Quick Format vs. Full Format [Fully Explained]

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Quick Format Vs Full Format

While trying to format a partition on your hard disk, you must have noticed two kinds of formats (Quick Format and Full Format) available for you to choose from.

Have you ever wondered how both differ from each other? Read this article thoroughly from start to end in order to understand the whole concept of the Quick Format vs. Full Format.

Generally, the system runs the quick formatting process whenever you try to format any partition since the “Quick Format” option is checked by default.

And, if you uncheck it, the system will run the full formatting process in that case. First of all, let’s understand what actually the disk formatting is.

What is Disk Formatting?

When you configure any kind of data storage media (like a hard disk) for its initial usage, the process is called Disk formatting. The process is executed not only before the initial installation but also to produce additional storage in the system.

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When it comes to the whole process of disk formatting, it is worth noting that the process is made up of three parts:

1. Low-Level Formatting

The process of creating sectors and tracks on a hard disk is called Low-level formatting. The computer user has to do nothing with this kind of formatting. It is the hard disk’s manufacturer who performs this physical formatting.

2. Partitioning

The process of dividing a hard disk into multiple partitions by the computer user is said to be Partitioning.

3. High-Level Formatting

The high-level formatting is done on partitions. And this kind of formatting is performed by the user himself. This is the high-level formatting which is further divided into two categories: quick format and full format.

Here it becomes clear that the quick format and full format are mainly related to the partitions in the disks.

Process of Quick Format vs. Full Format

If I have to discuss the process of quick/full format, there will be two cases to discuss the process for formatting in Windows explorer and formatting in disk management. Let’s discuss the formatting process for both of the cases.

Quick/Full Format in Windows Explorer

Follow the steps given below in order to perform the process:

  • 1. First, open “File Explorer” on your computer.
  • 2. Go to “This PC” and locate the local disc (which is to be formatted) under this.
  • 3. Click on the local disk by using the right button on your mouse, and then you will find the “Format” option. Click on this option.
  • 4. Once you click on the “Format” option, a dialog box will open up. If you simply click on the “Start” button, the quick formatting process will start because the option “Quick Format” is checked by default. But if you uncheck the “Quick Format” option before hitting the “Start” button, it will start the full formatting process for the disk partition. And that’s it.
Quick/Full Format in Windows Explorer

Quick/Full Format in Disc Management

You can follow the steps given below in order to be able to perform the formatting process in Disk Management:

1. First, you have to press the “Windows + R” keys.

2. Then open the “Disk Management” by typing “diskmgmt.msc“.

3. Right-click on the partition which is to be formatted.

4. Select the “Format” option.

5. At last, click the “OK” button to start the formatting process. By default, the option “Perform a quick format” is checked. You can uncheck it if you want to run a full format for the partition.

Perform a quick format

Actual Differences Between Quick Format And Full Format

Now let’s get to the main point. What are the actual differences between the quick format and the full format? Will the Quick Format erase the data completely or partially?

All of the questions need to be answered very well, and I have done the same. Below I have described all of the differences you need to know between these two kinds of formatting:

Tasks Included

A quick format, if executed, will perform the following tasks on the disk partition:

  • It will delete the files stored in the partition.
  • It will also perform the task of rebuilding the “file system.”
  • Moreover, it will rebuild the “volume label” and the “cluster size” as well.

And on the other hand, a full format will perform the following tasks:

  • It will completely erase the files from the partition.
  • Will perform the task of rebuilding the “file system.”
  • And it will also rebuild the “volume label” and the “cluster size“.
  • Moreover, it will perform scanning on the disk partition for the bad logical sectors (which is not done in the quick format).

Formatting Speed

When it comes to the speed of formatting the partition, a quick format is always faster than the full format.

Intensity of Format

The quick format is faster, but it doesn’t erase all of the data. All it does is just delete it by marking the disk partition as “formatted” and deleting the journal (which has the records of locations-tracks of files on the hard drive).

And on the other hand, the full format completely erases all of the data stored on the partition of the disk.

Data Recovery Possibility

Unless you have overwritten it, the data deleted with a quick format on the partition can be recovered with the use of data recovery software.

But, on the other hand, normally, you cannot recover the data erased with the full formatting process.

Versions Of Windows

When it comes to the versions of Windows, there have been several changes in the effectiveness of quick/full format along with the various versions of Windows over time.

In Windows XP and the earlier versions, you could also recover the data of the disk partition that had been formatted with a full format.

But, later, in Windows Vista and the succeeding versions, the data formatted with the full format cannot be normally recovered with any data recovery software.

And on the other, you can easily recover the deleted data with the quick format in these versions of Windows with the use of some data recovery software, as mentioned earlier.

How to Recover Data from the Quick Formatted Disk Partition

No need to tell you again that you can easily recover the data from a quick formatted disk. But the question here arises of how you can accomplish this task.

Here comes the role of the data recovery software, as I have cleared earlier also. The best data recovery software I recommend using to perform this recovery process is Tenorshare 4DDiG.

Tenorshare 4DDiG

Features of Tenorshare 4DDiG

  • By using Tenorshare 4DDiG, you can easily recover all of the data lost in formatting the hard drive because the tool has the capability to recover more than 1000 types of files.
  • Apart from being able to recover data from the formatted hard drive, it can also recover all other types of storage media like mobile phones, camcorders, flash drives, etc.
  • It is not only the data lost due to the formatting process, which the 4DDiG helps in recovering, but it can also help in successfully recovering the data lost due to some other reasons like a power outage, accidental deletion, etc.
  • The recovery process with this tool is speedy. Hence you won’t have to waste too much of your valuable time running the process.
  • The process of data recovery is straightforward and easy to execute.
  • Moreover, the recovery rate with this tool is more than 98%, which is rarely found in any other tool of a similar kind.

When To Choose Quick Format vs. Full Format

You can think of using the quick format functionality in the following cases:

  • When you don’t want to erase the data from your hard drive completely; and have the possibility to be in need of recovering that data in the future.
  • If you don’t want to scan your hard disk for bad sectors.
  • And if you don’t have a long time, wait for the formatting process to complete.

On the other hand, you can think of using the full format functionality in the following cases:

  • When you are in need of completely erasing the data from the disk and have no possibility to require the recovery of that data in the future.
  • And if you want to scan your disk for bad sectors.

Also read: How to quickly and easily upgrade your PC.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: Can I recover files after performing a quick format?

A1: Yes, there is a higher possibility of recovering files after a quick format using specialized data recovery tools.

Q2: Is full format necessary for a new storage device?

A2: No, a quick format is generally sufficient for a new storage device.

Q3: How long does a full format take?

A3: The duration of a full format depends on the size and condition of the storage device but can take considerably longer compared to a quick format.

Q4: Does full format eliminate bad sectors?

A4: Full format performs a surface scan and marks bad sectors on the storage device, ensuring they are not used for data storage.

Q5: Can I switch from quick format to full format midway?

A5: No, once you initiate a formatting process, you cannot switch between quick format and full format. Choose the desired option carefully before proceeding.

Final Words

Quick format and full format both have their own advantages and disadvantages. You can choose a quick format if you have less time for formatting.

But you must execute the full formatting process if you sell your hard disk so that others may not easily recover the data.

Keeping in mind all the information covered in this article on Quick Format vs. Full Format, you can easily decide which one will be applicable in your case.


Ten years of experience in information and computer technology. Passionate about electronic devices, smartphones, computers, and modern technology.

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