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How to Format a Disk or Drive in Windows 10

information   Information
Format is the process of preparing a data storage device such as a hard disk drive, solid-state drive, or USB flash drive for initial use to accept Windows files.

You can select to use a FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, or REFS file system when formatting.

You can also select to do a quick or full format.
  • Full format - Files are erased (not overwritten) from the volume that you are formatting and the drive is scanned for bad sectors. The scan for bad sectors is the reason why the Full format takes twice as long as the Quick format.
  • Quick format - Files are erased (not overwritten) from the volume that you are formatting, but does not scan the disk for bad sectors. Only use this option if your hard disk has been previously formatted and you are sure that your hard disk is not damaged.

This tutorial will show you different ways on how to format a disk or drive in Windows 10.
warning   Warning
When you format a disk or drive, it will erase all data on the disk or drive.

CONTENTS:





Format Disk or Drive in Windows 10 OPTION ONE Format Disk or Drive in Windows 10
Format Disk or Drive in This PC

1. Open This PC in File Explorer (Win+E), and do either step 2 or step 3 below.

2. Right click or press and hold on the drive (ex: "D") you want to format, click/tap on Format, and go to step 4 below. (see screenshot below)

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3. Select the drive (ex: "D") you want to format, click/tap on the "Drive Tools" Manage tab, click/tap on the Format button in the ribbon, and go to step 4 below. (see screenshot below)

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4. Select the supported File system (FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, or REFS) you want to use for this drive. (see screenshot below)

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5. Select the supported Allocation unit size (aka: "cluster size") you want to use for this drive. Usually it is best to use the default allocation size. (see screenshot below)

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6. Type a Volume label you want for the drive. (see screenshot below)

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7. Check or uncheck the Quick Format box depending on if you want to do a Quick or Full format of this drive. (see screenshot below)

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8. Click/tap on Start, when ready to format this drive. (see screenshot below)

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9. Click/tap on OK to confirm. (see screenshot below)

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10. When format is complete, click/tap on OK. You can now also close the Format dialog. (see screenshot below)

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Format Disk or Drive in Windows 10 OPTION TWO Format Disk or Drive in Windows 10
Format Disk or Drive in Disk Management

Note   Note
You must be signed in as an administrator to use this option.

1. Right click on the Start button to open the Win+X menu, and click/tap on Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc).

2. Right click or press and hold on the disk or partition/volume (ex: "D") you want to format, and click/tap on Format. (see screenshot below)

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3. Type a Volume label you want for the drive. (see screenshot below)

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4. Select the supported File system (FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, or REFS) you want to use for this drive. (see screenshot below)

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5. Select the supported Allocation unit size (aka: "cluster size") you want to use for this drive. Usually it is best to use the default allocation size. (see screenshot below)

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6. Check or uncheck the Perform a quick format box depending on if you want to do a Quick or Full format of this drive. (see screenshot below)

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7. Check or uncheck (default) the Enable file and folder compression box for what you want on this drive. (see screenshot below)

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8. Click/tap on OK, when ready to format this disk or partition/volume. (see screenshot below)

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9. Click/tap on OK to confirm. (see screenshot below)

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10. When formatting is complete, you can Disk Management if you like. (see screenshot below)

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Format Disk or Drive in Windows 10 OPTION THREE Format Disk or Drive in Windows 10
Format Disk or Drive in Command Prompt

Note   Note
You must be signed in as an administrator to use this option.

1. Open an elevated command prompt or command prompt at boot.

2. Type the commands below one at a time into the command prompt, and press Enter after each command. Make note of the volume number (ex: "4") of the drive letter (ex: "D") you want to format. (see screenshot below)

diskpart

list volume

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3. Type the command below into the command prompt, and press Enter. (see screenshot above)

select volume <number>

Note   Note
Substitute <number> in the command above with the actual volume number (ex: "4") you want to format from step 2 above.

For example: select volume 4

4. Type the command below you want to use into the elevated PowerShell, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)

(Quick format)
format fs=<FileSystemType> label="<FriendlyNamel>" quick

OR

(Full format)
format fs=<FileSystemType> label="<FriendlyName>"

Note   Note
Substitute <FileSystemType> in the command above with the supported FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, or REFS) file system you want to use for this drive.

Substitute <FriendlyName> in the command above with the actual volume label (ex: "Local Disk") you want for this drive.

For example: format fs=ntfs label="Local Disk" quick
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5. When finished, you can close the elevated command prompt.






Format Disk or Drive in Windows 10 OPTION FOUR Format Disk or Drive in Windows 10
Format Disk or Drive in PowerShell

Note   Note
You must be signed in as an administrator to use this option.

To see more usage options for the Format-Volume command, see: Format-Volume - Microsoft Docs

1. Open an elevated PowerShell.

2. Type the Get-Volume command into the elevated PowerShell, press Enter, and make note of the drive letter (ex: "D") of the volume you want to format. (see screenshot below)

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3. Type the command below you want to use into the elevated PowerShell, and press Enter. (see screenshots below)

(Quick format)
Format-Volume -DriveLetter "<DriveLetter>" -FileSystem <FileSystemType> -NewFileSystemLabel "<FriendlyName>"

OR

(Full format)
Format-Volume -DriveLetter "<DriveLetter>" -FileSystem <FileSystemType> -NewFileSystemLabel "<FriendlyName> -Full"

Note   Note
Substitute <DriveLetter> in the command above with the actual drive letter (ex: "D") you want to format from step 2 above.

Substitute <FileSystemType> in the command above with the supported FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, or REFS) file system you want to use for this drive.

Substitute <FriendlyName> in the command above with the actual volume label (ex: "Local Disk") you want for this drive.

For example: Format-Volume -DriveLetter "D" -FileSystem NTFS -NewFileSystemLabel "Local Disk"
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4. When finished, you can close the elevated PowerShell.


That's it,
Shawn