that documented? Format.com is the same in Windows 7 as it in XP. You will see a string change because of the OS but it's the same version and I presume the same on Vista.

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Yes, a full format writes zeros to all sectors. You are here:

Microsoft Software Products - Discussion & Support > Windows Vista

You are right, my bad. :blushing:

The behaviour of FORMAT changed with Vista, here is the reference article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/941961/en-us

The format command behavior has changed in Windows Vista. By default in Windows Vista, the format command writes zeros to the whole disk when a full format is performed. In Windows XP and in earlier versions of the Windows operating system, the format command does not write zeros to the whole disk when a full format is performed.

I take back all the previously said, that remains however valid but only "up to" XP or Server 2003.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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We stand corrected then. I had could have sworn I looked into format.com because I had a disagreement with someone on another site about something else format did. When I looked now, I get this:

XP format.com - version 5.1.2600.5512

W7 format.com - version 6.1.7100.0

...off to go dig that thread up :blushing:

Edit: OK I refreshed my memory. Those version strings stand for the OS version. XP is Windows NT 5.1 build 2600 hence 5.1.2600.5512. Windows 7 is Windows NT 6.1 build 7100.

I then presume the actual version is 5512 for XP and version 5100 for W7 (u gotta open it in a txt editor to see version). That doesn't make a lot of sense so I'm probably wrong and still confused.

Edited by -X-
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Edit: OK I refreshed my memory. Those version strings stand for the OS version. XP is Windows NT 5.1 build 2600 hence 5.1.2600.5512. Windows 7 is Windows NT 6.1 build 7100.

I then presume the actual version is 5512 for XP and version 5100 for W7 (u gotta open it in a txt editor to see version). That doesn't make a lot of sense so I'm probably wrong and still confused.

No, it really is the OS build string + binary build number. All binaries that are actual "Windows" binaries take the OS build number (because they're built out of this particular branch of the Windows tree) plus their own build sequence numbers, if they exist, above and beyond the OS build number.
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