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Format External Harddisk

I have two hard disk drives on my desktop, a 160GB and a 500GB. For a movie collector like me, that is really insufficient. I intended to buy a 1TB quite some time ago. Unfortunately, due to flood in Thailand, price-level went upwards with a spike. So I spent the money on some other purpose.

Recently I bought a Transcend external HDD. Now, I have always been a fan of Transcend. I have been using their micro SD since 2007, USB flash drive since 2008 and RAM module since 2010. Now I’m not gonna claim they are #1 on their field or something like that. It’s just that I have always found their products to be reliable. And in a country like ours where customer support level is really poor and time consuming, reliability becomes the first preference.

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Once I plugged it in my PC, the first thing I noticed that it is formatted with FAT32 file system. So copying a single file that is over 4GB won’t be possible. I decided to format it in NTFS. So I right clicked on the drive letter and chose “Format”. From the menu I deselected “Quick Format” option. And that was a mistake. You see, a terabyte is 1000000000000 bytes. When full format is selected, the PC accesses every single sector on that drive, check it for error and writes 0 on it. Using a USB 3.0 interface it could have been complete under 4 hours. Since I used USB 2.0 interface, the time limit rises drastically. I started at 4.30 PM and by 11 PM the progress bar reached close to 40%. Once the inspection of sectors was over, it didn’t take much long for the formatting to be done. At 2:30 AM, the task was complete.

So word of advice, if you are planning to format your HDD which has a capacity of 500GB or more, choose the “Quick Format” option. It won’t do a less of a job than what a regular format does, except it will skip the sector checking part which is really a time consuming task even on a PC of modern architecture.

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