What actually happens when you type the commands Format C: in windows?

@ 2004/11/03
There's a nerdy idea floating around that you can tell an uninformed Windows user to type "format c:" in the Run dialog to solve their problems. This is perpetuated in office jokes and comics among other places, but how many people have actually tried to destroy their using "format c:".

I made a goal for myself to find out what would happen if I ran “format c:” on a freshly installed Windows system and decided to compare it to the equally notorious "rm -Rf /" in Linux. Besides noting how effectively I could trash the system, I wanted to see how the operating system responded, and what it took to be able to destroy the system. I know that "format c:" and "rm -Rf /" aren't equivalent, but they usually are interchangeable punchlines to jokes, which is why they were chosen.

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