How Do You Format a Disk?


Quick Answer

To format a hard drive in Windows 7, access the Disk Management section via the Computer Management utility, locate the disk you wish to format, and choose the Format option from the context menu. Specify the parameters regarding the file system and allocation unit size, and initiate the process.

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Full Answer

Access the Run dialog box by pressing R while holding down the Windows key, type “compmgmt.msc” in the field, and click OK. Select the Disk Management option in the Storage section, right-click on the desired disk, and select the Format option. Once the Format window appears, enter a new name for the disk in the Volume Label field, and choose the desired file system. If you’re formatting a smaller disk and don’t need to store files larger than 4 gigabytes, choose the FAT32 option. For larger disks, choose the NTFS option.

If you have no need for a custom allocation unit size, set the value to Default. Uncheck the box next to the Perform a Quick Format option to ensure that the formatting process checks for errors. Click OK when ready, and wait until Healthy appears in the Status section. The downside of this process is that it doesn’t work for system drives. To format a disk that contains system files, insert the Windows 7 installation disc, back up any files if necessary, initiate a clean installation, and format the C drive while going through the process.

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