How to Format/Reformat a Hard Drive on Windows 10/8/7/XP

How to Format/Reformat a Hard Drive on Windows 10/8/7/XP
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To format a hard drive means to erase all files in it and change the file system. How to format a hard drive? If you are running Windows 10, you will find the whole process to reformat hard drive. Works on Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, Windows 7, and Windows XP.

Tip: All the steps and screenshots given below are based on Windows 10 operating system. For Windows 8/7/XP users, the processes are very similar.

Step 1. Connect Hare Drive to Computer

First and foremost, to format a hard drive in Windows 10, make sure the hard drive / external hard drive / USB drive /SD card is normally connected.

Step 2. Go to Windows Disk Management

Disk Management comes with the Windows OS. It is capable of handling multiple tasks without rebooting Windows. For example, it lets you create / delete / format /extend /shrink partition, explore what files are saved in a drive, and change the drive letter.

To go to Windows Disk Management, you have 3 approaches:

  1. Press Windows logo key and R key on the keyboard to invoke the RUN dialog box. Then type diskmgmt.msc to bring out the Disk Management window.
  2. Right click on This PC from desktop and choose Manage.  In the Computer Management window, go to Storage -> Disk Management from the left panel.
  3. For Windows 10 users, right click on Windows Start menu and choose Disk Management.

Step 3. Select the Hard Drive to Format

When you reach Windows Disk Management, quickly go to the lower part of the window and find the hard drive to be formatted by viewing the hard drive & partition information.

navigate to the hard drive to be formatted
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Step 4. Complete Hard Drive Formatting

If there are key files saved on the drive, make a backup before you continue. When you have finished the backup, just follow the guide below to complete the formatting.

  1. Right click on the partition you would like to format and choose format from the context menu.
  2. From the pop-up window, you are able to change the volume label, the file system and the cluster size. Please take care that NTFS is the default file system for Windows 10 local disk. But if you are formatting a USB and SD card smaller than 32 GB, FAT32 will bring you better compatibility.
  3. If you intend to totally erase data on the hard drive, uncheck Perform a quick format.
  4. If NTFS if the target file system, you will be able to check Enable file and folder compression to save disk space.
  5. Now click OK and then confirm the formatting when you see the pop-up warning window.
customize hard drive formatting
choose Format from the context menu to format a hard drive

Doing the above steps helps you reformat a hard drive quickly. Also, you can apply reliable free partition software to help you format a hard drive in Windows 10/8/7.

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