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- This article is about the process. For the Beast Machines episode that is named after this process, see The Reformatting
This is the process of upgrading or modifying an existing mechanical system or being. The term can also be applied to other species/lifeforms who undergo a similar process. When applied to planet-wide changes, it is known as Mechaforming, or alternatively, reformatting a planet.
Strictly speaking, reformatting is a process by which a Transformer's body is altered almost instantaneously from a mechanical to a technorganic form. In common, casual use among fans, the term is often applied more widely to any "instant" body change into anything new by either a source of power or some near omnipotent being, such as the Oracle, Unicron, Primus, or even the power of one of the Cyber Planet Keys. This includes G1 Megatron's rebirth as Galvatron, Skywarp and Thundercracker becoming Cyclonus and Scourge, the Insecticons turning into the Sweeps and Cyclonus' "armada", the Maximals becoming technorganic life-forms, and the creation of the Cybertron Defense Team, plus Inferno becoming Roadblock and Overhaul becoming Leobreaker.
In The Movie, the planet-eater Unicron transformed a war-torn Megatron and several other Decepticons into new bodies. However, his process also saw a major change in their personalities to the extent that the personas they once had were removed permanently. This process of a Transformer being reformatted and, at the same time, becoming a whole new personality can be considered more as 'reincarnation' of the Transformer(s) in question to begin a new life in a new body; i.e, Megatron begins life anew as Galvatron.
The term was first introduced in the premiere episode "The Reformatting". The Oracle reformatted Optimus Primal and granted him the ability to reformat other Transformers merely by touching them and concentrating. Additionally, later in the series, the Vehicon general Jetstorm was reformatted in a whole new way (restoring Silverbolt's consciousness in the process) when Blackarachnia planted a DNA scanner, modified by Rattrap, onto him and then brought him into prolonged contact with organic goo from Cybertron's core. The DNA scanner started its scan for lifeforms and found several fossils of creatures concealed behind the walls of the room the Technorganic goo was based at, and as an end result, Jetstorm's body was forcibly transformed, with his own consciousness disappearing permanently as Silverbolt's awakened and took over.
When reformatted, each Maximal became technorganic, a futuristic and advanced woven amalgam of technological and organic components in a perfect fusion of the two, unlike what Transmetal 2s had demonstrated. But it was not just for show; this both bypassed Megatron's transformation lock virus and gave them newfound weapons and abilities. It was also the penultimate step in an elaborate plan by the Oracle to reformat the entire planet of Cybertron.
At the end of the series, Primal and Megatron fell into Cybertron's organic core, which initiated the planet-wide reformatting that left Cybertron as a technorganic paradise.