Preparing an area for use. This can be a digital storage media or a document. In both cases the area will retain data in a standardized, fixed layout. A particular field of data will always reside in the same order or place relative to other fields of data. On a CD or diskette or hard drive, the action of formatting defines equal-sized subdivisions called sectors. Each sector is formatted to hold a particular number of characters of data. ready (usually by the user or reseller) to receive and store data in a logical manner. Each computer’s operating system has a unique method of applying the sectors on the computer’s hard drives, readying the area to hold data. media (CD and DVD), however, can be used by any OS because it is formatted (always by the manufacturer) according to the universally followed ISO standards.

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