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Change in the behavior of the format command in Windows Vista and later versions

This article describes a change in the behavior of the format command in Windows Vista and later Widows versions. 
More information
The behavior of the format command changed in Windows Vista and later Windows versions. By default in Windows Vista and later versions, the format command writes zeros to the whole disk when a full format is performed. In Windows XP and earlier versions of Windows, the format command does not write zeros to the whole disk when a full format is performed.

The new format behavior may cause problems for the on-demand allocation modes that a volume storage provider, such as a Storage Area Network (SAN), supports. Problems may occur because the new format behavior prematurely triggers allocation of the backing space.

In the on-demand scenario, zeros do not have to be written to the whole disk because the volume storage provider initializes the on-demand-allocated data. To avoid causing unnecessary on-demand-allocation, you must use the quick format option.

You can use four methods to format a volume in Windows Vista and later versions. You can use the quick format option for these four methods:

Article ID: 941961 - Last Review: 08/26/2015 19:18:00 - Revision: 1.0

  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
  • Windows 10 Pro, released in July 2015
  • kbtshoot kbinfo KB941961