The process of high level formatting a disk causes a
to be layed out on the disk, usually
a previously blank disk. (You can't do much with a blank disk until it gets a high level format.)
You would want to high level format a disk between unwrapping it from the manufacturer's packing and using it,
or right before (i.e., while) installing an operating system
on the disk for the first time, or right after partitioning it.
Also, high level
formatting a disk is frequently the fastest way to delete
all the files on it at once.
You would want to high level format a floppy immediately
after low level formatting it. (You might also want
to high level format it to erase it or to fix major
The quick (/q) option to the format command in msdos operating systems tells it to only do the high level format, and to skip the low level format on floppies, and
to skip checking for bad blocks on hard disks.
The actual high level format only takes a few seconds; the rest of the time is either spent in the low level format or in checking every block on the disk.
This is the same as the quick checkbox in the windows format utility.
Also, when high level formatting a hard drive in NT, you get the choice of which of its two filesystems you want on the disk.
The unix command for high level formatting a disk tends
to vary by filesytem, but is usually newfs or mkfs or a varient of such.
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