- What does the computer do when we format our hard disk or flash disk.
- If formatting clears all data on a disk, what is the difference between deleting all files in the disk and formatting the entire disk?
- Is it bad to format multiple times?
- How many times can a disk be formatted?
- Will formatting reduce the lifespan of my drive?
- What is the difference between quick formatting and standard formatting?
Before answering this, you should know how a file system is built. A file system is a kind of library in which we have books that represent files. These books can be found using the Library's catalogue, telling you in which shelf the books are stacked.
Over time, the catalogue will still contain books that are no longer present in the library or books will be in the library that are not recorded in the catalogue. There will be decay in the system and errors might occur. Also the library might decay and fall into ruin.
When we delete all files from a media, we clear out the entire catalogue but leave all the books in the shelves. When we want to add a file (book), we make room for the new book by removing some of the other old books from the shelf and putting the new book there.
However, if we format the media, we demolish the entire library and rebuild it. The books may then still be recovered from all the rubble of the old library, but once the new library is getting filled up, that books will decay.
There's no real reason to format several times. Media, as well as hard drives and especially USB thumb drives have a number of write cycles in which according to the manufacturer, proper operation is guaranteed. Formatting media will contribute to the number of write cycles being done. Yet, you won't actually damage the drive.
EDIT: keep in mind that you cannot actually "erase" anything on hard disks or flash medias. You can just write different, possibly meaningful, data in a sector (like writing a bunch of zeros or stuff like that) but there is no such thing as a physically "empty" sector.
First you need to know a filesystem is a method of storing and organizing computer files and their data. Essentially, it organizes these files into a database for the storage, organization, manipulation, and retrieval by the computer's operating system.
To format a drive you are creating a new filesystem. You are not only deleting all the files but also deleting the structure that your computer uses to know where the files are.
A quick format is very much like deleting all the files, because your only actually deleting the first little bit of each file. Enough so that your computer now thinks of those files as "free space", even though the original data is there, the computer knows it can write over it at any time. A quick format also creates a new filesystem (but your probably using the same type of filesystem that you were before). A standard Format writes over the whole disk so that the original data isn't there anymore. This takes longer and isn't really necessary.
That should answer 1 and 2 and 6.
(4) There is no limit. Thousands. Less on a Pen-drive, but formating is no different than other writing on the drive. Any writing shortens the lifespan since, especially pen-drives, can only do so much writing before they die.
(5) No, not more than regular writing