When installing Windows XP, there is a prompt for formatting the disk. What is the difference between an NTFS 'format', and an NTFS 'format (Quick)'?


It depends.

If it's a disk that has been working fine, just use the quick format, otherwise I'd do a full format, which also scans for bad sectors.

More info here: KB302686.

  • 6
    but then, I would never use a disk I knew to be faulty for a fresh installation, so .... – Lasse V. Karlsen Jul 15 '09 at 13:32
  • In other words, there's no point to spending extra time scanning for bad sectors at format time, because the OS has to do that on reads/writes anyway. You don't save any work later, and you get nothing now because even if it finds a bunch of bad sectors you didn't already know about it will still just mark them bad and move on. – Joel Coehoorn Feb 17 '11 at 20:06

I always use quick format.

There is just no reason for a long format in modern harddisk, since writing each block to zero won't do any good to "fix" any actual harddisk problems. These days, harddisk either work, or it needs to send it for RMA, or just dump it.


Use Format (Quick). One time, Format (Quick) gave me an error, and I thought that if I used Format instead, it would work. After waiting hours, Format gave me the same message.

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