Is It Possible to Format an External Hard Disk That Has Been Encrypted?

I used StorageCrypt to encrypt my Seagate 2TB hard drive. I cannot recover the data because the software employs 128-bit AES encryption, and I forgot the password. I want the hard drive to be fully erased. Can a hard drive that has been encrypted be formatted?

Best Answered by

Roxanne· Answered on Sep 26, 2023

If you want to format the encrypted external hard drive in Disk Management but forgot the password, you will receive an error message - The operation was incomplete because the media is write-protected. In this case, you need more professional software enabling users to format their encrypted disks without a password.

Way 1. EaseUS Partition Master

EaseUS Partition Master will give you absolute management rights on your external hard drives. You don't have to panic when you forget the encryption password. It offers a superb remedy for formatting your encrypted external hard drives to various file systems, such as NTFS and FAT32. Below is how it works in detail:

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

Note: This formatting operation will wipe all the data on your drive. Save and back up the important data is vital.

Step 1. Launch this software via the above button. Right-click the encrypted external hard drive you intend to format and choose "Format."

Step 2. Assign the Partition label, File system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3/EXT4/exFAT), and Cluster size, then choose "OK."

Step 3. Select "Yes" to proceed. And to format this disk, click "Execute 1 Task(s)" and then "Apply."

Read Also: How to Format BitLocker Drive/USB/SD Card With or Without Password

Way 2. Command Prompt

Command Prompt has higher privileges regarding disk management. Therefore, this Windows-based utility can assist users in decrypting and formatting hard drives as follows:

Step 1. In Windows Search, type "cmd" and then choose "Run as administrator" from the context menu of the Command Prompt.

Step 2. Write the following commands in the CMD window and press "Enter" after each line:

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk F (F replaces the disk number of the encrypted external hard drive). 
  • clean or clean all (delete all the data on the drive).
  • create partition primary (make a new partition on the external hard drive).
  • assign letter=M  (name a new drive letter to your drive)
  • format fs=ntfs quick or format fs=fat32 quick (set the file system for your drive).
  • exit (To quit this utility).

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