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Making a digital storage media ready (usually by the user or reseller) to receive and store data in a logical manner. Upon their manufacture, diskettes and hard disks are like blank sheets of paper which need to be divided (formatted) into logically numbered or named equal-size sections (called sectors) so that data can be entered and found quickly. Every operating system (OS) has its unique (non-standard) procedure for formatting magnetic media which normally cannot be used by other OS. Optical media (CD and DVD), however, can be used by any OS because it is formatted (always by the manufacturer) according to the universally-followed ISO standards.

Use 'formatting' in a Sentence

When sending a document to another party through email you must be sure to choose the proper formatting so they can read it.
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I needed the formatting disc in order to reinstall all the programs that I had deleted, but I could not find it anywhere.
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Formatting a hard-drive is something you need to properly consider before performing, as many people have lost valuable information and data from not planning for the process.
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