The description below is from the book DOS the
Easy Way by Everett Murdock Ph.D.
for information about downloading the book.
Type: External (1.0 and later)
FORMAT d:[/1][/4][/8][/F:(size)] [/N:(sectors)] [/T:(tracks)]
Purpose: Formats a disk to accept DOS files.
Formats the disk in the specified drive to accept DOS files, analyzing the
entire disk for defects.
Initializes the directory and file allocation tables. Can be used to
format both diskettes and fixed disks.
In some earlier versions of DOS, the drive designation letter was
optional. If you are using one of these versions, you can format a
diskette or a FIXED DISK if you enter FORMAT while working in that drive.
For more information about the FORMAT command, see Chapter 2,
Using Common DOS Commands, in the downloadable book DOS the Easy Way.
/1 - Format for single-sided use, regardless of the drive type.
/4 - Formats a double-density diskette in a high-density type disk drive.
Files written to a double-sided disk using a high-density drive may not be
/8 - Formats at 8 sectors per track. If /8 is not specified, FORMAT
defaults to 9 or 15 sectors per track, depending upon the disk drive type.
The /V option cannot be used with the /8 option.
/F:(size) - Formats disks to specific sizes. You can specify the target
disk to be a size value from 160Kb to 2.88Mb. Do not format a floppy disk
at a size higher than it was designed for.
/N:(sectors) - Specifies the number of sectors per track on the disk.
Used to format a 3.5 inch disk with the number of sectors per track
specified using this option. For 720 K-byte disks, this value should be
entered as łN:9.˛
/T:(tracks) - Specifies the number of tracks on the disk. Used to format
a 3.5 inch disk with the number of tracks specified using this option.
For both 720 K-byte disks and 1.44 K-byte disks, this value should be
entered as T:80.
/B - Formats a disk reserving room on the disk to later copy the DOS
/S - Copies the operating system files to the disk after formatting.
These system files are hidden files and will not appear in a directory
listing. Using some versions of DOS, this must be the last option
/C - Causes FORMAT to retest badclusters, otherwise FORMAT will mark the
clusters as bad but will not retest them. (In DOS versions before
Version 6, FORMAT always retested any bad clusters.)
/V:(label) - Causes FORMAT to prompt for a volume label after the disk is
formatted. The label can be of 1 to 11 characters. The same characters
acceptable in filenames are acceptable in the volume label (however, you
cannot add a filename extension). The /8 option cannot be used with the
/V option. DOS Version 5 automatically assigns Label as the disk label and
creates a unique serial number in the boot sector of the disk. The serial
number is displayed at the end of the formatting process.
/Q - Provides a quick way to format a disk . This option erases the file
allocation table and the root directory, but does not identify bad
/U - Completely erases all data on the target disk making it impossible to
perform an UNFORMAT later.
/V - Displays a prompt so that a volume label can be entered.
If you want to format a floppy disk as a double-density disk in a 1.2M
drive, you should enter the following: