FORMAT.com

Format a disk for use with Windows.

Syntax
      FORMAT volume [/FS:file-system] [/V:label] [/Q] [/L] [/A:size] [/C] [/I:state] [ /X] [/P:passes] [/S:state]
      FORMAT volume [/V:label] [/Q] [/F:size] [/P:passes]
      FORMAT volume [/V:label] [/Q] [/T:tracks /N:sectors] [/P:passes]
      FORMAT volume [/V:label] [/Q] [/P:passes]
      FORMAT volume [/Q]

Key
   volume          The drive letter (followed by a colon), mount point, or volume name.

   /FS:file-system The type of the file system (FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, UDF, ReFS).
/V:label The volume label.
/Q Perform a quick format. This switch overrides /P (zero out bytes).
/C Compression - files added to the new disk will be compressed by default (NTFS only). /X Force the volume to dismount first if necessary. All opened handles to the volume would no longer be valid. /R:revision UDF only: Force the format to a specific UDF version (1.02, 1.50, 2.00, 2.01, 2.50). default= 2.01 /D UDF 2.50 only: Metadata will be duplicated. /L NTFS Only: Use large size file records. By default, the volume will be formatted with small size file records. /A:size Override the default allocation unit size. Default settings are strongly recommended for general use. See below for allocation unit sizes. NTFS compression is not supported for allocation unit sizes above 4096. /T:tracks The number of tracks per disk side. /N:sectors The number of sectors per track. /P:count Zero every sector on the volume. After that, the volume will be overwritten "count" times using a different random number each time. If "count" is zero, no additional overwrites are made after zeroing every sector. This switchis ignored when /Q is specified. /S:state Support for short filenames (enable, disable) Short names are disabled by default /I:state ReFS only: enable integrity on the new volume. "state" is either "enable" or "disable" Integrity is enabled on storage that supports data redundancy by default. /F:size The size of the floppy disk to format (720, 1.2, 1.44, 2.88, or 20.8). Allocation unit sizes: ReFS supports 64K. NTFS supports 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16K, 32K, 64K. FAT supports 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16K, 32K, 64K, (128K, 256K for sector size > 512 bytes). FAT32 supports 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16K, 32K, 64K, (128K, 256K for sector size > 512 bytes). exFAT supports 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16K, 32K, 64K, 128K, 256K, 512K, 1M, 2M, 4M, 8M, 16M, 32M.

The FAT and FAT32 files systems impose the following restrictions on the number of clusters on a volume:
FAT: Number of clusters <= 65526
FAT32: 65526 < Number of clusters < 4177918

Example

@echo off
Echo Warning this will reformat the entire D: disk!
PAUSE
format D: /FS:NTFS /x

"The disks had a recording density of 1,100 bits per inch, and could move data out of the drive at 77 kilobytes per second" ~ Early hard drive specs.

Related:


Q314878 - Choosing Cluster Size when formatting a hard drive
KB955704 - WinXP support for the exFAT file system format
Q252448 - How to create an NT Bootdisk
Floppy Disks - History from Wikipedia
Equivalent bash command (Linux): mkfs, in FreeBSD & OSX: newfs, fsck_exfat


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