In most cases, disks are formatted by the manufacturer or reseller. So, they do not need to be reformatted when you install the drive. To determine if a disk is formatted, use the format utility. For more information, see How to Determine if a Disk Is Formatted.
If you determine that a disk is not formatted, use the format utility to format the disk.
When you format a disk, you accomplish two steps:
The disk media is prepared for use.
A list of disk defects based on a surface analysis is compiled.
Formatting a disk is a destructive process because it overwrites data on the disk. For this reason, disks are usually formatted only by the manufacturer or reseller. If you think disk defects are the cause of recurring problems, you can use the format utility to do a surface analysis. However, be careful to use only the commands that do not destroy data. For details, see How to Format a Disk.
A small percentage of total disk space that is available for data is used to store defect and formatting information. This percentage varies according to disk geometry, and decreases as the disk ages and develops more defects.
Formatting a disk might take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the type and size of the disk.