Format hard drive in Windows 7, 8, 10 – Here’s how

You want to format a hard drive in your PC, maybe even the system disk or external? We tell you how you can do it in a few steps on Microsoft Windows - without the old command "format c:" in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10th

In the video we show you how you format your hard drive:
236461format hard disk under Windows

Below, we use the term hard disk also synonymous with SSD. While an SSD works differently than a hard disk drive (HDD), but both can be formatted in the same way.

Definition: What exactly is Formatting?


  1. What is formatting?
  2. Format c: - Do I need to command nowadays?
  3. Second hard drives & format external hard drives
  4. format hard disks that are not displayed in Windows
  5. System disk format / hard drive in the BIOS format

In our Photogallery you see step by step how you format a hard drive in Windows:

Start Photogallery(4 images)Windows: Hard disk format (illustrated guide)

Format c: &# 8211; HDD Format: What is it good?

There are several reasons to format a hard drive (either with or without format c :). Especially if you give away your hard drive, sell or want to pass on, but want to make sure that all data is deleted from the HDD or SSD, submits easy formatting is not always.

Although the files are not visible in Windows, but you can them with special programs often still recover (especially with hard drives).

Reasons for formatting:

  • You want to pass on the hard drive or sell and advance safely delete the data on it.
  • Windows / hard drive has become very slow and you want to format the system's hard drive and reinstall Windows.
  • You no longer need all the data on the hard drive and want to remove all at once.
  • You want to install a new operating system and format the system disk during the installation.
While there is the format c command: still, however, you no longer need him today as a private user.While there is the format c command: still, however, you no longer need him today as a private user.

Format c: - Do I need to command nowadays?

The command format c: one does not really need to format a hard drive. He comes from a time when the DOS operating system was still widespread. At that time there were still no graphical interface and commands had to be entered via a text menu.

Even today you can use on the command input from the command Windows yet. format c: Therefore, as the system board, is installed on the Windows, usually bears the letter c. Of course, the command works with other existing disks: format d: etc.

The principle of HDDs (left) and SSDs (right) is fundamentally different, but both can be formatted the same.The principle of HDDs (left) and SSDs (right), is different but both can be formatted in the same way.

Hard disk image from Shutterstock

Second hard drives & format external hard drives

Windows, the hard disk on which it is to be installed (system disk) can not be erased. Because that would be as if you want to disassemble a car while it is still running on the road. How you format a system disk, you experience below.

If its a hard drive, the system disk is not, want to format is as follows:

  1. Secures first all data that you still want to use their later, otherwise they will be lost!
  2. Opens the workplace or computer. If you have no computer icon on the desktop, look at this article to: Windows 10, 7, 8: Show desktop and desktop icons.
  3. Windows is here to all drives and hard drives of personal computers.
  4. Click with the right mouse button on the disk or the disk that you want to format and selects the entry format out.

    Windows: Here you can format the hard disk.Windows: Here you can format the hard disk.

  5. The following window opens:

    Formatting dialog in Windows.Formatting dialog of a USB stick.

  6. First, the storage capacity of the disc is displayed, then the file system. For smaller storage media, such as USB flash drives, this is FAT32, for larger drives such as hard disks, it is usually NTFS. Here usually nothing has to be changed, this also applies to the allocation unit size.
  7. Under Volumenbezeichung you can give the disk a name that is displayed in Windows Explorer (Computer), about Sarah's hard drive or Windows.
  8. A quick format is much faster, this is only the reference to the data is virtually deleted, but not the actual files themselves. So you should not choose the quick format if you want the data securely and permanently delete!
  9. Before embarking on her Start clicks: Note that the data is lost and restore with difficulty. You delete the data at your own risk. Read this: Restore a formatted hard drive &# 8211; the last resort.

Danger: If you get the error that Windows could not complete the format, look over here: Solution: Windows was unable to complete the formatting - fix bugs.

format hard disks that are not displayed in Windows

If you have installed in your PC a new hard drive, that does not appear in Computer / My Computer, can proceed her as follows:

  1. Presses the key combination Windows + R, to open the Run dialog.
  2. Is typing diskmgmt.msc and confirmed by the Enter key to open the Disk Management.

    Disk Management also shows & quot; quot hidden &; Hard drives.Disk Management also shows &# 8220; hidden&# 8221; Hard drives.

  3. Here all the disks appear as long as they function properly - even those that do not display the My Computer / Computer.
  4. If the new disk is shown in the graph from blue to black, click with the right mouse button and create a partition.
  5. Then you can format it here also.

System disk format / hard drive in the BIOS format

Hard drives can not really format in the BIOS (What is a BIOS?), But they can be virtually in DOS mode, ie without an operating system, format. The easiest way you format the system disk C with the installation CD of Windows or Linux:

  1. Backs up before all the data that you want to still use later!
  2. Pushes the installation CD into the drive and start the PC.
  3. Now follow the installation routine. Under certain circumstances, you have to change the boot sequence so that your PC will boot from the CD.
  4. Eventually you come to a window where you can specify the installation location: format-c-2
  5. Here you see your disk and choose can where Windows will be installed.
  6. If the space has not yet been assigned, that goes beyond the New button.
  7. Then you can format the hard disk. One should also do this if you want to use the old system disk for the installation.

Note: You can also install it on another hard disk and then format the old Windows system drive within Windows, as described above Windows.


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