One of the most common questions we get before installing Windows on our system is, "Can I format the hard drive at the time of installing Windows?" But we always get stuck at this point because we don't know the right answer. There could be varied reasons for cleaning the whole hard drive while installing Windows. For instance, some may want to remove malicious programs, while others may do this to enhance the system's performance, etc.
Here's your answer. Windows lets us format the hard drive during the installation process. But, for that, you should know the correct steps; otherwise, it can cause trouble during installation. Here in this article, we've answered this question in detail. We've also shared some easy ways to format the target hard drive for a new Windows installation. So, let's move ahead and get the right answer.
Can You Format a Hard Drive During Windows 11/10 Installation?
You can clean the entire hard drive while installing a new Windows. During the installation process, you'll be asked whether you want to install Windows with previous settings and data or just want to install Windows. You must choose the Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) option on that page to reach the Format option. Once you do this, you'll be able to clean the target hard drive.
Here are some methods to format the hard drive before and during the installation of new Windows.
1. Format Hard Drive Before Installing Windows: There's a way to format the hard drive before installing the new Windows. For that, you can use the EaseUS Partition Master tool or any third-party tool that fits your needs better.
2. Format Hard Drive During Windows Installation Using Custom Option: One way to format the hard drive during the Windows installation is to choose the Custom option on the "Which type of installation do you want?" page. You'll get this page during the installation process.
3. Format Hard Drive While Installing Windows with Diskpart Command Line: The last method to clean the hard drive while installing a new Windows is using the Diskpart command. You need to execute some simple commands in the Command Prompt utility.
If you haven't started the Windows installation yet, we then suggest using Method #1. Using Method #1, you can format the hard drive before the new Windows installation. We usually recommend users use this method, as it's pretty easy and quick. Also, all methods mentioned in this guide are reliable and working. You can freely refer to this guide and follow any of the mentioned methods.
Further Reading: Format Hard Drive from BIOS Windows 10
Applies to: Windows Beginners
You've decided to use this method, which means your system is working fine, and you haven't started installing a new Windows yet. Before installing Windows, we recommend backup the current Windows data. So, you can access the previous Windows content anytime, even after installing the new Windows.
To format the hard drive before installing the new Windows 11 or below, you've to use a third-party free partition manager that supports disk formatting. When it comes to formatting the hard drive, we always recommend users use the EaseUS Partition Master. EaseUS Partition Master allows us to format any hard drive partitions, including the C drive, without issues.
Step 1. Run EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the hard drive partition you intend to format and choose "Format".
Step 2. In the new window, set the Partition label, File system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3/EXT4/exFAT), and Cluster size for the partition to be formatted, then click "OK".
Step 3. Then you will see a warning window, click "Yes" in it to continue.
Step 4. Click the "Execute 1 Task(s)" button to review the changes, then click "Apply" to start formatting the partition on your hard drive.
What Else You Can Do with EaseUS Partition to Prepare for Windows Installatoin?
- If the disk space seems insufficient for installing the latest Windows 11, you can then it to increase the disk partition with unallocated resources.
- You can also convert MBR to GPT disk for Windows 11, also, with a GPT disk, you can create multiple partitions, even more than four.
- With this software, you can learn how to clone a hard drive Windows 11 or duplicate your partitions to another on your own.
- This tool has almost covered you for everything from wiping hard drive partitions to merge them with other partitions.
- It is compatible with almost all versions of Windows, such as Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, and Windows 7.
You should download the Ease Partition Master tool and give it a shot.
Applies to: Experienced Windows Owners
During the installation process, we get the Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) option that lets us select on which partition we want to install a new Windows. Once we choose the target hard drive, it allows us to format the partition while installing the new Windows. You can follow the below-mentioned steps carefully to format a particular partition of your hard drive.
Note: The steps below apply to the users installing Windows using the bootable USB flash drive. If you're using the DVD or another device to install Windows, you need to change the boot order settings in BIOS. In that case, you can refer to this guide as it demonstrates the same with ease. Please follow all the steps carefully.
Step 1. You must first start the PC with the bootable Windows USB flash drive.
Step 2. Then, press any key on your keyboard to continue to move to the installation setup.
Step 3. Now, click Next and then click on the Install now option.
Step 4. Next, click on the "I don't have a product key" option, which you can add later.
Step 5. After that, select the Windows edition which matches your Windows license key.
Step 6. Now, tick the "I accept the license terms" checkbox and click on the Next button.
Step 7. You need to select the Custom now: Install Windows only (advanced) option from the given options.
Step 8. After that, select the partition on which you want to install the new Windows and format it.
Step 9. Once the partition is selected, click on Format and then click on the OK option to format the selected hard drive.
Applies to: Advanced Windows Users and Administrators
The last method to format the hard drive while installing Windows is with the Diskpart command line. Diskpart commands helps you view and manage your computer's hard drives. You can easily format the hard drive using the Diskpart command. We suggest following the below-mentioned steps to format the hard drive using the Diskpart command.
Step 1. On the Windows installation screen, press the Shift + F10 key combination and hold it until the Command Prompt window pops up.
Step 2. Now, type diskpart in the Command Prompt and press the Enter key on your keyboard.
Step 3. After executing the above command, type list disk and press Enter to view all the disks on your system.
Step 4. Now, type select disk [number of the disk] in Command Prompt to select the hard drive.
Step 6. Type clean in the console to format the selected hard drive and press the Enter key on your keyboard.
Step 7. Now, type create partition primary in the Command Prompt, and press the Enter key to create a new partition to the existing drive.
Step 8. After that, format the drive by typing format fs= NTFS in CMD because most computers use NTFS storage these days.
Step 9. Then, type assign in the Command Prompt and press the Enter key to assign a new letter to the new partition.
Step 10. You can now exit the window and continue the Windows installation.
Fortunately, Windows allows us to format the hard drive while installing a new Windows. In this article, we shared three methods to format the hard drive's partitions while installing Windows. But, one of the easiest ways is to format the drive before installing the newer version of Windows. You can use the EaseUS Partition Master tool to format your drive and install the new Windows. We recommend trying this tool as it's perfect for hard drive formatting.
FAQs About Formatting Hard Drive During Windows Installation
Here in this article, we talked about formatting hard drives while installing Windows in detail. In case you still have doubts, we've answered common questions in this section. Please check all the questions in this section to find answers and clear all your doubts.
1. Does Installing Windows 10 Format the Hard Drive?
Installing the new Windows doesn't clear the system's data. However, it provides options to clear the before installing the Windows and at the time of installing Windows.
2. Do All Drives Get Formatted When I Install New Windows?
No, not all the drives get formatted while installing Windows. Windows will only reset the selected hard drive and won't touch other hard drives.
3. Can I Format C Drive While Running Windows
You can't format the C drive of the running Windows because Windows is installed on the same hard drive. However, there are some tools like EaseUS Partition Master that helps you format the primary hard drive.
How Can We Help You
About the Author
Cici is the junior editor of the writing team of EaseUS. She accepted the systematic training on computers at EaseUS for over one year. Now, she wrote a lot of professional articles to help people resolve the issues of hard drive corruption, computer boot errors, and disk partition problems.
Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.
I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy. Read More
Partition Master Free can Resize, Move, Merge, Migrate, and Copy disks or partitions; convert to local, change label, defragment, check and explore partition; and much more. A premium upgrade adds free tech support and the ability to resize dynamic volumes. Read More
It won't hot image your drives or align them, but since it's coupled with a partition manager, it allows you do perform many tasks at once, instead of just cloning drives. You can move partitions around, resize them, defragment, and more, along with the other tools you'd expect from a cloning tool. Read More