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XP boot disk format vs PC restore formats?

TimTim Southwest PA Icrontian
edited Oct 2011 in Technology
I have noticed something. When I am formatting a hard drive using an XP boot disk for a full format, it takes a lot longer than when a computer with the same size hard drive is being reformatted using the PC Restore function that comes on new computers for the past several years.

I haven't timed it with a stopwatch or anything, but I'd say the PC Restore formats take about 10% to 25% of the time of an XP boot disk format job.

Why is this? Does the PC Restore just do a real half-assed format, just wiping file names and leaving the viruses on the disk, or has it found a better faster way, or is the XP boot disk format much more thorough?

I also have found a program called Active Killdisk that does really good formats and it takes a while too but it is the free version. The paid version has many more options for the formats it can do.


  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    I love ActiveState Killdisk. I highly recommend it, and used to use it all the time on customer computers.
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited Oct 2011
    The difference is the restore disk is just re-imaging the disk. The Windows disk is formatting it and actually installing the software so it's figuring out drivers etc...etc...etc....

    So in the restore disk it's just a straight data copy no calculations really. The other is doing actual work.
  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    I approve of that answer. ^5 kryyst.
  • TimTim Southwest PA Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Well, for the restore disk / hard drive recovery partition, during its process, it claims to be formatting the hard drive, but it is over with so fast that there's no way it could be a properly done format. The restore disk isn't actually taking the time to erase anything? Just writing new stuff over what may or may not have been there before?
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited Oct 2011
    Every restore disk is different so I can't say for sure. But most that I've seen don't format the drive as do bit level over write of the drive. At most it's doing a quick format.
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