How to Format Hard Drive in Windows 10 [5+ Fixes]

Jean updated on Sep 10, 2020 to Partition Master | How-to Articles

On this page, we'll show you how to format hard drive in Windows 10, wipe a hard drive, and guide you through the process, making your drive ready for storing data, installing Windows, or other purposes. 

How to Format a New Hard Drive in Windows 10
How to Format an Internal/External Hard Drive in Windows 10
How to Reformat or Wipe a Hard Drive in Windows 10
How to Recover Formatted Hard Drive Data without Backups
Format Hard Drive FAQs

Formatting is an essential step before you start using a new hard drive, an internal or external hard drive on Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista. Whether you are using Windows 10 or old Windows 7, check out how to format a hard drive or an external hard drive on your own now.

Windows 10 Hard Drive Format Overview

People might need to format a hard drive or an external hard drive in Windows 10 for various reasons. Here is a list of reasons or let's call it benefits that explains why people intend to format their hard drives, external hard drives, USB or SD, etc., storage devices:

  • Format new hard drive before usage
  • Format to change a hard drive file system for some specific purposes
  • Format a hard drive for a clean installation of the Windows system
  • Reformat or wipe a hard drive to erase data, such as restoring the full capacity of a disk

However, only a few people know how to get the job done correctly. In the following, we'll introduce you to format a new hard drive in Windows 10, format internal/external hard drive, and how to reformat or wipe a hard drive on your own. 

During the process, you may need to use Windows Disk Management, Windows File Explorer, Windows DiskPart, and even a third-party partition manager, etc., for help.

As formatting will delete all the data on the hard drive, make sure that you have backed up your files to another safe place before Windows 10 disk formatting. 

How to Format a New Hard Drive in Windows 10

Applies to: Format brand new hard drive or external hard drive on Windows 10.

Requested Tools: ①. New HDD/SSD or external HDD; ②. Connection cable - SATA Cable, power cable, or USB 3.0 connection cable; ③. Format tool - EaseUS partition manager or Disk Management.

If you have a new hard drive or a new external hard drive, you'll need to initialize it first and create a new partition on it before you can format it. The reason is that a new hard drive doesn't have a partition, and as a result, it won't appear in File Explorer.

But you can use a third-party partition manager software like EaseUS Partition Master or Disk Management for help. Insert or connect your new hard drive to the computer, start initializing a new HDD/SSD and format it in Windows 10 now: 

Method 1. Initialize and Format a New Hard Drive using EaseUS Partition Master

Best for: Windows beginners

Advantages: Easy to operate

For most Windows beginners, Windows disk management is not user-friendly as the whole operating process is tricky for them. To help you quickly make the new hard drive usable again, here we suggest you try EaseUS Partition Master.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

It's efficient and easy. You can start to format your own new hard drive now:

First. Initialize New Hard Drive

Step 1. 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" according to your need.

initialize to mbr

Step 3. Click "Execute Operation" to keep the changes.

Next. Create Partition on New Hard Drive


Step 1. Launch EaseUS Partition Master

On the main window, right-click on the unallocated space on your new hard drive and select "Create".

Create partition on unallocated space

Step 2. Adjust the new partition size, file system, label, etc.

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

Set up new partition

Step 3. Confirm to create a new partition

Click on the "Execute Operation" button and confirm to create a new partition by clicking "Apply".

Confirm and keep all changes

Note that during the creating partition process, EaseUS Partition Master will automatically format the created partition, making it ready for usage immediately.

Method 2. Format New Hard Drive on Windows 10 using Disk Management

Best for: Experienced Windows users

Advantages: Free

To properly format a new hard drive, you need to be very careful while using Disk Management. To format a new hard drive using Disk Management, use these steps:

Step 1. Press "Windows + R" keys, type diskmgmt.msc and click "OK" to open Disk Management.

Step 2. Right-click the hard drive or SSD marked as "Unknown" and "Not Initialized," and select "Initialize Disk".

If the disk shows as Offline, first right-click it and select "Online".

initialize hard drive for formatting

Step 3. In the Initialize Disk dialog box, check the 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. 

  • Master Boot Record (MBR) is for hard drives smaller than 2TB in size.
  • GUID Partition Table (GPT) is for hard drives larger than 2TB in size.

Step 4. Find the initialized disk, right-click the unallocated space, and select the "New Simply Value" option. 

Step 5. Set up and format the created partition on the new hard drive.

Follow the on-screen instructions to set up volume size, drive letter, NTFS as the file system, and check the "Perform a quick format" option. 

format a new hard drive windows 10

Step 6. Click the "Next" > "Finish" button.

Depending on the size of the drive, it can take some time to finish. When the process completes, your new hard drive will be initialized, partitioned, and properly formatted. 

How to Format an Internal/External (Used) Hard Drive in Windows 10

Applies to: Format a used internal or external hard drive in Windows 10/8/7/XP, etc.

Requested Tools: ①. HDD/SSD or external HDD; ②. Connection cable - SATA Cable, power cable, or USB 3.0 connection cable; ③. Format tool - EaseUS partition manager, Disk Management, File Explorer, DiskPart.

If you have a hard drive or an external hard drive already organized with partitions, you can format the existing partition to remove its content and start fresh with a clean drive. We cover the three most popular ways to format a partition, like displayed below.

Keep your hard drive or external HDD connected to your PC and choose one method that works best for you to start formatting the disk on your now:

Method 1. Format Hard Drive in Windows 10 with EaseUS Management Software

Best for: All levels of Windows users, specially designed for Windows beginners

Advantages: Easy & 4-Step Formatting

EaseUS Partition Master is a popular disk partition management tool that is available for all hard disk managing jobs, such as to format disk partition, extend system partition, settle low disk space problem, convert MBR to GPT without data loss and vice versa.

It even works when you failed to do the Windows 10 disk format job or can't format hard drive with other Windows formatting tools.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

Video Tutorial to Format HDD/SSD in Windows 10

Step-by-step Guide to Format Hard Drive/External HDD in Windows 10


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

Repeat the whole process to format all existing partitions on your hard drive one by one.

Method 2. Format Windows 10 Hard Drive Partition using File Explorer

Best for: Windows beginners

Advantages: Free

Another easy way is to use Windows File Explorer to format a working hard drive or external hard drive on your Windows PC. Here are the steps:

Here, we'll take formatting an external hard drive as an example to show you the formatting process.

Step 1. Press "Windows key + E" to bring up the Windows Explorer.

Or you can click and open up the "Computer" in Windows 7 or "This PC" in Windows 10.

Step 2. Right-click on the connected external hard drive or internal hard drive partition and select "Format".

Step 3. On the format window, select the desired file system - NTFS for your device.

Step 4. Check "Quick Format" and click "Start".

format SD card using file explorer

After this, click "OK" to confirm and finish the formatting. If you have several partitions created on your hard drive, repeat the whole process till you cleaned all the partitions.

Method 3. Format Hard Drive with Windows Disk Management

Best for: Experienced Windows users

Advantages: Free

Windows 10 offers users a built-in disk management tool to create, delete, extend, shrink, and format partitions. Here are the steps to format hard drive partition using Disk Management:

Step 1. Right-click on Windows icon and select "Disk Management".

Step 2. Right-click on the target drive or partition and click on "Format".

format hard drive windows 10

Step 3. Select the file system and set the cluster size.

Step 4. Click "OK" to format the drive.

Repeat the steps to format the rest partitions on your hard drive.

Method 4. Format Hard Drive with Diskpart in Command Prompt

Best for: Experienced users & administrators 

Advantages: Free

Unlike Disk Management and File Explorer, DiskPart Command Prompt does more than merely formatting disk. It also lets you do other more advanced operations on your computer.

Be careful with every step, as any false operation may cause serious results. Here are the steps to format hard drive partition using DiskPart Command Prompt:

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box in Windows 10, right-click on Command Prompt, and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 2. In the command prompt, type diskpart and press "Enter".

Step 3. Type the following command lines and hit Enter each time:

  • list disk
  • select disk + disk number ( for example, select disk 2) 
  • list volume
  • select volume + volume number
  • format fs=ntfs 
Click to copy

format sd card usign CMD

Repeat the process till you have formatted all exiting volumes on your hard drive. 

Step 4. Type exit and hit Enter to close the command window.

All the ways above can help you format a used hard drive or external hard drive in Windows 10. If you want a comprehensive solution that can help you manage your disk easily, we highly recommend you try EaseUS Partition Master. 

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

How to Reformat or Wipe a Hard Drive in Windows 10

Applies to: Clean up whole hard drive data by re-formatting or wipe hard drive at one time in Windows 10/8/7.

Requested Tools: ①. HDD/SSD or external HDD; ②. Connection cable - SATA Cable, power cable, or USB 3.0 connection cable; ③. Hard disk wipe tool - EaseUS partition manager

Sometimes, people may want to re-format or wipe a hard drive so as to clean up existing data on the device thoroughly. Reformatting a hard drive indeed works but you have to repeat the formatting again and again.

In this part, we've collected an efficient way to help you wipe hard drive data, clear all existing data on the device at one time. 

Wipe a Hard Drive using EaseUS Partition Master

Best for: All levels of Windows users

Advantages: One-click to wipe a hard drive several times

Let's see how to wipe your hard drive easily at one time:

Step 1. Install and launch EaseUS Partition Master.

Select the HDD or SSD which you want to wipe. And right-click to choose "Wipe Data".

select wipe data

Step 2. Set the number of times to wipe data.

You can set to 10 at most. Then click "OK".

set the times

Step 4. Click "Apply" to apply the changes.

Click "Execute the operation" and then click "Apply" to start wiping data.

start wiping data

After this, you can restart your PC and use the hard drive like a brand new disk by then. 

How to Recover Data from Formatted Hard Drive

Data loss issue due to misformatting hard drive or formatting without backups occurs from time to time. Formatting doesn't erase the data on the disk, only removing the address tables.

However, without a data recovery tool, you cannot recover data from a formatted hard drive. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is capable of recovering lost data even if you accidentally format a disk without a backup.

This top-notch file recovery software enables you to quickly and simply restore lost data because of hard drive formatting, emptying recycle bin, partition loss, OS crash, virus attack, and more. You can even use it to recover permanently deleted files in only a few clicks.

Now, download this robust data recovery program and recover data after formatting hard drive. 

Step 1. Choose the partition.

Launch EaseUS formatted data recovery software after the installation. Choose the hard drive partition which you've accidentally formatted. Click "Scan".

select a partition and click scan

Step 2. Select wanted files.

After the scanning process, you can click "Filter" to filter a specific file type to quickly find wanted files.

select files

Step 3. Recover files to a secure location.

Select the data files you wish to recover. Click "Recover". Choose a location to store the files and click "OK".

recover files

Conclusion and Format Hard Drive FAQs

On this page, we covered comprehensive solutions to help you resolve formatting hard drive issues on your own. With the presented methods, you can easily format a brand new hard drive, format an internal or external hard drive, and even thoroughly wipe a hard drive in Windows 10. 

As for Windows beginners, we suggest you back up important data first, then apply a practical formatting tool like EaseUS Partition Master for help. 

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

We collected some top concerned questions and list answers here. If you have the same questions about hard drive formatting in Windows 10, check the following FAQs.

1. Can't format hard drive in Windows 10, how to fix?

When you can't format a hard drive in using Disk Management or file explorer, give EaseUS Partition Master a shot. It can directly resolve your issue with its Format feature.

You can also refer to Windows Was Unable to Complete the Format for further fixes. 

2. How do I format hard drive when the disk management format option greyed out?

When you are making hard drive maintenance with free disk management tools, you may encounter the issue - "Disk Management format greyed out".

You can't format a partition because the "Format" option is greyed out in Windows 10/8/7. To solve the "Format volume greyed out" issue, we have offered these solutions:

  • Restart PC
  • Format Hard Drive using Disk Management alternative, like EaseUS Partition Master
  • Run CMD to format hard drive

For a detailed guide, you may refer to "Format Option Greyed Out" for help. 

3. How do I format HDD or external hard drive to FAT32?

According to some game players, sometimes, they need to format a hard drive or an external hard drive to FAT32 for specific usage. However, the normal formatting way can't help.

When there is no FAT32 option in Windows 10 File Explorer or Disk Management, you can apply either the Windows CMD or the third-party partition manager - EaseUS Partition Master to format device to FAT32 in Windows 10/8/7. 

Turn to professional FAT32 formatting tools for help and format disk to FAT32 now. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

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Video Tutorial

How to Partititon a Hard Drive on Windows 10/8/7