How to Format External Hard Drive Windows 10? [Answered 2022]- Droidrant (2023)

If you want to convert an external hard drive into a FAT32 file system, you need to use the Diskpart tool. This tool will help you initialize your disk in online conditions, and format it for file saving. To do this, you must select the drive letter that matches the type of file system you want to use. Then, click Next. You can format the external hard drive as FAT32 or MBR, depending on your preferences.

Depending on the size of the drive, you may need to make several steps to format it properly. First, launch the Disk Management tool. This tool will list all your drives and have a great deal of information. Make sure you maximize it to get the most out of the information it has to offer. After you open Disk Management, you’ll want to make sure you’re in the appropriate permissions. For example, you should be able to see how much space is available on your drive. You might also want to make a partition for the drive to store files.

Related Questions / Contents

  • Do I Need to Format a New External Hard Drive?
  • How Do I Wipe My Hard Drive For Reuse?
  • How Do I Force a Hard Drive to Format?
  • How Do I Fix Unable to Format?
  • Which is Better Quick Format Or Full Format?
  • Should I Format My Hard Drive to NTFS Or exFAT?
  • Should My External Drive Be exFAT Or NTFS?

Do I Need to Format a New External Hard Drive?

There are several reasons why you might need to format a new external hard drive in Windows. You can use it to install a clean Windows installation, remove malware, and delete files from the hard drive. If the file system on the external hard drive isn’t compatible with your current system, formatting it will remove all of the existing data. Therefore, you should back up your data before formatting your external hard drive.

In Windows, formatting a new hard drive is a crucial task. The computer’s speed and the size of the hard drive will all play a role in how quickly it can be done. When the formatting process is complete, Windows will not flash the “Your Format is Complete” message anymore, and the drive will show up in Disk Management as a healthy disk, with a new volume label and a % Free figure.

During the formatting process, Windows will also allow you to create a new partition or use the entire disk space available. Windows will also let you choose the drive letter. If you have an internal drive, your external hard drive will appear next to the internal one in the This PC window. Once you’ve selected the drive, open File Explorer and locate the new drive. If you’ve already stored important files on the new external hard drive, make sure you back up all of them first. You may want to backup your data before formatting it.

READ ALSO: How Do I Add Pdf As a Printer in Windows 7?

How Do I Wipe My Hard Drive For Reuse?

If you’ve ever thought about donating an external hard drive to a goodwill or charity, you may wonder “How to wipe an external hard drive for reuse in Windows 10?” While “wiping” a device is relatively simple, data from the external hard drive can still be recovered. This deception is often fueled by the fact that hackers are able to recover information from discarded hard drives. Many people believe that emptying the trash on their desktop is enough to delete all of the files they’ve stored on their external drive. But if you’re really interested in ensuring that your information is completely safe, you can use a third-party tool that will wipe the drive properly.

The DBAN tool will automatically wipe the data on an external hard drive, and it can also help you create bootable media. It can also wipe hard drives, including USB flash drives, and can be run under Windows 10 and 8.1. The software has 4 wiping methods and four strengths. To erase data safely, download the Unlimited Edition and use it on multiple PCs. If you’re unsure which one to choose, try AOMEI Partition Assistant.

How Do I Force a Hard Drive to Format?

In order to force a hard drive to format in Windows 10, you must first boot from a system repair disc. Next, open the Disk Management window and right click the block representing the drive. Choose the Format menu and click the Force quick format option. Type yes to confirm the format. The hard drive will be formatted. Then, reboot your PC. To force a hard drive to format in Windows 10, follow the steps outlined below:

First, you should back up your files before you start the formatting process. Normally, you cannot format the C drive. To prevent losing any data, you should first back up all of your files. Then, select “Format” on the formatting window that appears. Once the formatting is complete, you will see a confirmation message in the Disk Management window. Once the formatting process is complete, the new drive will appear in File Explorer.

How Do I Fix Unable to Format?

You’re experiencing an error message indicating that Windows is unable to format an external hard drive. If this error message keeps appearing on your hard drive, there are some things you can try to fix the problem. If the problem is specific to Windows, you can use a third-party formatting tool to fix the problem. If the error message persists, your storage device may be prone to damage.

First of all, check whether the external drive is write-protected. This protection prevents the disk from being read by a different PC. If this is the case, there is no way to repair it. In most cases, this problem is a result of a disk that is not accessible. Similarly, a disk that has write protection will not be able to be formatted. You will have to disable it first before you can format the drive.

READ ALSO: What are Windows 10 Filter Keys?

Next, try to format the external hard drive with the NTFS file system. This option is best if the external hard drive is larger. Although the process is lengthy, it is safer and effective. Open a command prompt window as an administrator and type the following: sfc / format. After you’ve typed the command, you should open the registry editor. If you’re not a Windows administrator, you need to run a command prompt as an administrator. Next, click on the NTFS partition and select “format”. Now, you’ll be prompted with a list of your disks. Make sure to select Disk 4 and hit enter.

Which is Better Quick Format Or Full Format?

You can choose between a quick format and a full formatting for your external hard drive depending on your needs. Quick format creates a new metadata structure on the drive but only affects a few sectors. Full formatting, on the other hand, accesses every addressable sector on the disk. Because of the on-the-fly error correction system used by current drives, a full formatting forces the hard drive to remap all bad sectors in one pass.

Quick format does not delete files, but it does remove bad sectors. It also takes longer than a full format. Quick format is a better option if your external drive is not in the best shape. While a full format deletes files and data from the drive, it is not a secure method. If you want to recover data from the external hard drive, you need to use a secure format.

Should I Format My Hard Drive to NTFS Or exFAT?

When it comes to your internal or external hard drive, whether you format it to NTFS or exFAT will depend on the type of data you want to store. Generally speaking, you’ll want to format your internal drive to NTFS, as it’s better for large file transfers, gaming, and other types of data. If you’re unsure, there are a few pros and cons to each format.

File systems allow computers to organize their data and store it in a manner that’s easy to find and access. NTFS and exFAT are both commonly used file systems in Windows, and have several pros and cons. NTFS is the most recent file system, and it supports a wide variety of features that FAT32 does not. It’s also a better choice for a Windows system drive than exFAT, which has many disadvantages.

READ ALSO: How to Change Brightness on Windows 10 Desktop?

Although NTFS is more compatible with older systems, exFAT is a more advanced version. Currently, exFAT is the format of choice for many external hard drives. It’s a popular choice among computer users because it offers fast read and write speeds across multiple operating systems. NTFS, meanwhile, provides security features and compression capabilities, while exFAT’s file system supports only one partition of 128 pebibytes. However, exFAT does not support journaling, which is essential for protection.

Should My External Drive Be exFAT Or NTFS?

You may be wondering: Should My External Hard Drive Be exFAT or NTFS? The answer depends on your needs and the software that you use. NTFS is known to be faster than exFAT, and it also requires fewer system resources. As a result, you’ll be able to use more resources for other tasks. ExFAT may, however, outperform NTFS on external hard drives, especially if you’re going to use the drive for gaming.

Windows computers typically choose NTFS as the default file system, because it’s a native Microsoft file system. Macs can use exFAT files, but they are compatible with Windows only. The exFAT file system requires Windows XP SP3 or later, and can take a few minutes to complete. On an external HD, you’ll want to choose the one that works best with your operating system.

While NTFS drives are compatible with Windows systems, they cannot be written to by Mac OS. There are third-party solutions that can help you with this. One of these solutions, called Paragon NTFS, costs less than $20 and is compatible with all Macs. If you’re not sure, consider paying a few extra dollars for a NTFS format converter. It may be worth the money.

Learn More Here:

1.) Windows Help Center

2.) Windows – Wikipedia

3.) Windows Blog

4.) Windows Central

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What do I do if my external hard drive won't format? ›

Based on the possible causes, there are six workable solutions to the problem "External hard drive not formatting":
  1. Remove the Virus.
  2. Update Hardware Driver.
  3. Run System File Checker Tool.
  4. Run CHKDSK.
  5. Format External Hard Drive via DiskPart.
  6. Delete the Partition and Recreate a New Volume.
Nov 30, 2022

How do I get Windows 10 to recognize my external hard drive? ›

  1. Right-click the Windows icon on the toolbar, then click Device Manager.
  2. Expand Disk drives, and locate your hard drive. ...
  3. Right-click your hard drive, then select Update driver.
  4. Click Search automatically for updated driver software, then follow the on-screen instructions.
Sep 21, 2022

How do I format my external hard drive to ExFAT Windows 10? ›

#2. Format to ExFAT with File Explorer
  1. Connect the USB or external hard drive to Windows PC or laptop.
  2. Open File Explorer and right-click the USB or external disk, select "Format".
  3. Set the file system as "ExFAT" and tick "Perform a quick format", click "Start".
Nov 28, 2022

How do I force an external hard drive to format? ›

Plug in the drive and open Windows Explorer. Right-click the drive and choose Format from the drop-down menu. Select the file system you want, give your drive a name under “Volume label,” and make sure the Quick Format box is checked. Click Start, and the computer will reformat your drive.

Should I format my external hard drive to NTFS or exFAT? ›

Q #2) What is the best format for a hard drive? Answer: NTFS (New Technology for File System) is the recommended format if you intend to use a drive on Windows operating system. However, if you want to use a storage device on both Windows and macOS, the best format is exFAT.

How do I fix a corrupted external hard drive without formatting? ›

How to Fix External Hard Drive without Formatting
  1. Type “windows security” in the Taskbar search box and press Enter.
  2. Select Virus & threat protection from the menu on the left.
  3. Select Scan options under Quick scan.
  4. Choose Full scan and click the Scan now button to check all files and running programs on your hard drive.
Dec 7, 2022

How do I fix unable to format? ›

“Windows was unable to complete the format” error solution
  1. Method 1. Scan your computer for malware.
  2. Method 2. Use the Command Prompt.
  3. Method 3. Use Disk Management.
  4. Method 4. Check and fix Disk Errors.
  5. Method 5. Disable write-protection.
  6. Final thoughts.
  7. Related Articles.

How do I completely format a hard drive? ›

Open Computer Management by selecting the Start button. The select Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management. In the left pane, under Storage, select Disk Management. Right-click the volume that you want to format, and then select Format.

How do I force my computer to recognize an external hard drive? ›

How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up Or Recognized on Windows 10/11
  1. Method 1: Connect to a Different Port.
  2. Method 2: Initialize the Drive.
  3. Method 3: Run a Troubleshooter.
  4. Method 4: Update or Reinstall Your Drivers.
  5. Method 5: Disable USB Selective Suspend.
  6. Method 6: Add or Change the Drive Letter.
Oct 5, 2022

Why is my hard drive not being recognized? ›

If your internal hard drive is not showing up, it might be because it is not initialized or it needs formatting. Ensure your disk is properly connected to the motherboard with the SATA cable. Due to some BIOS settings, your HDD might also not be visible in Windows 10.

How do I activate my external hard drive? ›

Connecting a hard drive to a computer is simple. Just plug it in, then turn the hard drive and computer on. USB and Thunderbolt connections are the most typical connections for external hard drives. There may be some that have FireWire or eSATA, but those are becoming obsolete.

Can I use exFAT instead of FAT32 for Windows 10? ›

So no, exFAT is not the same as FAT32 and was introduced as a replacement for FAT32. The most significant advantage of using exFAT is that there are practically no limitations on partition size, whereas FAT32 supports files up to 4GB and partition size is 8TB at the max.

Is exFAT good for external hard drives? ›

exFAT is a good option if you work often with Windows and Mac computers. Transferring files between the two operating systems is less of a hassle, since you don't have to constantly back up and reformat each time. Linux is also supported, but you will need to install appropriate software to take full advantage of it.

Does Windows 10 recognize exFAT? ›

Yes, ExFAT is compatible with Windows 10, but the NTFS file system is better and usually trouble free . . . It would be best to format that USB eMMC to fix whatever the problem with that is and at the same time, change the file system to NTFS . . . Power to the Developer!

How do I wipe my external hard drive Windows 10? ›

Here's how to use Disk Management to wipe a disk in Windows 10: Connect your external drive to your PC via a USB port. Then, press the Windows key + X and select Disk Management. Right-click the drive you'd like to wipe and select Format.

Will formatting fix a corrupted hard drive? ›

Yes, you can fix a corrupted hard drive by formatting it with a new file system. Logical hard drive corruption is often caused by a damaged or corrupted file system. Formatting the partition will correct this.

What is the best formatting for external hard drive? ›

Best Format for Sharing Files
  • The short answer is: use exFAT for all external storage devices you will be using to share files. ...
  • FAT32 is really the most compatible format of all (and the default format USB keys are formatted with).
Mar 22, 2017

Is exFAT supported by Android? ›

Android supports FAT32/Ext3/Ext4 file system. Most of the the latest smartphones and tablets support exFAT file system. Usually, whether the file system is supported by a device or not depends on the devices software/hardware.

Why should I not use exFAT? ›

exFAT is bad if you want to store a lot of very small files on it. E.g. a 500KB file will waste up to 12% of disc space because of the 64KB block size. Mainly pics and videos.

How do I manually repair an external hard drive? ›

1. Use CMD for external hard disk check
  1. Press and hold Windows icon and R keys.
  2. Input "cmd" and hit Enter in the pop-up window.
  3. Type "chkdsk f: /f " and hit Enter to begin the scan process.
  4. Upon completion, you can usually find the external hard disk errors fixed.

How do I know if my external hard drive is corrupted? ›

Common signs for a failing hard drive include sluggish performance, unusual noises (clicking or loud component sounds), and an increase number of corrupted files. These are textbook symptoms for the inevitably of a failing hard drive and action should be taken quickly to save your files from being lost.

What causes an external hard drive to become corrupted? ›

Hard drive data corruption can occur due to mechanical component issues, software errors or even electrical events. Serious data corruption is more likely with larger files than with smaller files, since larger files take up more physical space on a hard drive's platters.

How do I force a USB format? ›

Formatting Drives in Windows
  1. Insert a USB drive into a USB port.
  2. Open File Explorer.
  3. Click on This PC from the left pane.
  4. Under the "Devices and drives" section, right-click the flash drive and select the Format option.
  5. Use the "File system" drop-down menu and select the preferred option.

How do I force exFAT format? ›

If you want to format an external hard drive or USB flash drive in exFAT, you can follow these steps:
  1. Press and hold Windows key + x on your keyboard. This open the context menu.
  2. Select Command Prompt (Admin).
  3. Type format g: /FS:exFAT and then Enter to begin formatting the G drive as exFAT.
Apr 18, 2017

Does reformatting an external hard drive erase it? ›

Otherwise, formatting a hard drive using the quick format option (or an earlier version of Windows) will not actually erase all of its stored data. When you choose to format a hard drive, you are essentially only removing the pointers to the data as the partition table is either cleared or rebuilt.

Does a full format delete everything? ›

A full format erases any files from the disk, changes (or maintains) the file system and checks the disk for bad sectors. A full format takes significantly longer than a quick format. Windows supports both FAT and NTFS for both quick and full formats.

How do I fix an external hard drive detected but not accessible opening issue? ›

Sometimes, if the operating system doesn't support a specific file system, the device will not open. To resolve this issue, you can format the device to NTFS or FAT32 by using disk management or a free format tool.

How do I fix Windows 10 not detecting my hard drive? ›

Ways To Fix Hard Drive Not Detected
  1. #1) Check Hard Drive Cable Connection.
  2. #2) Initialize And Format Hard Drive.
  3. #3) Partition And Format Hard Drive.
  4. #4) Assign A Drive Letter For Drive.
  5. #5) Recover Data From Unallocated Hard Drive.
  6. #6) Run Hardware And Devices Troubleshooter.
  7. #7) Check For Driver Updates Manually.
Dec 5, 2022

How to initialize a hard drive? ›

How to Initialize Disk?
  1. Step 1: Right-click This PC from your desktop and go to Manage > Disk Management.
  2. Step 2: Right-click the Disk that says "Not Initialized" and click on Initialize Disk to make it working again.
  3. Step 3: In the "Initialize Disk" windows, you need to pick MBR or GPT as partition style for the Disk.

Do you need to format a new external hard drive? ›

Theoretically , All hard drives before use it should be formatted. Windows also would recognize the new drive and ask you if you want to format it. It should format to the same file system of your internal drive, such as NTFS, HFS+, FAT32, and exFAT.

How do I fix a corrupted external hard drive with formatting? ›

Method 2. Quickly Fix Corrupted External Hard Drive by Formatting It
  1. Connect the problematic external hard drive to the PC.
  2. Right-click the device and select Format.
  3. Set a new file system, NTFS or FAT, for the drive and click OK to finish the process.
Nov 23, 2022

How do you fix a hard drive that won't read without formatting? ›

How to Fix External Hard Drive without Formatting
  1. Type “windows security” in the Taskbar search box and press Enter.
  2. Select Virus & threat protection from the menu on the left.
  3. Select Scan options under Quick scan.
  4. Choose Full scan and click the Scan now button to check all files and running programs on your hard drive.
Dec 7, 2022

How do I force a command prompt to format a drive? ›

How to format disk using CMD:
  1. Right-click on the Windows icon, select "Search" and type: command prompt.
  2. Type diskpart in Command Prompt and hit Enter.
  3. Type format command lines in DiskPart and hit Enter each time so as to quick format the hard drive:
Dec 28, 2022

Is there a way to uncorrupt hard drive? ›

You can fix a corrupted hard drive by running the CHKDSK command in Command Prompt. Caution: The CHKDSK command known for scanning and repairing drive, allow to use /f and /r attributes to fix the corruption in the hard disk.

How do I reset all formatting? ›

Clear All Formatting
  1. Select the text with the formatting you want to clear.
  2. Select Home > Clear All Formatting. or press Ctrl + Spacebar.

How do I bypass formatting a disk? ›

How to fix the “you need to format the disk before you can use it” error
  1. Solution 1 – connect the disk to a different computer.
  2. Solution 2 – restart the computer and scan the device with antivirus.
  3. Solution 3 – change the drive letter.
  4. Solution 4 – disk repair utility.
  5. Solution 5 – reinstall the device driver.

How to fix a corrupted external hard drive without formatting using CMD? ›

How to fix an external hard drive without formatting?
  1. Press Windows Key + S and search for Command Prompt. ...
  2. Type CHKDSK E: /F /R /X and press Enter (replace “E:” with your own drive letter).
  3. When the scan is finished, you'll see a screen that details how many issues were found and resolved.

Which command is used to format the disk? ›

The format command is a Command Prompt command used to format a specified partition on a hard drive (internal or external), floppy disk, or flash drive to a specified file system.

Which external command file is required to use format command? ›

An external commands is format is an MS-DOS command that is not included in They require large requirements or are not commonly used commands. Format command is a command prompt common used to format a specified partition on a hard drive, flash drive, floppy disk, to specified file system.

How do I repair my hard drive using command prompt Windows 10? ›

Run CHKDSK from Command Prompt
  1. Type cmd (Command Prompt) in the Start menu search bar, then click Run as administrator.
  2. Type chkdsk and hit Enter. CHKDSK will scan for drive errors and let you know if it found any you should repair, but it won't try to fix them without a command.
Feb 17, 2022

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