How to Format Hard Drive Windows 10 8 7 XP Vista

You may need to format your hard drive on Windows 10, 8, 7, XP, Vista. Formatting a drive means deleting information on the drive to set up a file system so that your OS can read and write data to it.

Though, formatting a hard drive might sound complicated but it’s not really difficult to format Windows 10, 8, 7, XP, Vista. This is the basic function all the OS possess and Windows make it pretty easy. The time required to format Windows 10, 8, 7, XP, Vista depends entirely on the size of the drive and overall speed of your PC.

Follow the steps below to perform format on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista:

  1. First, open Disk Management which includes hard drive manager with all Windows versions.

Note: In case of Windows 10 and Windows 8, the Power User Menu gives you the quick access to Disk Management. You can even open Disk Management via Command Prompt in any Windows version but opening it through Computer Management is easier if you are really quick with commands.

  1. Now open the Disk Management to locate the drive you want to format from the list

Note: If you don’t get the drive which you need to format from the list or if Initialize Disk or Initialize and Convert Disk Wizard window appear? Then it means you still need to partition the drive.

Tip: Formatting C drive or other drive where Windows is installed cannot be done from Disk Management or any where else on Windows.

  1. Once you locate the drive, right click on it or tap and hold the drive to format it

Choose the right drive to format it because once you start it you can’t stop a format without causing problems. So, if you are formatting a drive, double-check you have selected the correct drive and then check in File Explorer or Windows Explorer depending on your version of Windows the correct drive.

  1. In the Volume label: textbox, you can either give a name to the drive or leave the name as it is. If this is a new drive, Windows will assign the volume label New Volume.

Note: I recommend you to give a name to the drive so that it will be easier to identify in the future.

  1. For File system: Opt for NTFS file system unless you have a specific need to choose another.
  2. Set the Allocation unit size: Always set allocation unit size to Default unless there’s a specific need to customize it.
  3. In case of Windows 10, 8, and 7, the Perform a quick format option is checked by default but I recommend unchecking the box so that “full” format is done.

Note: Quick format will format the drive faster than standard format but the benefits usually outweigh the short-term cost of the full format.

  1. The Enable file and folder compression option is unchecked by default and I recommend keeping it that way.
  2. Click on OK at the bottom of the window.
  3. Then tap OK for the message stating”Formatting this volume will erase all data on it. Back up any data you want to keep before formatting. Do you want to continue?”
  4. Now, the hard drive format begins and you can keep track of the drive in the Status field by watching the Formatting: xx% progress in the Status field.
  5. The format is complete when the Status changes to Healthy, which happens a few seconds after the format counter reaches 100%. (Windows just displays the drive format is complete.)
  6. Now, you have formatted, or reformatted your hard drive and you can now use the drive to store files, install programs, back up data…

Formatting just deletes data but doesn’t always erase it…

Formatting a hard drive on Windows system does not mean erasing entire data from the. In fact, it doesn’t erase anything at all. Only the index entries of the files from the File Allocation Table will be erased and as a result you cannot access those files. You can still recover Windows hard drive after format using hard drive recovery tool in few simple steps.