low-level format

Definitions

Computing

  • noun a process that defines the physical pattern and arrangement of tracks and sectors on a disk

Electronics

  • A format which prepares a disk for a specific type of disk controller, and performs tasks such as sector identification. Such a format will destroy all data on a disk, while a high-level format only resets file-allocation tables so that the operating system sees the disk as empty. In the case of a hard disk, a low-level format is usually performed by the manufacturer. Also called physical format.
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