How to Format C Drive in Windows 10/8.1/8/7

Jean updated on Nov 05, 2019 to Partition Manager | How-to Articles

About Disk Formatting

According to Wikipedia, "Disk formatting is the process of preparing a data storage device such as hard disk drive, solid-state drive, floppy disk or USB flash drive for initial use." Formatting a drive will erase all the existing content on the device, therefore, if you have important files on the partition or storage device, back them up before the format. Generally, formatting a disk for use by an operating system and its applications typically involves three different processes.

The high-level formatting creates the file system format within a disk partition or a logical volume. Hence, when it comes to formatting a C drive, it's related to the high-level formatting.

Can You Format the C Drive in Windows 10

"Can I format the C drive to install Windows 7?"
"Can I format the C drive to reinstall Windows 10?"

The answer is both "Yes" and "No."

Why can't you format the C drive in Windows 10? The C drive is where the Windows operating system locates. To format C means that you erase the operating system and other information on the C drive, or the primary partition using Windows. How can you expect Windows to erase itself? Therefore, you can't format the C drive within Windows 10 or any other versions of Windows. When you attempt to format the C drive, which contains the operating system that is currently running, you will receive a prompt saying, "You can not format this volume. It contains the version of Windows that you're using. Formatting this volume could cause your computer to stop working", as shown in the image below.

you can not format this volume

The good news is that there are still ways to format a C drive that contains the operating system. As long as you can boot your computer from another operating system with the formatting abilities, you can get it down quickly.

Whether to Format the C Drive or Not

But wait a second. Is it really necessary to format the C drive on a computer?

According to information from pre-sales consulting, the primary purpose of users to erase an old operating system is to leave room for the new OS installation. That's unnecessary. When you reinstall Windows on the disk that has an OS, you have to format the disk. That is to say, the format will occur during the operating system installation. Thus, if you intend to format the C drive for Windows installation, it's needless to format the system drive in advance.

Yet there are always some expectations. What if you have to format the C drive to wipe your hard drive and to erase all your system information, settings, files, and programs on that partition? There are four choices for you:

  • A Windows setup disk or flash drive  (for Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista)
  • A system repair disc (for Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7)
  • Recovery Console for (Windows XP)
  • Partition tool (for Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista or Windows XP)

How to Format the C Drive in Windows 10

Among the four available choices, let's choose the most straightforward method to start, which is to use the partition tool - EaseUS Partition Master. With this software, you don't need the Windows installation disc or tools alike. The process to format a C drive using EaseUS partition management tool is:

  • Create a bootable disk with EaseUS Partition Master installed
  • Boot the computer from the bootable disk
  • Format the C drive using EaseUS Partition Master
Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

Procedure 1. Create a Bootable Disk

Download EaseUS Partition Master to create a bootable disk. The WinPE bootable disk allows you to access your hard drive outside the current OS.

Step 1. Connect or insert the USB/CD/DVD to your computer and launch EaseUS Partition Master.

Step 2. Click the "WinPE Creator" option in the top right corner of the interface.

Step 3. Check "USB" or "CD/DVD" according to the media you connect to the computer.

Step 4. Wait for the process to complete.

create WinPE bootbale media

Procedure 2. Boot the Computer from the Bootable Media

Step 1. Restart your computer and press the BIOS key (depending on the computer you use, it could be F2, F8, the Delete key...) to enter BIOS.

Step 2. In BIOS, set to boot the computer from the bootable USB/CD/DVD.

Procedure 3. Format the C Drive Using EaseUS Partition Master

After the startup, your computer will boot into a system with EaseUS Partition Master installed. Now your computer is using another operating system with formatting abilities. You can format the C drive with ease.

 

Step 1: Run EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the hard drive partition you intend to format and choose "Format".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

Step 2: 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".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

Step 3: Then you will see a warning window, click "OK" in it to continue.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

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.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, formatting a C drive is unnecessary if you want to do it for installing Windows because the OS installation requires you to format the disk during the process. If you have to format the C drive on your computer, there are several options for you. The easiest one is to create a bootable media with software like EaseUS Partition Master. A bootable USB/CD/DVD enables you to format the target OS from another OS effortlessly. Hope the guide is helpful to you.

 
 

100% of people found this article helpful.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose EaseUS Partition Master?

"I've used Partition Master Professional many times to create, delete, format, move, rename, and resize partitions."PCWorld

"Partitioning tools have come a very long since the days of complicated command line utilities and EASEUS Partition Master is one of the most advanced programs available."TECH ADVISOR

"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."Lifewire

Will the "Migrate OS" feature transfer the Windows system files only or the whole C drive?

To ensure that the migrated system will boot normally, the Migrate OS feature will transfer all the files in the system and the boot partitions. Generally, the boot partition is the C drive so the transfer will include all the files in C.

Does EaseUS Partition Master license apply to multiple computers?

The license of Partition Master Professional and Server editions can be used on 1 computer only, while that for for the Technician and Unlimited editions can be used on multiple machines.

What is the difference between EaseUS Partition Master Trial version and the Free version?

Free is for home users only, with most basic functions available such as partition resize and clone. While trial can help you understand how this product works and test what a full license can do on a business or server OS machine.

Will it cause any data loss after resizing the partition in EaseUS Partition Master?

Generally, it will not cause any data loss or boot issue by resizing a partition. However, in order to protect your data, we suggest that you backup the partition before resizing, in case of any unexpected situations such as power outages, computer hardware failures, etc. You can use EaseUS Todo Backup to backup the partition and its trial version is fully functioned for 30 days.

What should I prepare before resizing the partition?

On the partition that is going to be operated, there might be some files being occupied by other programs. To ensure a successful operation, we suggest that you close all the unnecessary software before resizing that partition. Otherwise, EaseUS Partition Master will detect the partition being locked by the other software and require a reboot to resize the partition under boot mode.

About EaseUS Partition Master

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