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How to Initialize a Hard Drive/SSD in Windows 10/8/7

Updated on Dec 04, 2018 by Abby Haines to Partition Manager

Summary:
This page tells you how to initialize a hard drive or SSD in Windows 10/8/7 using disk management, Diskpart commands, and a third-party partition tool. Try these solutions when you get a brand new hard drive or SSD or get errors like 'Disk Unknown Not Initialized' or 'You must initialize a disk before Logical Disk Manager can access it'.

When Do You Need to Initialize a Hard Drive/SSD

1. Got a brand new hard drive or SSD but it is not showing up in File Explorer.

When you plug a new blank hard disk drive (HDD) or solid state disk (SSD) to your PC running Windows 10/8/7 but don't see it in File Explorer, you might need to add a drive letter or initialize it before using it. 

2. Get error "Disk Unknown Not Initialized"

Sometimes, you may get "Disk 1 is unknown, not initialized, unallocated" when you are trying to access a hard drive or SSD. When this issue occurs in Windows 10/8/7, you may need to find a way to initialize the disk for proper use. 

3. Get error "You must initialize a disk before Logical Disk Manager can access it".

When you connect the HDD/SSD to your computer but find it doesn't show in My Computer/This PC, you may see this error message when going into Disk Management to check what's up. To fix this matter, you need to initialize a disk and format it with a file system to start using it.

Warning
Initializing a disk that has already got files on it will result in the loss of all the data stored. If you have to proceed with the initialization, you can try EaseUS Todo Backup Free to back up the HDD/SSD at a fast speed and recover the backup to anywhere secure.

How to Initialize an SSD/HDD on Windows 10/8/7

If you encounter one of these cases mentioned above but don't know how to deal with it, please don't worry! This page shows you how to initialize a hard drive or SSD in Windows 10/8/7 by using a third-party free partition tool, disk management or Diskpart commands respectively. 

Method 1. Using EaseUS Partition Master Free 

Download and launch EaseUS Partition Master Free on your computer by clicking the button below.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

Step 1: Download the software

Download EaseUS Partition Master. Connect the hard drive or SSD to PC.

Step 2: Initialize your HDD/SSD

Right-click the target HDD or SSD and select "Initialize to MBR" or "Initialize to GPT" accordingly.

Fig 1. Initialize to MBR:

initialize to mbr

Fig 2. Initialize to GPT:

initialize to gpt

Step 3: Apply the operation

A pending operation of initializing disk to MBR or GPT disk will be added. Execute the operation and click "Apply".

click apply to start

After the initialization, all the disk space remains unallocated and so still impossible to be used for program installation or file storage. To be able to use the MBR or GPT disk, you can continue using EaseUS free Partition Software to make partitions and set the file system. 

Method 2. Using Disk Management

Step 1: In Windows 10/8, press "Windows + R" key, type "diskmgmt.msc" and click OK to launch Disk Management. In Windows 7, right-click Computer and then select Manage option to run Disk Management.

Step 2: Find and right-click the hard drive or SSD you want to initialize, and then click "Initialize Disk". If the disk is listed as Offline, first right-click it and select Online.

initialize HDD/SSD in disk management

Step 3: In the Initialize Disk dialog box, select the correct disk to initialize. And then click OK to accept the default partition style, or you can change the partition style (GPT or MBR) as you want.

Method 3. Using Diskpart Commands 

Step 1: Open the Start Menu, type diskpart, press Enter.

Step 2: Type these commands if you want to initialize the disk to MBR/GPT, and press Enter after each command.

list disk >  select disk # > convert MBR/GPT.

Step 3: If you would like to continue to create the primary partition on the MBR disk directly, you can run the following commands.

list disk > select disk # > clean > create partition primary > format quick fs=ntfs > assign > exit.

Step 4: If you need to create the primary partition on the GPT disk, please use commands below.

list disk > select disk # > clean > convert gpt > create partition primary > format quick fs=ntfs > assign > exit.