Command: format

  FORMAT formats a hard drive or floppy disk. This prepares the
  medium for the use with FreeDOS.


  FORMAT drive [/V[:label]] [/Q] [/U] [/F:size] [/S] [/D]
  FORMAT drive [/V[:label]] [/Q] [/U] [/T:tracks /N:sectors] [/S] [/D]
  FORMAT drive [/V[:label]] [/Q] [/U] [/4] [/S] [/D]
  FORMAT [/?]
         drive  The drive letter, e.g. C:

[Main menu] [top] (Syntax) [Options] [Comments] [Examples] [See also] [File]


  /1            Format a single-sided disk (160k/180k).
  /4            Format a 160k/360k floppy disk in a 1.2 MB floppy drive.
  /8            Format a 5-1/4 inch disk with 8 sectors per track
                (160k/320k, DOS 1.x).
  /A            Forces 4k alignment for FAT32 formatting.
  /B            Reserve space to make a bootable disk (is dummy and cannot
                be combined with /s (sys)).
  /D            Be very verbose and show debugging output. For bug reports.
  /F:size       Specifies the size of the floppy disk to format. Normal
                sizes are: 360, 720, 1200, 1440, or 2880 (unit: kiloBytes).
                160,180,320 should also work. /F:0 shows a list of allowed
  /N:sectors    Specifies the number of sectors per track on a floppy disk.
  /Q            Quick formats the disk. If not combined with /U, can be
                UNFORMATed and preserves bad cluster marks (/Q /U does not)
  /S            Calls SYS to make the disk bootable and to add system files
  /T:tracks     Specifies the number of tracks on a floppy disk.
  /U            Unconditionally formats the disk. Lowlevel format if
                floppy disk.
                NOTE: This option may last VERY VERY long! Press ESC and
                wait to exit /U.
  /V:label      Specifies a volume LABEL for the disk, stores date and
                time of it (is not for 160k/320k disks).
  /Y            Skip confirmation request.
  /Z:longhelp:  Gives detailed, technical usage information.
  /Z:mirror     Saves the UNFORMAT "MIRROR data", without formatting the
  /Z:seriously  Suppresses the confirmation request when you use format
                with a hard disk.
  /Z:unformat   Unformats the disk, if the MIRROR data is fresh.
  /?            Shows the help.

[Main menu] [top] [Syntax] (Options) [Comments] [Examples] [See also] [File]


  Warning: while format supports FAT32, running under Win9x to create FAT32
  does not work well.
  Modes for FLOPPY are: Tries to use quick safe format. Use lowlevel format
  only when needed. Quick safe format saves mirror data for UNFORMAT. 
  Modes for HARDDISK are: Tries to use quick safe format. Use quick full
  format only when needed. Quick full format only resets the filesystem.
  If you want to force lowlevel format (floppy) or want to have the whole
  disk surface scanned and all contents wiped (harddisk), use /U.
  FORMAT /Q /U is quick full format (no lowlevel format / scan / wipe!)
  FORMAT /Q is quick save format (save mirror data if possible)
  The mirror data will always overwrite the end of the data area!
  FORMAT autoselects a mode (see above) if you select neither /Q nor /U.

  Supported FAT types are: FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, all with mirror / unformat.
  Supported floppy sizes are: 160k, 180k, 320k, 360k and 1200k for 5,25
  inch and 720k and 1440k (2880k never tested so far) for 3,5 inch drives.
  Supported overformats are: 400k, 800k, 1680k (and 3660k) with more
  sectors and 1494k (instead of 1200k) and 1743k (and 3486k) with more
  tracks, too. More tracks will not work on all drives, use at your own
  Warning: older DOS versions can only use overformats with a driver.
  720k in 1440k needs 720k media. Use a 360k drive to format 360k.
  For FAT32 formatting, you can use the /A switch to force 4k alignment.
  FORMAT has the following EXITCODES (ERRORLEVEL):
    0        Okay,
    1        Bad sectors detected (only if /d or /y or
             /z:seriously option active)
    2        Help screen shown or syntax error,
    3        User abort,
    4        Format error,
    5        User did not confirm.
  Errorlevels 1 and 2 are extensions beyond MS FORMAT style.
  If you use the /D flag, errorlevels will be different.
  They will be specific to the particular FORMAT version.

  In 0.91t, for example:
    0        Okay,
    1        Bad sectors detected,
    2        Help displayed or syntax error,
    10..13   Userint error (not confirmed / syntax error)
    20..22   Createfs error (filesystem creation),
    25..29   dDrive I/O error,
    30..31   Recordbc error (existing filesystem analysis),
    35..36   Uformat error (unconditional format),
    38..39   Savefs error (SafeFormat / Mirror)
    40..52   Floppy error,
    55..59   Hdisk error,
    60..62   Main error: unsuitable drive type, e.g. CD-ROM,
   128..255  Critical error (userint: (DOS or BIOS error code) | 128)

[Main menu] [top] [Syntax] [Options] (Comments) [Examples] [See also] [File]


  format a: /f:1440   formats a 1,4 MB diskette
  format c: /v:my_hd  formats a harddisk, label: my_hd

[Main menu] [top] [Syntax] [Options] [Comments] (Examples) [See also] [File]

See also:


[Main menu] [top] [Syntax] [Options] [Comments] [Examples] (See also) [File]


  Please read this command's lsm file also.
  You will find the updated version (internet) here and
  the version described in this manual page here.
  The lsm file contains information about the name of the programmer,
  the download site, and some other command related information.

[Main menu] [top] [Syntax] [Options] [Comments] [Examples] [See also] (File)

  Copyright © 1998 Jim Hall, updated 2008 by W. Spiegl.

  This file is derived from the FreeDOS Spec Command HOWTO.
  See the file H2Cpying for copying conditions.