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format a hard drive

What is disk formatting? When do you need to format a hard drive? How to format a hard drive with ease? How to format a hard drive for Mac? What can you do when mistakenly formatting a hard drive? This post shows you the answers.

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Formatting Hard Drive

Hard drives, which are the primary storage devices on our computer, need to be formatted before we can use them. Here, before formatting hard drive, you might be wondering: what is drive formatting? And, when do we need to format a drive? How to format a hard drive?

Now, here are answers to some common questions about formatting drives.

What Is Drive Formatting?

Disk formatting is the process of preparing a data storage device such as a hard disk drive, solid-state drive, floppy disk or USB flash drive for initial use. In some cases, the formatting operation may also create one or more new file systems.

The first part of the formatting process that performs basic medium preparation is often referred to as "low-level formatting". Partitioning is the common term for the second part of the process, making the data storage device visible to an operating system.

The third part of the process, usually termed "high-level formatting" most often refers to the process of generating a new file system. In some operating systems all or parts of these three processes can be combined or repeated at different levels and the term "format" is understood to mean an operation in which a new disk medium is fully prepared to store files.

When Do You Need to Format Hard Drive?

As we know, there are many reasons why we need to format a hard drive. For instance, when installing a new hard drive on the computer, we need to format it with a file system, such as NTFS, before Windows can store files on it. Besides, if we are going to give the drive to someone else or throw it away, we need to format it to erase all the information on it.

What Files System Should You Use?

In fact, a file system is used to control how data is stored and retrieved, and there are various file systems including NTFS, FAT, HFS+, and more. However, different operating systems use different file systems to store and manage data. So well, which one is the most suitable for us?

NTFS (New Technology File System), is the default file system of Windows. In general, it is more powerful than FAT or FAT32. FAT32 is an older Windows file system, and it can only save a file within 4 GB. As a matter of fact, in most cases, the best choice for a hard drive is NTFS.

file is too large for destination file system thumbnail
[Solved] - The File Is Too Large for the Destination File System

When the error “File is too large for destination file system” emerges, converting the current file system like FAT32 to NTFS is undoubtedly the right choice.

Read More

However, if you are running a computer with Mac OS X, you had better use OS X's default file system HFS+.

Is Reformatting a Hard Drive Different than Formatting a Hard Drive?

In general, there is no real difference between reformatting a drive and formatting a drive. Both ways will delete all data on the hard drive. When we reformat a hard drive, we are essentially formatting a drive that has previously been formatted.

And now, it is time for you how to format a hard drive with ease in Windows 10/8/7. We will introduce the ways to format disk in detailed.

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How to Format a Hard Drive with Ease?

In general, when it comes to formatting a hard drive in Windows, there are several ways to complete this task. To be specific, we can turn to Disk Management, DiskPart, third-party tool, and others.

Warning: Formatting erases all data on the drive! Therefore, if you want to format a drive which contains some important files, you had better back up them in advance. Although files can be recovered in some situations, prevention is always better than cure.

Solution 1. Format a Hard Drive with Windows Built-in Disk Management Tool

Now, we will show you how to format a hard drive with the Windows built-in Disk Management tool.

Press Windows Key and R key together to launch Run dialog, and type diskmgmt. msc in the box and hit Enter or click OK to enter Disk Management window.

type diskmgmt.msc in the box to continue

Scenario one: If the drive is not initialized (a brand-new drive), you need to initialize it. Right-click the drive and then choose Initialize Disk. Then, you will be given detailed operating prompts. Just do as told.

choose initialize disk to continue

Note: If our disk is 2TB or more in size, select GPT; otherwise, stick with MBR. For more information about the two kinds of disks, please see What’s the Difference Between GPT and MBR When Partitioning a Drive.

Scenario two: If the drive contains several volumes, we can format volume to delete some useless data. Right-click the target volume and then click Format… Then, you can complete this formatting according to detailed prompts.

click Format to continue

Solution 2. Format Drive via Windows Explorer

We will introduce the second method to format hard drive Windows 10 and you can refer to the following instructions.

Step 1: Open Windows Explorer, you will see all drives (including external hard drive, USB hard drive, and more) in a computer. Now, you need to right-click the drive and choose Format… to get its operating window.

format a hard drive

Note: This method doesn't suitable for a new hard drive. Since when you install a new hard drive to a computer, it doesn't appear in Windows Explorer and you need to initialize it at first in Disk Management.

Step 2: You can specify the File system and Allocation unit size, then click Start to continue.

Solution 3. Format Drive via DiskPart

Now, we will introduce the third method to format disk via Diskpart. Diskpart is widely used in Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10, but it doesn’t support Windows XP.

Step 1: Type cmd in the search box of Windows 10 and right-click Command Prompt to choose Run as administrator to continue.

Step 2: Type the following commands and hit Enter after each command to continue.

diskpart > list disk > select volume E > format fs=ntfs quick label=test

type the commands to continue

Tip: You can replace the E with other drive letters and change the label as you like.

Step 4: Then you can exit the command line window.

Solution 4. Format Hard Drive Using Third-Party Tool

To format a hard drive, you can take advantage of a piece of third-party software. Thus, the professional partition manager – MiniTool Partition Wizard is recommended.

It is professional partition magic which is designed to optimize partition and disk use. It has many powerful features, such as migrate OS to SSD, clone disk and so on.

So in order to format a hard drive, it is also competent.

Then we will show you how to format a hard drive with MiniTool Partition Wizard. But first of all, you need to download and install it.

Free Download

Step 1: Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard to enter its main interface.

Step 2: Select the partition you would like to format and choose Format from the context menu to continue.

choose format to continue

Step 3: Then you set the Partition label, File system, and Cluster size, and click OK to continue.

click OK to continue

Step 4: Then returning the main interface, click Apply to confirm these changes.

click Apply to confirm these changes

Now, you have successfully formatted the hard drive.

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How to Format Hard Drive for Mac OS X

Now, we will show you how to format a hard drive for Mac.

Step 1: In the Finder, choose Go > Utilities. The /Applications/Utilities folder will open. After that, launch Disk Utility.

Note: if you need to format the external hard drive or USB drive, please connect it to Mac computer at first.

Step 2: Locate the drive name from the left-hand side of Disk Utility and click on it. And then, click on the Erase tab across the top.

click Erase to continue

Step 3: From the Format menu, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Next, enter a name for the external hard drive in the Name field.

Step 4: Click the Erase button.

After that, you can successfully format a hard drive for Mac.

Format external drives to Mac OS Extended before using with Aperture will tell you more details.

After seeing the simple introduction, you might know how to format a hard drive to erase data. However, formatting will not delete all data permanently and deleted files still exist on a drive and can be recovered by professional data recovery software. Knowing this, some users want to know whether they can delete some important files like business data and personal information permanently.

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Formatting Hard Drive VS Wiping Hard Drive

The two most common ways to erase a hard drive are formatting or wiping the drive. However, formatting is not a 100 percent secure way to completely remove all data from computer since formatting does not erase the data on the disk, only the address tables.

Therefore, some businesses and individual users are looking for more secure methods to erase data. Here, in this case, users can try using Wipe Disk feature provided by MiniTool Partition Wizard to destroy all information saved in one disk permanently, and these destroyed data cannot be recovered by any data recovery solution, including data recovery companies and data recovery software.

Free Download

Now, we will show you how to wipe disk with MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Step 1: Launch the software to enter its main interface.

Step 2: Select the disk and choose Wipe Disk from the context menu to continue.

choose Wipe Disk to continue

Step 3: Choose one of the wipe methods and click OK to continue.

click OK to continue

Step 3: Returning to the main interface, click Apply to confirm these changes to continue.

click Apply to confirm the changes

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How to Recover Data after Mistakenly Formatting?

Last but not least, we want to how to recover data after mistakenly formatted.

As we know, since formatting just eases the address tables instead of the data, we can recover lost data if we mistakenly format a drive. MiniTool Partition Wizard can also help you to find the lost data back if you have mistakenly formatted the hard drive with the Data Recovery feature.

However, MiniTool Partition Wizard Free can only help you to recover 1GB data. If you need to recover more files, you need to purchase the MiniTool Partition Wizard Pro Ultimate edition.

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And now, we will show you how to recover data if you have mistakenly formatted a hard drive with this program.

Step 1: Launch the program to enter its main interface. Then click Data Recovery feature to continue.

Step 2: In the popup window, please select the drive formatted mistakenly and click Scan to continue.

select the hard drive and click Scan to continue

Step 3: When the scanning process is finished, you can see all the files you lost are listed here and you can check the files you want to save. Then click Save to continue.

check the files and click Save to continue

Step 4: Then you can decide where to save the recovered files and click OK to continue. It is recommended to choose an external hard drive.

When you have finished all the steps, you can successfully recover the files from the mistakenly formatted hard drive.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, we have introduced four methods to format a hard drive and one way to format a hard drive for Mac. If you need to format a hard drive, try these methods.

And if you have any problem about MiniTool Partition Wizard, please feel free to contact us via the email [email protected].

HDD Formatlama FAQ

???? How do I format a HDD?
To format a hard drive, you can complete it in the Disk Management. Right-click the partition you want to format and choose Format… to continue. In addition, you can also format the HDD with the partition manager – MiniTool Partition Wizard, which can help you to format hard drive with ease.
???? Is formatting a hard drive bad?
Formatting the hard drive will not give rise to damage to the hard drive or cause hard drive to run slower. If you need to format a hard drive, try it.
???? How do you format a hard drive in Windows 10?

To format a hard drive, here are 4 available ways. You can format a hard drive via diskpart, Disk Management, File Explorer and third-party tool.

In Disk Management, right-click the volume you want to format and choose Format… to continue.

???? Does formatting a HDD erase everything?
Formatting a hard drive will delete everything on the hard drive but it is not erase data since the deleted data can be recovered. If you want to erase data on the hard drive, you can choose to wipe the disk.
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