low-level format



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


  • 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.