- Nov 30, 2017
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How to Format a Hard Drive
You Must Format a Drive Before Using it in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, or XP
Format Hard Drive in Windows 10
Overview of Disk Formatting
Before introducing how to format partition or hard drive in Windows 10, let's learn some information about the knowledge of disk formatting. As you know, when it comes to formatting, you should know it refers to an operation to a disk or drive. Actually, this operation causes all files on the selected disk or partition erased. Generally, formatting can be divided into two modes, low-level formatting, and high-level formatting. Usually, disk formatting refers to the latter one. During the process of formatting, one file system such as NTFS and FAT32 will be created so that the operating system can read data from the drive and write data to the drive.
When Need to Format Windows 10
In this day and age, Windows 10 disk formatting becomes an important thing. As you know, as the newest operating system provided by Microsoft, Windows 10 is very popular with many users all over the world. In this new system, disk formatting is still necessary. Do you know what the specific reasons are? When does your hard drive need to be formatted in Windows 10? Please read on, and here four main cases are listed below.
- Make Windows Clean Install If your computer has a Windows 7 or 8.1 OS and now you make a upgrade to Windows 10, but Windows 10 doesn't work well, so you want to downgrade to the previous OS. In this case, if you decide to make a fresh Windows installation, formatting is an option.
- Install a New Hard Drive When using a new hard disk, you need to format it with a file system so that files can be saved to the target drive.
- Fix Some Issues Sometimes, you probably encounter some disk or partition issues, such as "
- " error message when removing a folder, logical bad sectors, SD card corruption and more. In these cases, formatting is a good chocie to fix the issues.
- Erase Data Some of you choose to format a disk to erase data before throwing a disk away or giving to others for privacy information security.
In these cases, you know it is necessary to format hard drive in Windows 10. Now it is time to search methods about how to format Windows 10. Nevertheless, as a matter of fact, few users know how to do this work properly. If you also want to know the specific solutions, just try the following methods according to your needs.
How to Format Windows 10
As the contents I have mentioned show, disk formatting refers to formatting not only data partition but also system partition in Windows 10. Here this post will show you solutions in these two cases.
Back up Files
No matter in which case including making a clean install, fixing disk write protection and more you need to format a partition or hard drive, there is one point that should be noted: please back up all your important files or information before you begin this formatting process, otherwise, data loss will happen to you.
Do you know how to make such a backup if there are a large amount of data stored in the target hard drive? Fortunately, a piece of third-party backup software – MiniTool Partition Wizard is highly worthy of being recommended. This program has six editions, for instance, Free Edition, Professional Edition and Pro Ultimate Edition for personal users, Server Edition for server users, Enterprise Edition for business usage and Technician Edition for advanced IT users. Here in Windows 10, Free Edition is suitable. Before making the backup, please download MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition and install it to your Windows 10 OS.
As an excellent free backup tool, MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition provides you two reliable backup modes, "Copy Disk" and "Copy Partition". The former is useful to back up the whole disk data and the latter. can be used to only clone partition data to unallocated space. Here please choose one feature according to your case. Let's take disk copy as an example. Launch this free backup software, select a disk you want to clone and click "Copy Disk".
Case 1: Format Non-system Partition in Windows 10
How to format Windows 10? Perhaps this question is frequently asked. Firstly, here let's learn this case: format data partition. Generally speaking, it is very easy to do this operation with the following four ways.
Use MiniTool Partition Wizard
If you have downloaded MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition to back up your significant data before, now you can also use this free partition manager to quickly format hard drive in Windows 10. In addition to disk copy, this professional free software can be used to manage disk and partition well, such as resize/split/extend/delete partition, migrate OS and more. Besides, you can also use it to format your data partition as well as system partition on a hard drive. Here take data partition as an example. How to format Windows 10 disk? Follow the guidance below now.
Step 1: Click a target drive, and then select "Format Partition" feature in the action pane.
Step 2: Then in the pop-up window, select a file system FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, Ext2/3/4 or Linux Swap. Besides, cluster size including 512 bytes, 1/2/4/8/6/32/64 KB can be selected. Then click "OK" to go back to the main interface.
Step 3: Finally, hit "Apply" button in the upper left corner.
Adopt Disk Management
Usually, when it comes to disk formatting, many of you may consider adopting Windows 10 Disk Management. Open this free tool by right clicking "My PC" icon on the desktop and then selecting "Management" option to click "Disk Management" under "Storage" tab.
If you just connect a new hard disk to your computer, before using it, you need to initialize this disk to MBR or GPT and then create a new volume for data storage with "New Simple Volume" feature. During the process of creation, formatting is necessary. How to format Windows 10 partition with Disk Management? From the following figure, please check "Format this volume with the following settings" and select file system, unit size and volume label. If you check "Do not format this volume", this volume will be listed as RAW.
In addition, if there are already some volumes or partitions on the hard drive, you can directly right click a target drive to select "Format" to delete all files and reset file system.
Windows Disk Management doesn’t allow formatting a partition larger than 32GB to FAT32 in Windows 10. If your partition is larger than 32GB, please use a professional partition manager – MiniTool Partition Wizard to do this process
Open Windows Explorer
In addition, some of you choose to format Windows 10 via Windows Explorer. Just right click on a partition to select "Format". "Quick Format" is checked by default.
Run Command Prompt
In addition to the above three ways, you also can use Command Prompt to format drive in Windows 10. Please type "command" in the search box, then right-click this tool to run it as administrator. Then type the following commands one by one:
select disk n: (n means the disk number.)
select volume n: (n refers to the volume number.)
format fs=ntfs quick
Case 2: Format System Partition in Windows 10
The above part introduces you four ways to format data partition in Windows 10. Besides, if you want to format system partition in Windows after upgrade, how to format? Why do you want to format system/boot partition?
Actually, after upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1, it is likely that you find your computer runs very slowly and some upgrade issues occur. And the previous files and settings are saved in C drive, so you probably choose to reinstall OS to format and clean all files and settings. Moreover, if there are two operating systems including Windows 10 and Windows 7 on a same hard disk, and you want to format Windows 10 system partition. In these two cases, you are wondering: how to format Windows 10 after upgrade? Is it easy?
As you know, Windows 10 Disk Management doesn't allow you to format system partition and boot partition. When you right click on system or boot partition, "Format" feature is grey. In this case, how to format Windows 10 after upgrade? Here it is necessary to format system or boot partition with USB drive or CD.
Format Windows 10 without CD
In order to format Windows partition successfully, you may need to use a CD installation. However, if you don't have one, but still want to format, "how to format Windows 10 without CD" issue is often asked. Don’t worry, MiniTool Partition Wizard is still suitable for this situation. Here you can use its "Bootable Media" to format system drive in WinPE.
Before you formatting system partition, please purchase a license code of Professional Edition or a more advanced edition since "Bootable Media" is a paid feature.
Then you need to build a bootable disc which can be a CD/DVD or USB drive with this feature and boot your OS from the bootable disc.
1. How to Build Boot CD/DVD Discs and Boot Flash Drive with Bootable Media Builder?
2. How to Boot from Burned MiniTool Bootable CD/DVD Discs or USB Flash Drive?
Step 1: After a few seconds, you will go to the interface of MiniTool PE Loader. Please launch Partition Wizard.
Step 2: In the main interface of MiniTool Partition Wizard, select system partition and click "Format Partition" from "Partition Management" menu. Then a warning will appear with "The specified partition is system partition, and formatting system partition may cause your computer to be unbootable" message. Click "Yes" to perform this operation.
Step 3: Then choose a file system to click "OK".
Step 4: At last, click "Apply" to execute this operation.
Tip: This tool is suitable to format system partition in dual system. If you only install one OS, after formatting, you still need to reinstall Windows.
Format Windows 10 via Command Prompt
If some upgrade issues appear and Windows doesn't work well, you can also use Command Prompt in WinRE to fix some issues. You can enter this mode by using a system repair disc or pressing F8 several times during the process of booting the computer. Then go Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Command Prompt. Then type "format c: /fs:NTFS". Want to know much information about how to format C drive? Click here now.
Format Windows 10 and Install Windows 7/8
In addition to the above ways, you probably want to abandon Windows 10 and continue to use Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. But do you know how to format Windows 10 and install Windows 7/8.1?
In fact, it is very easy, you can directly downgrade to the previous system by making a fresh Windows installation. Here a corresponding Windows installation CD should be prepared. During the OS installation process, select system partition as well as other partitions on the hard drive to format. Then make a fresh Windows installation according to the wizards. By this way, you can successfully format Windows 10 to Windows 7/8 during the reinstallation by clicking "Format" button.
Note: It is likely that you encounter an issue saying "Windows could not format a partition on disk 0. The error occurred while preparing the partition selected for installation. Error code: 0x80070057". Click this post to find its solutions.
In this post, I introduce you what disk formatting is, when to format Windows 10 and how to format Windows 10 in two cases. All the above ways to format data partition as well as system partition are very useful. Use a professional program, free Windows tool or Windows installation disc? Please choose one according to your needs. If you have any suggestion and question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below.