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  Computer Dictionary : Format
 

Welcome to the eComputer Bay's Computer Dictionary - the free online dictionary of computer and technology terms. The goal of the Computer Dictionary is to not just define computer terms, but explain them as well.

Definitions of computer terms are helpful, but explanations with examples are even better. eComputer Bay contains hundreds of computer and technology terms, all with detailed explanations.

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Computer Term

1. Format

In order for storage media, such as a hard drive, to be recognized by your computer, it needs to be formatted. Formatting a disk involves testing the disk and writing a new directory structure, or "address table," onto the disk. If you would like to erase or initialize a hard drive, you can use a disk utility program to reformat it. This will create an blank, empty disk for storing your files. While the disk appears to be empty, most of the files on the disk are actually untouched by the formatting process. When you format a disk, it creates a new address table, making the entire disk available for writing. However, the files are still on the disk -- they just don't show up since the are no longer part of the directory structure. So if you accidentally format a disk (which is pretty hard to do), you can still retrieve most of your files using an advanced disk utility such as Norton Disk Doctor or DiskWarrior.

The term "format" can also be used to describe the layout or style of text in a text document. When you format the layout, you choose the page margins and the line spacing. When you format the text, you choose the font, the size, and the styles, such as bold, italic, and underlined.



 
 



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