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Old Apr 6, 2007, 7:19 AM   #1
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When to use each method? And what is better? What is the difference between low-lever format and (ordinary)format? I have Canon S3 IS.



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Old Apr 6, 2007, 7:19 PM   #2
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"Format" writes a new, empty File Allocation Table (FAT). This tells the camera that the entire storage medium is available to store files.

"Low Level Format" erases the entire storage medium and writes a new, empty File Allocation Table. This verifies the integrity of every location on the storage medium, and tells the camera that the entire storage medium is available to store files.

The advantages of doing a "Fomat" are: 1. it is faster (and doesn't use a lot of battery power if you're not connected to the AC adapter), 2. if you decide later that you want to recover files that were on the storage medium before you formatted it, you might be able to, and 3. it doesn't use up a lot of the finite number of read/write operations that flash memory devices have.

The advantages of doing a "Low Level Format" are: 1. it verifies each and every bit on the storage medium as writeable and readable, and marks any bad locations as places not to be used for file storage, and2. (I can't think of any others.)

If you have the option to "Low Level Format" a flash memory card, it's not a bad idea to "Low Level Format" new cards, but after that, each additional "Low Level Format" significantly shortens the life of the card.
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Old Apr 6, 2007, 8:39 PM   #3
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Old Apr 7, 2007, 8:08 AM   #4
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Actually that is not it.

What TCav calls a format is actually a 'Quick Format" and what he calls a low level format is actually a 'Format'.

A Low Level Format involves actually writing out the tracks and sectors that a disk uses to store information. This is very rarely used and mainly only used when a hard disk is manufactured so that it is ready to be formatted and shipped to consumers. Or in the event of a non physical failure of some kind of the disk itself to read the information on the platters (after data recovery has taken place).

To Low Level Format a hard disk requires a special utility, usually only available from the manufacturer. In Windows Explorer, for example, you cannot do a low level format, only a quick and a regular 'full' format.
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Old Apr 7, 2007, 6:21 PM   #5
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amazingthailand wrote:
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What TCav calls a format is actually a 'Quick Format" and what he calls a low level format is actually a 'Format'.
Actually, I called it that because that's what Chodecalled it.

And Chodecalled it that because that's what Canon calls it.
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Old Apr 8, 2007, 9:09 AM   #6
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We may actually be talking about two different things here. My definitions are for hard drives, where the physical medium is spinning and moving heads write to that medium.

You are refering to solid state memory, where noting moves. While they still use the track and sector concept to write data, it is emulated by the interface, so the concept of a real low level format is non existant. It is a memory device and computers write to memory differently than they do to hard drives.

Microdrives, obviously, do match the computer hard drive definitions.

But to be consistant, I would still not call it a low level format. I would refer to the computer terms (quick format and (full) format).
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Old Apr 8, 2007, 11:37 AM   #7
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amazingthailand wrote:
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We may actually be talking about two different things here. My definitions are for hard drives, where the physical medium is spinning and moving heads write to that medium.

You are refering to solid state memory, where noting moves. While they still use the track and sector concept to write data, it is emulated by the interface, so the concept of a real low level format is non existant. It is a memory device and computers write to memory differently than they do to hard drives.
Actually, no. Since the advent of Zone Bit Recording (ZBR) and Logical Block Addressing (LBA)in the late '80s, even computers don't refer to cylinders, heads and sectors (the physical location of data on a disk.

In the early days of magnetic disks, all tracks had the same number of sectors. But since the bit density of the inner tracks was limiting the amount of data that could be stored on the outer tracks, hard disk manufacturers developed a way to take advantage of the additional capacity inherent in their products. They simply split the outer tracks into more sectors. Since outer tracks had a greater circumference than inner tracks, the number of sectors increased significantly. And the controller on the drive just told the computer (and the operating system) how many sectors it had, and the computer and the operating system were blissful in their ignorance as to how the sectors were actually layed out on the platters.

As a result, there is no actual difference between the way a computer sees a hard disk drive (or a flash memory device) and the way a camera sees a flash memory device (or a hard disk drive.)

amazingthailand wrote:
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I would still not call it a low level format. I would refer to the computer terms (quick format and (full) format).
Call it what you will, but Canon calls it a "Low Level Format." And that was the question.
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Old Apr 8, 2007, 4:33 PM   #8
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TCav wrote:
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As a result, there is no actual difference between the way a computer sees a hard disk drive (or a flash memory device) and the way a camera sees a flash memory device (or a hard disk drive.)
Yes, I agree and that is what I tried to say (even if unclearly). However, I think the real problem is that Canon has used the incorrect term. Unfortunately, this will just lead to confusion and is unnecessary.
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