In order to get a disk or diskette ready for use, you sometimes have to format it. Formatting involves erasing all the data from the disk, checking it for physical errors, removing bad sectors from the disk map, and generally preparing the disk to accept data from the particular computer system that it is being prepared for. There is no physical difference between a diskette that is used with a Macintosh, a PC, or a Unix computer. The difference lies in the way that disk is prepared or formatted.
To format a diskette, insert the diskette into the diskette drive slot, click on the Start Button, and select Run. In the dialogue box that appears, type the following: "format a:" (without the quotes). This will produce the screen below:
Pressing the ENTER key on the keyboard will begin the process of preparing the diskette for use on your computer. It takes approximately one minute to format a standard 3.5-inch diskette. All disks, at some time or other, are formatted prior to using them on a computer system. Be careful not to format your Hard Disk Drive unless you absolutely know what you are doing. Formatting the C: Drive will literally bring you to tears. This is best left to the experts and only whenever all else fails.