How To Reformat External Hard Drive
Do you need to learn how to reformat an external hard drive? It's easier than you think and we'll show you how. When you reformat an external hard drive, you permanently delete all data stored on that drive. The computer will re-configure the way files are stored on the external hard drive file system. The format process allows the computer to overwrite previous data and that action is permanent. If you choose to reformat your external drive, be aware that there is no simple 'undo', and that all data on that drive will destroyed. Be aware that when you reformat an external hard drive, you don't actually delete the information from the drive. If you have sensitive data, such as personal finance and credit card information, use a secure-delete application before you reformat the external hard drive.
To reformat your external hard drive, you will need:
- The external hard drive you wish to reformat
- A computer with a Microsoft Windows Operating System
- A USB cable to connect the external hard drive to the Windows computer
How to reformat an external hard drive in few easy steps:
- Connect external drive. Connect your external hard drive to your computer. Most external drives use USB cables. Make sure the cable is connected properly. If your external hard drive uses an external power source, be sure that you connect it to AC power and wait for the external hard drive to power-on.
- Enable external drive. If your external hard drive has its own power source, turn it on, by pressing the power button. If your external hard drive is powered by the USB cable, the drive will turn on automatically.
- OS loads driver. Windows may take a moment to load the driver for your external hard drive. You will see a quick message saying your hard drive was successful installed. If you see an error message, point Windows to the driver that came with the external hard drive and install it.
- Find drive in Windows. Click on the 'Start' menu and locate 'Computer' on the upper right hand side. Click on 'Computer' and a window will open and show all connected hard drive. This list includes your internal hard drive, or hard drives, and the external drive.
- Identify external drive. Local disk is your internal drive. Do not format this drive or you will lose all your data. Look for your external hard drive. If you have more than one internal disk, be sure that you will only reformat the external hard drive and not any other drive.
- Prepare to format. Find the external hard drive. Right click on the external hard drive. A menu will open and close to the middle you will find the command 'Format'. This is the Windows command that we will use to reformat the external hard drive.
- Select Format options. Click on 'Format'. In the 'File System' option leave the default NTFS or select it from the drop don menu. Do not change the 'Allocation unit size' . If you want to give the external hard drive a new name, enter it under 'Volume label'. Under 'format options', leave the check mark next to 'Quick format', and this will reformat the external hard drive quickly and efficiently.
- Reformat the drive. Click on 'Start'. The computer will format the external drive and the data will no longer be available to you. Wait a few moments and the hard drive will appear clean and empty again. Note that format does not remove all your data in a secure manner. With special software, your data can be retrieved and used again. Therefore, if you need secure deletion, look for applications that do so, prior to reformatting the external drive.