EaseUS Partition Master

A simple partition tool to manage disk space in Windows 10

How Long Does It Take to Format a Hard Drive? Hard Drive Takes Forever to Format Fixes

Updated by Cedric on Dec 30, 2020
Written by Jean

Top 4 Fixes for a Hard Drive Taking Forever to Format

When you're running into an unlikely finished disk formatting problem in a Windows PC, stop for a while, and pick up the four viable solutions. You can fix hard drive taking forever to format easily.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Use a Format Utility Connect the drive if it's an external one to the computer where EaseUS Partition Master...Full steps
Fix 2. Delete and Create Partitions On EaseUS Partition Master, right-click on the hard drive partition which you want to delete...Full steps
Fix 3. Format via a SATA Use a proper USB cable for connection would help get rid of the formatting...Full steps
Fix 4. Check Bad Sectors Download EaseUS Partition Master and install it. Right-click the disk that you want to check...Full steps

Help! Format Hard Drive Takes Too Long

Case 1 - "Hi, I got stuck at formatting a 500GB Seagate external hard drive in Windows 10 and need your help. How long does it take to format a 500GB hard drive? It seems that my hard drive takes forever to format. Is there a faster way to format the drive instead of the typical Windows way?"

Case 2 - "Hi, I have a hard drive (an HGST 500gb with 7200RPM) connected with a SATA to USB cable. After 2,5 hours of waiting to be formated (not the quick format), I canceled the procedure. Is it too long or is it my idea? Is there a faster way to format the drive instead of the typical windows way(right-click on the drive in my computer-properties, format)? Thanks in advance!"

format hard drive takes a long time

Also read: SSD Taking a Long Time to Boot in Windows 10

How Long Does It Take to Format a Hard Drive

Speaking of formatting a hard drive in Windows Explorer or Windows Disk Management, there is no set time to tell how long it will take to complete. However, the process bar should never cease, not hanging there and even not responding.

For your information, you can always format a hard drive within minutes or half an hour, depending on the hard drive capacity and used space on it. As estimated, to do a "full format" on a 1TB hard disk in Windows, it will take a long time, like 2- hours, and over a USB 2.0 connection, it may take a day! In contrast, to do a "quick" format is much faster, usually several minutes.

Why is your hard drive taking forever to format? One of the most common reasons is that you forget to tick the "quick format" option when you don't want a full format. Another reason that makes format taking a long time is that your hard drive has a bad sector. You can solve the hard drive taking forever to format with four useful tips.

how long does it take to format a hard drive

Also read: How Long Does Windows 10 Update Take

Fix 1. Use a Third-party Hard Drive Format Utility

Learn carefully from the do-it-yourself ways of troubleshooting hard drive that takes too long to format in the Windows operating system on a computer or laptop, with the help of EaseUS Partition Master. 

This free partition manager does well in managing hard disk partitions by resizing, deleting, formatting, creating, and many other features that wait for you to explore. 

Highlights:

  • Adjust partition space with easy steps
  • Combine partitions without losing data
  • Convert to GPT or MBR in Windows 10/8/7
  • Clone a hard drive to another one to replace disk

Steps to format a hard drive or SSD with EaseUS Partition Master:

Step 1. Connect the drive if it's an external one to the computer where EaseUS Partition Master Free is installed. 

Step 2. Run EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the hard drive partition you intend to format and choose "Format".

Step 3. In the new window, set the Partition label, File system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3), and Cluster size for the partition to be formatted, then click "OK".

Step 4. Click the "Execute Operation" button in the top-left corner to review the changes, then click "Apply" to start formatting the partition on your hard drive.

Fix 2. Delete Partitions and Create New Ones Instead of Formatting

If using a Windows alternative method still fails to shorten the formatting time, don't be upset, continue using the EaseUS Partition Master, let's try the other workaround. Many users stuck in the same situation solved the problem by deleting the available partitions on the hard disk and creating new ones.

Steps to delete and create partitions:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Partition Master on your computer. Which partition do you want to delete? Right-click on it and choose "Delete...".

Make sure that you've backed up the important data on the selected partition because this manner will compeletely erase data there.

delete partition step 1

Step 2. Click "OK" to confirm the deletion.

delete partition step 2

Step 3. Click "Execute xx Operation" on the top menu and then click "Apply" to save the change.

delete partition step 3

Steps to create new partitions:

Now the partition or partitions should become unallocated space, to use it normally to store data, just create a new partition and give a proper file system on it with the EaseUS software.

Step 1. On the main window, right-click on the unallocated space on your hard drive or external storage device and select "Create".

Step 2. Set the partition size, partition label, drive letter, file system, etc. for the new partition and click "OK" to continue.

Step 3. Click the "Execute Operation" button at the top corner and keep all changes by clicking "Apply".

Fix 3. Format via a SATA Cable Connection

If the problem is with an external USB hard drive, perhaps trying to plug it out from your computer, use a proper USB cable for connection would help get rid of the formatting trouble. Good luck.

format a hard drive via sata cable connection

Fix 4. Check Bad Sectors for Your Hard Drive

If there is a bad sector on your hard drive, your format process could take a long time. To figure out if there is a bad sector, you can run EaseUS partition software again. Let's see how it works:

Step 1. Open EaseUS Partition Master. Right-click the disk that you want to check, and then click "Advanced" > "Surface Test".

choose disk to make surface test

Step 2. The operation will be immediately performed and all bad sectors will be marked as red. 

wait for the process to check your sectors

After locating the bad sector on your external drive, you can subdivide the bad sector into an independent unallocated space or use other tools to repair bad sectors.

Conclusion

At last, we hope that you've rectified the problem without hanging on a formatting process anymore. For those whom we didn't help on this page, please make more efforts other than the mentioned four fixes.

Format HDD Taking Forever FAQs

1. Why does it take so long to format a hard drive?

  • One of the most common reasons is that you forget to tick the "quick format" option when you don't want a full format.
  • The other reason is that the scan for bad sectors is the reason why the Full format takes twice as long as the Quick format. Bad sectors that are not located can cause damage to the hard drive.

2. How long should formatting a hard drive take?

For your information, you can always format a hard drive within minutes or half an hour, depending on the hard drive capacity and used space on it. As estimated, to do a 'full' format on a 1TB hard disk in Windows, it will take a long time, like 2- hours, and over a USB 2.0 connection, it may take a day!

3. Does a quick format erase all data?

A quick format doesn't erase data to make data unrecoverable. It just "deletes" data and you can recover these data as long as these data are not overwritten.

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is one of the senior editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. He mainly writes articles about data recovery tutorials on PC and Mac and how-to tips for partition management. He always keeps an eye on new releases and likes various electronic products.

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Written by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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Product Reviews

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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All-round disk & partition management software for personal and commercial use. Let it manage your storage drive: resize, format, delete, clone, convert, etc.

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