There are several different things that happen during an installation.
If the drive is truly blank, Windows will initialize the disk, create partitions, and format those partitions (different file systems are required on different partitions).
If the disk is already properly setup, then it may not have to do anything.
Also, some of the work can be done behind the scenes - so it's not visible to you.
In most cases, the OS partition is formatted for the NTFS file system.
If it's already formatted that way, or if it's a Quick Format, you won't notice anything being done.
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