Asked by: Abdeldjalil Lindgens
technology and computing data storage and warehousing

What is the best way to format an external hard drive?

Last Updated: 12th June, 2020

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Method 1 On Windows
  1. Plug your hard drive into your computer. Insert thedrive's USB cable into one of the thin, rectangular slots inyour computer's casing.
  2. Open Start. .
  3. Open File Explorer. .
  4. Click This PC.
  5. Click external hard drive's name.
  6. Click the Manage tab.
  7. Click Format.
  8. Click the "File System" box.

Click to see full answer.

Keeping this in view, what is the best format for external hard drive?

Choosing the Right Format for Your External HardDrive

  • NTFS. If you own a Windows computer, the hard drive in yoursystem is probably running the NTFS format, which stands for NewTechnology File System.
  • HFS+ As mentioned before, Macs can only read NTFS-formattedhard drives by default.
  • APFS.
  • FAT32.
  • exFAT.
  • Reformat.
  • How to Reformat in Mac.
  • How to Reformat in Windows.

what happens when you format an external hard drive? When you format the hard drive or deletesome files manually, the files are actually not deleted. Theoperating system simply marks that area as deleted so that it canbe overwritten easily. The formatted external hard drivewill not show any files on your screen but they may still beavailable for use.

Keeping this in view, do you have to format an external hard drive?

Most external hard drives come formattedwith the FAT file system, which makes the drive compatiblewith multiple operating systems. As such, the drive isimmediately usable out of the box. However, if you do notintend to change the file system, a format is notnecessary.

How do I format an external hard drive on Windows 10?

To format an external drive in Windows:

  1. Plug your drive into the computer and, if necessary, into awall outlet.
  2. Open Windows Explorer, click the "Computer" section in thesidebar, and find your drive.
  3. Right-click on the drive and choose "Format."
  4. Under "File System," choose the file system you want touse.

Related Question Answers

Feodor Siefken

Professional

Should I format exFAT or NTFS?

NTFS is ideal for internal drives, whileexFAT is generally ideal for flash drives. Both of them haveno realistic file-size or partition-size limits. If storage devicesare not compatible with NTFS file system and you don't wantto limited by FAT32, you can choose exFAT filesystem.

Garoafa Deis

Professional

Should I format my hard drive to NTFS or fat32?

If you need the drive for a Windows-onlyenvironment, NTFS is the best choice. If you need toexchange files (even occasionally) with a non-Windows system like aMac or Linux box, then FAT32 will give you less agita, aslong as your file sizes are smaller than 4GB.

Chengjun Marroig

Professional

Is exFAT slower than NTFS?

The NTFS file system consistently shows betterefficiency and lower CPU and system resource usage when compared tothe exFAT file system and the FAT32 file system, which meansfile copy operations are completed faster and more CPU and systemresources are remaining for user applications and other operatingsystem tasks

Maris Glezerman

Explainer

What's the difference between exFAT and NTFS?

exFAT is optimized for flashdrives—designed to be a lightweight file system like FAT32,but without the extra features and over head of NTFS andwithout the limitations of FAT32. Like NTFS, exFAThas very large limits on file and partition sizes., allowing you tostore files much larger than the 4 GB allowed byFAT32.

Suhail Belosludtsev

Explainer

How do I format an external SSD?

Step 1: Press "Win+R" to open "Run" box, and then type"diskmgmt.msc" to open Disk Management. Step 2: Right click theSSD partition (here is E drive) you want to format.Choose "Format". Step 3: You can change settings in thepop-up window, such as label the partition, change file system,perform a quick format.

Tita Urraco

Explainer

What is the best format for a USB stick?

Best File Format for USBDrive
By default, the file system for any external USBdevice will be set to FAT. You can click on the drop down andchoose from a couple of file systems: NTFS, FAT, FAT32, and exFAT.By default, most people end up just going with FAT and there's agood reason why it's set as the default.

Claudemir Verdera

Pundit

How do I format my external hard drive for Time Machine?

Step 1: Format the Drive to “Mac OS Extended”Compatibility
  1. Connect the external hard drive to the Mac.
  2. Launch Disk Utility, found in /Applications/Utilities/
  3. Select the external hard drive from the drive list on the left,then click the “Erase” tab.

Oto Grosskurth

Pundit

How do you reset your hard drive?

Method 2 Formatting a Second Hard Drive inWindows
  1. Press ⊞ Win + S . This opens the Windows search bar.
  2. Type management .
  3. Click Computer Management.
  4. Select Disk Management under “Storage.” It's in theleft column.
  5. Right-click the disk you want to reset.
  6. Click Format.
  7. Click Yes.

Kymberly Mezquida

Pundit

What is quick format?

A Quick Format is quick. To make theformatting process quick, the drive is not checkedfor bad sectors. Anyone looking at the hard drive or storage devicewould not see any data and assume the drive is erased. A FullFormat runs an additional step that checks the hard drivefor any bad sectors.

Ferencz Undabarrena

Pundit

Does formatting a drive delete everything?

Formatting the hard drive is a bit moresecure than simply erasing the files. Formatting a diskdoes not erase the data on the disk, only the addresstables. However a computer specialist would be able to recover mostor all the data that was on the disk before thereformat.

Maier Lladro

Pundit

Does formatting a USB erase it?

Format USB flash drive without erasing orlosing data. If you need to perform a low-level format, itcan only be done by professional Low-level formatting tools.Since low-level formatting will not only destroy allexisting data but also will cause damage to the storagedevice itself.

Emidio AzaƱedo

Teacher

Can formatting a hard drive damage it?

No, unless the hard drive is already bad.Formatting the hard drive several times willnot cause any additional problems with the hard drive orcause the hard drive to run slower. If anything, the harddrive should run faster after it is formatted and thesoftware is reinstalled.

Waled Medikonda

Teacher

Why is formatting needed?

Why is formatting important? Formatting isimportant for two reasons: It makes your essay look like an essay(rather than a letter or a note to a friend). It helps to make youressay more readable.

Estebania Stedronsky

Teacher

What does it mean to format an external hard drive?

To format a drive (hard disk,floppy disk, flash drive, etc.) means toprepare the chosen partition on the drive to be used by anoperating system by deleting all of the data1 andsetting up a file system. That's why we often say "format adrive" when in reality, you're formatting a partitionon the drive

Yasyn Waehner

Teacher

How can I repair my external hard drive without formatting?

1How to Fix RAW External Hard Drive without Formatting inCMD
  1. Step 1: Connect the RAW external hard drive to your PC.
  2. Step 2: Click Start button and search "commond", thenright-click one it and afterward press Run As Administrator.
  3. Step 3: Type in Diskpart and then press Enter.

Ginesa Bornstein

Reviewer

How do I set up an external hard drive?

Part 2 Installing an External Hard Drive onWindows
  1. Find your computer's USB port.
  2. Plug one end of the external hard drive's cable into the USBport.
  3. Plug the other end of the cable into your external harddrive.
  4. Open File Explorer.
  5. Click This PC.
  6. Right-click your external hard drive's name.
  7. Click Format.

Nuta Quedenbaum

Reviewer

How do you partition an external hard drive?

  1. Attach your external hard drive to your computer via the USBcable and turn on the device.
  2. Press the "Start" button, type "diskmgmt.msc" and press"Enter."
  3. Right-click the existing partition on the external hard drive,select "Delete Volume" and choose to remove the partition.

Erika Meincken

Reviewer

How do I format my external hard drive to fat32?

Please make sure you have back up the files.
  1. Right click [Computer] then click [Manage.]
  2. Click [Disk Management]
  3. Choose your USB Drive, right click the mouse and choose[Format]. Click [Yes].
  4. Name the Drive and select the file system as [FAT32].
  5. Click [OK]. Click [OK].
  6. You can find the format is FAT32.

Hosnia Mouchoo

Reviewer

How do I wipe my hard drive clean and reinstall Windows?

Press the Windows key plus the "C" key to openthe Charms menu. Select the Search option and type reinstallin the Search text field (do not press Enter). On the left side ofthe screen, select Remove everything and reinstall Windows.On the "Reset your PC" screen, click Next.