How To Format An External Hard Drive
If you want to completely wipe out your data on an external hard drive, you need to know how to format an external hard drive. Formatting an external is easy to do. It requires no extra software besides the Windows operating system. This article will guide you step-by-step on how to format an external hard drive.
Things you'll need:
- External hard drive and corresponding USB cable
- Plug in your external hard drive. Most external hard drives these days are connected by USB cable. If you have a firmware cable hard drive, you will have to make sure you have the appropriate port for that. Otherwise, just plug in your hard drive and let Windows OS install the correct driver automatically.
- Go to "My Computer." My Computer is either under the Start menu or on your desktop. Right click and left click on "Manage."
- Look on the left hand side. Look at the bottom left column; there should be a tab that says "Disk Management." If not, click on the "+" sign of the storage tab. You should see "Disk Management."
- Left click on "Disk Management." Under the volume tab you should see an extra volume below (C:); that is your external hard drive volume. It will usually be E: or F:. Right click on that and left click on format.
- You will see a pop up box that says “Format.” Enter the volume label; you can name your external hard drive whatever you want. Choose a file system (the default is NTSF) and leave the allocation size as default unless you are an advance user and want to repartition it later.
- Click "OK." You will see a pop up window with some sort of warning, such as, “Warning: Formatting will erase all data on this volume. To format the volume, click OK. To quit, click Cancel.” Click "OK" to continue.
- Sit back and relax. Depending on the size of your external hard drive, formatting can go anywhere from a few minutes to hours.