Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Windows7ge

How to Format Storage Devices in Windows 10

Recommended Posts

Posted · Original PosterOP

 Introduction

Spoiler

Whenever you buy a new storage drive be it a HDD, SSD, Thumb Drive, etc these devices need to be partitioned and setup with a File System before the host Operating System can use them, Some of these devices come with File Systems on them or perhaps you received the drive 2nd hand and you want to wipe it clean or an application you have requires a different File System. This Guide will cover a variety of included applications in Windows that will enable you setup your storage.

 

1. Formatting via Disk Management

Spoiler

Disk Management is a GUI (Graphical User Interface) utility for managing connected storage. To get to it right-click on the Start button then click on Disk Management from the pop-up menu.

 

disk_mang_start_menu(edited).png.26c9e40e63403c0925cc216191c9f09f.png

 

1.1 - Deleting Old

Spoiler

When stating with a drive that has a pre-existing configuration you can delete the volume(s) on the drive by right-clicking then going to Delete Volume...

 

disk_mang_del_vol(edited).png.dcee7f3222690ec891a1bbd452620d3f.png

 

It's going to let you know that this will cause you to lose all the data within it. If you're sure that this is OK the hit Yes.

 

Additionally with all volumes removed you can convert the drive between MBR and GPT by right-clicking to the left of the Unallocated space:

 

disk_mang_convert_gpt(edited).png.2217721dfb72c83418bc7e0aad2c31bd.png

 

  • GPT (GUID Partition Table)
    • Allows the creation of partitions >2TB in size.
    • Allows the creation of up to 128 partitions on a single drive.
  • MBR (Master Boot Record)
    • Limited to the creation of partitions <2TB in size.
    • Limited to the creation of up to 4 partitions on a single drive.

If you're not sure which to use GPT is generally the better of the two.

 

The drive is ready for partitioning.

 

1.2 - Creating New

Spoiler

When starting with a drive that has no configuration information Disk Management will automatically prompt you to pick a Partition Scheme:

 

disk_mang_new_disk(edited).png.07a8ff3fc063c763ce05e85a0b70cf29.png

 

Depending on what hardware/software version you're working with will determine which version is better for your setup.

  • GPT (GUID Partition Table)
    • Allows the creation of partitions >2TB in size.
    • Allows the creation of up to 128 partitions on a single drive.
  • MBR (Master Boot Record)
    • Limited to the creation of partitions <2TB in size.
    • Limited to the creation of up to 4 partitions on a single drive.

If you're not sure which to use GPT is generally the better of the two.

 

After this to create a new volume right-click on the Unallocated space on the new drive then New Simple Volume...

 

disk_mang_new_simple_volume(edited).png.36d4b6df6c01661a5a9938115eb71afc.png

 

This will start you through the New Simple Volume Wizard.

 

disk_mang_new_simple_volume_wizard(edited).png.53c4e13346cf0e6c3479aa4cdb941a10.png

 

Now choose the size of the new volume (in MB). The default will create one large Volume that fills the drive:

 

disk_mang_specify_volume_size(edited).png.422a3a604e577279c6bcb4434b4957dd.png

 

Next pick a Drive Letter or Mount Point:

 

disk_mang_assign_drive_letter(edited).png.89b4fc55837636719636d0c1b65ce4a1.png

 

Now it's time to choose your:

  • File System
    • NTFS (default) | exFAT
      • Of the two NTFS is usually better.
  • Allocation unit size
    • 512 | 1024 | 2048 | 4096 | 8192 | 16K | 32K | 64K | 128K | 256K | 512K | 1M | 2M
      • If you don't know what this is it's typically best left alone.
  • Volume label
    • How the drive will be labeled under This PC
  • ☑️ Perform a quick format
    • The quick argument is optional and is the difference between a quick format and a full format. The difference here being writing over all the sectors with zeros or just claiming they're available for use. For most scenarios or when using an SSD/thumb drive using the quick argument can help preserve the storages useful lifespan. For older HDD's which have previously been filled with data a full format (omitting the quick argument) may be preferred.
  • Enable file and folder compression (Optional)

disk_mang_format_partition(edited).png.06d5686f30249db446c67ed1f5b84099.png

 

Now verify the configuration is correct before finishing:

 

disk_mang_verify_config(edited).png.4aacb478db0b5e4498885914b2dafa10.png

 

Press Finish and Disk Management will create your new Volume, format it, mount it, and label it:

 

disk_mang_config_finished(edited).png.b2a8386db645e0fe0e5b6645e950bc90.png

 

The drive is now ready to use and will appear under This PC:

 

cmd-this-pc(edited).thumb.png.e47b1fddea6a4ed404dfeac18c1258fa.png

 

 

 

2. Formatting via This PC

Spoiler

This PC or File Explorer is a navigation utility built into Windows for the purpose of managing files, folders, and application. Under This PC it can also be used to partition current, or on occasion new drives.

 

this_pc(edited).thumb.png.ad662ea5f10c6550737ef6d12dbdecaa.png

 

2.1 - Deleting Old or Creating New

Spoiler

The process here will work weather you are formatting an existing drive or starting with a brand new one. Circumstantially a drive may appear under This PC as a drive with a Drive Letter but no usable capacity:

 

this_pc_new_drive(edited).thumb.png.0bc38c001e867c1f02e89fadfaaa14e0.png

 

This is typically a drive which has a mounted partition but no File System.

 

You can format the partition with a File System in one of two ways. The first, Windows may automatically prompt you that this drive's partition needs formatting with a message:

 

this_pc_format_disk(edited).png.1386a96feb6b46fc31a0732613cced2a.png

 

The second, (which will also work with pre-formatted drives) right-click on the drive and go to Format...:

 

this_pc_format_disk2(edited).thumb.png.1bcee685d79ae721876c96560750dcdc.png

 

Both methods will bring up the following menu:

 

this_pc_format_menu(edited).png.10b2cffe02a36b465840875f8343cad8.png

 

From this menu:

  • Allocation unit size
    • Typically best left alone unless you know you need it modified.
  • Volume Label
    • Will label the drive and display it's name in This PC.
  • ☑️ Quick Format
    • Recommended for Solid State Storage or HDD's that are new or don't have much data on them.

 

Then just click Start. Click OK, and the partition will be formatted and mounted with a Driver Letter.

 

It's now ready for use.

 

 

3. Formatting via Command Prompt (CMD)

Spoiler

The Command Prompt or CMD is a command-line application included with Windows. This tool serves a variety of administrative and troubleshooting functions by entering commands or creating and executing batch files.

 

To get into CMD click on the Start Menu and type CMD. From the pop-up menu right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.

 

cmd-run-as-admin(edited).png.8c8411db04b0d6a3fa82af2a0fce4769.png

 

You will be prompted by User Account Control that you need to allow Windows Command Processor to make changes to the system. Accept this.

 

cmd-user-access-control(edited).png.c92ae4b0b5d8e7493ebc19f1c6311d7e.png

 

After this CMD with Administrator level permissions will pop-up.

 

cmd(edited).png.0ed4aa75ae1618d9eea4991f6adfe544.png

 

From here we want to enter DISKPART. This can be done with the command:


diskpart

 

diskpart(edited).png.ff3df432fc405f5f9fc2b88b3c6d4d35.png

 

DISKPART is a command-line disk management utility that can be used to create, delete, or otherwise manage volumes and partitions on the system drives.

 

To show the available system drives use the command:


list disk

list-disk(edited).png.ba5412c7badf4110a1e53c5dc7932a3e.png

 

Make sure you note down the Disk ###.

 

To select one of them:


select disk [#]

select-disk(edited).png.11d7921cb22a044dcb33e8341bbf9f8e.png

 

What you do next is dependent on the state of the drive you're looking to format.

 

3.1 - Deleting Old

Spoiler

In the event that the drive is old or came pre-formatted it can be wiped with:



clean

NOTE: This will make all the data currently on the drive no longer accessible or usable without the assistance of data recovery software. Make sure all important data is backed up prior to formatting.

 

cmd-clean(edited).png.0dedc8e780070953d99f249d8c37799e.png

 

Next-up creating a new partition.

 

3.2 - Creating New

Spoiler

Assigning the drive a Partition Table can be done with one of the following commands:



convert gpt
convert mbr
  • GPT (GUID Partition Table)
    • Allows the creation of partitions >2TB in size.
    • Allows the creation of up to 128 partitions on a single drive.
  • MBR (Master Boot Record)
    • Limited to the creation of partitions <2TB in size.
    • Limited to the creation of up to 4 partitions on a single drive.

If your system supports GPT it is the better of the two options. If not MBR is the alternative.

 

convert-gpt(edited).png.9dcd3b0404f37d61ac4ccd473cce512e.png

 

To create your partition you can use the command:



create partition primary

This will create one large partition.

 

create-partition-primary(edited).png.30ca6ffbcd2f13594e4b676da368509f.png

 

If you need to limit the size of the partition you can use the command:



create partition primary size=[#]

This will create a partition equal to the size specified in MB.

 

To format the partition use the command:



format fs=[FAT32|NTFS|ReFS] [quick]

The quick argument is optional and is recommended for Solid State Storage or HDD's that are new or don't have much data on them.

 

format-fs-ntfs(edited).png.1fccce94ce866908466e1a15014b2ae2.png

 

Now to assign the partition a Drive Letter:



assign

assign(edited).png.365dea1b1ae9c051e25a815d5a71ee70.png

 

The drive should now report under This PC with a drive letter.

 

cmd-this-pc(edited).thumb.png.e47b1fddea6a4ed404dfeac18c1258fa.png

 

 

 

4. Formatting via PowerShell

Spoiler

PowerShell is a administration system management and task automation utility with support for it's own scripting language. PowerShell comes included with the Windows Operating System and acts as a more functional Command Prompt.

 

To get into PowerShell right-click the Start Menu and select Windows PowerShell (Admin).

 

start-menu-right-click(edited).png.20dedf35e7473042b543a6c3e82e8754.png

 

You will be prompted by User Account Control that you need to allow Windows PowerShell to make changes to the system. Accept this.

 

 

user-account-control(edited).png.8f74597542112b7876feb1ce8438bd4e.png

 

After this a Windows PowerShell with Administrator level permissions will pop-up.

 

powershell(edited).png.3fc763c1172cbbed7bdab53c12509acb.png

 

Now list your connected drives with:


Get-Disk

 

get-disk(edited).png.9e70dd9e668d7cb1e44876ecdf7500d6.png

 

Note down the Number associated with your disk. What you do next is dependent on the state of the drive you're looking to format.

 

4.1 - Deleting Old

Spoiler

If you need to wipe a drive that has an existing configuration:



Get-Disk [#] | Clear-Disk -RemoveData

NOTE: This will make all the data currently on the drive no longer accessible or usable without the assistance of data recovery software. Make sure all important data is backed up prior to formatting.

 

clear-disk(edited).png

 

The drive is ready for partitioning. You can verify this by re-running Get-Disk and seeing that the Partition Style reports as RAW.

 

Now on to Creating New.

 

4.2 - Creating New

Spoiler

With PowerShell Initializing, Partitioning, Formatting, & Mounting can all be done with one command:



New-Volume -DiskNumber [#] -FileSystem [NTFS|ReFS] -FriendlyName [Label] -DriveLetter [Letter]
  • -DiskNumber
    • This will be populated with the Number you got from the Get-Disk command.
  • -FileSystem
    • NTFS
      • The current format used by most Windows computers. Has some compatibility with other platforms. 
    • ReFS
      • The latest format available on Windows computers. Exclusive to Windows.
  • -FriendlyName
    • This is what will be reported next to the drive under This PC.
  • -DriveLetter
    • This is what the partition will be mounted as and how it will appear on the system for you to use. To find a Drive Letter that isn't in use you can use the command:
      
      
      (Get-PSDrive).Name -match '^[a-z]$'

      This will show you all the drive letters that ARE in use. Pick a letter that isn't on the list.

  • -Size [# Bytes|KB|MB|GB|TB] (Ex. -Size 100GB)

    • This is optional and isn't included in the above command but you can specify the Size of the volume to be created. Without specifying a Size the new volume will simply fill the drive.

With your command assembled for your setup you can enter it to configure your drive.

 

powershell-config-drive(edited).png.509fc9b0031322b6622fa14dc25e374f.png

 

Once this is done you will see the drive mounted under This PC.

 

this-pc-powershell(edited).png

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×