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Windows XP

Working with Diskettes

This document contains information and general tips about working with diskettes, such as density information and tips for proper diskette care.

NOTE: Some of these instructions refer to MY COMPUTERMy Computeron the Desktop. Instead of the text MY COMPUTER, you may see your username followed by the computer name.

return to topAbout Diskette Density

Diskettes come in several different sizes and capacities. The most common diskette used today is the 3½" high density diskette. 3½" diskettes come in low and high density formats. The density refers to how much space the diskette has for storing information. The following table summarizes the two types of 3½" floppy diskettes commonly used and the related capacities.

3 1/2" Diskette Type Space
Low/Double Density (DD) 720K
High Density (HD) 1.44MB

As the high and low density 3½" diskettes are the same physical size you need to do a visual check to determine the density. The following graphic indicates the physical difference between high and low density diskettes.

High and Low Density Diskettes

return to topFormatting Diskettes

Formatting diskettes is a process that needs to be done before you can save any information to them. The formatting process is generally only completed one time as it completely erases all information on the diskette.

NOTE: Many diskettes can be purchased preformatted.

About the Format Dialog Box

When you format a diskette, you will work with the Format dialog box.

Capacity
Identifies the diskette as a high-density or low-density diskette.

Format Types:
Quick
Formats the diskette to prepare it for saving files. The Quick format does not scan the diskette for bad sectors. Full
Format the diskette to prepare it for saving files and check for bad sectors.
Create an MS-DOS startup disk
Copies the files required to create a system diskette. Does not format the diskette so existing information is not lost.

Other Options:
Volume Label
Create an electronic label for the diskette. This label is stored internally.

Formatting an Unformatted Diskette

  1. From the Start menu, select All Programs » Accessories » Windows Explorer 
    The My Computer dialog box appears.

  2. Insert the diskette into the floppy drive

  3. In the My Computer dialog box, double click 3 1/2 FLOPPY (A:)3 1/2 Floppy (A:) button

  4. A message will appear that the disk is unformatted and ask if you want to format the diskette, click YES
    The Format dialog box appears.
    Format 3 1/2 Floppy (A:) dialog box

  5. Complete the dialog box to the preferred settings and click START
    NOTE: In most cases, the default settings are sufficient.
    A dialog box appears warning that all data will be erased.

  6. Click OK
    When the process is complete, a status dialog box appears.

  7. Click OK

Reformatting a Formatted Diskette

  1. From the Start menu, select All Programs » Accessories » Windows Explorer 
    The My Computer dialog box appears.

  2. Insert the diskette into the floppy drive

  3. In the My Computer dialog box, right click 3 1/2 FLOPPY (A:) 3 1/2 Floppy (A:) button » select Format...
    The Format dialog box appears.
    Format 3 1/2 Floppy (A:) dialog box

  4. Complete the dialog box to the preferred settings and click START
    NOTE: In most cases, the default settings are sufficient.
    A dialog box appears warning that all data will be erased.

  5. Click OK
    When the process is complete, a status dialog box appears.

  6. Click OK

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