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Simple volume A simple volume is a volume contained entirely within a single physical device. On a basic disk, a simple volume is also known as a partition.
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be on the first physical hard disk attached to the system (Disk 0). The boot partition is the partition where the Windows system files are located. The system partition is the partition that contains the bootstrap files that Windows uses to start your system and display the boot menu. (That s right; the boot partition contains the system files, and the system partition is the one from which the computer boots.)
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You have to format a disk before you can put anything on it. The Disk Management wizards that assist you in creating simple, spanned, or striped volumes all include a formatting step (it s assumed that you want to format the new volume so that you can actually do something with it although the step is optional). You can also format a volume in Disk Management by right-clicking its rectangle in the graphical display (the lower pane) and choosing Format from the shortcut menu. (You cannot format the active, boot, or system partition, however.) Outside of Disk Management, you can format a volume in Windows Explorer (right click, choose Format, and reply to the UAC prompt) or from the command prompt (use the Format command; type format / to see the available options). The formatting dialog box employed by Disk Management looks like this:
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File System For hard disk volumes larger than 4 GB (4096 MB), your only option is NTFS. For removable media such as USB flash disks, your choices also include FAT and FAT32. For writeable optical media, your choices are limited to UDF in various revisions. All these choices are described in the following section, Choosing a File System. Allocation Unit Size The allocation unit size (also known as the cluster size) is the smallest space that can be allocated to a file. The Default option, in which Windows Vista selects the appropriate cluster size based on volume size, is the best choice here. Volume Label The volume label identifies the drive in Windows Explorer s Computer window. The default label text is New Volume. (You can change this text at any time, as explained in Assigning or Changing a Volume Label, later in this chapter.
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Select Perform A Quick Format if you want Disk Management to skip the sometimes lengthy process of checking the disk media. Select Enable File And Folder Compression if you want all data on the new volume to use NTFS compression. (This option is unavailable if your volume is not to be formatted with NTFS.)
INSIDE OUT
Formatting does not remove a volume s data
Whatever formatting options you choose, you will be warned that the action of formatting a volume makes that volume s data inaccessible. That s true. Whatever data is there when you format will no longer be available to you by normal means after you format. Unless you use the /p switch, the data remains in some form, however. If you re really concerned about covering tracks, either use format /p:x (where x represents the number /p: x of passes) or wipe the disk after you format it, by using the command-line program cipher.exe, with the /w switch. (Type cipher / at the command prompt for details.) Curicipher / at ously enough, the cipher command does not require an administrative token.
Choosing a File System
File system choices available to you depend on the type of media you are formatting. With hard disks, the only option made available by Disk Management is NTFS. If you want to format a hard disk in FAT or FAT32, you need to use the command-prompt Format command, with the /fs switch. (Type format / at the command prompt for details.) The only good reason to do this, however, is for the sake of compatibility with systems running Windows 9x. (See The Advantages of NTFS, later in this chapter.) If you re dual-booting with Windows 9x and want the data on the volume you re formatting to be accessible to the Windows 9x partition, you should choose FAT32. Note that the 16-bit FAT, while still available, is a relic of much older days when disks were dramatically smaller. It s appropriate for floppy disks and very small hard-disk partitions only. If you re formatting a USB flash disk, on the other hand, FAT32 is a reasonable choice. In the first place, a flash disk is likely to serve at times as a transfer medium, possibly with systems running earlier versions of Windows. Secondly, because NTFS is a journaling file system, reading and writing files on NTFS disks involves more disk IO than similar operations on FAT32 disks. Flash disks can perform a finite number of reads and writes before they need to be replaced hence they will likely have a longer life expectancy under FAT32 than under NTFS.
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