How to format a Hard Drive Windows 10 (& others) and macOS?

how to format a hard drive 2020
Source: SweetWater

When it comes to storing all the critical data in a computer system, from movies to video clips, photos, excel files, we keep going without worrying about the storage limit. However, have you ever wondered where this data is directly saved? The answer is “Hard Drive.” hence, in order to delete all data in Windows P.C. or Mac, you must know how to format a hard drive?

To begin with, a hard drive is also known as HDD (Hard Disk Drive). It is an essential part of computer hardware that ensures to store everything you download on your system. More often than not, users confuse Hard Drive and Optical Drive. Hence, here’s a concise difference for you:

format HDD in windows 10
Source: Laptoping

By definition, Optical Drive is a hardware component that reads and allows the system to write/edit storage devices. For example, CD, DVD, and ROM(s). On the other hand, those mentioned above, a Hard Drive is a hardware component that directly stores data. Therefore, when you save any photograph, video, pages, etc., on your system, you can review them with an optical drive. Thus, in today’s world, both optical drive and hard drive work simultaneously. However, they are not substitutes. 

So, today in this reading, you can learn everything you need to know about Hard Drives in your Windows P.C. (s) and macOS system. You can also use this reading to safely format a hard drive without worrying about the aftermath of data. 

Before we go ahead, here are the reasons to format a hard drive. If any of the reasons seem related to your system’s situation, it is recommendable to practice “how to format a Hard Drive solution?” latter in this reading. 

When should you format a Hard Drive?

To begin with, it is essential to note that formatting a hard drive is not going to fix your computer issues that are somehow related to software. Furthermore, you can format a hard drive if you are engaging in the following tasks:

Data Removal

In the event that you want to erase 100% data saved in your system, you can format the hard drive. For instance, you want to sell your hard drive on eBay. You can remove all data for security purposes. More often than not, companies that donate their asset-based systems after years format hard drives in order to protect their data from misuse in the future. 

Storage Issues

Whether it is a Windows P.C. or Macbook, each system starts to encounter storage issues after a while. In this case, you can format your hard drive to give your computer a fresh start. It will resolve additional problems, such as:

  • Unable to download new applications
  • Cannot save original Microsoft documents in the system
  • Blundering performance

Operating System Upgrade

After five years or so, Microsoft and Apple carry out a new version of the operating system with several changes. Hence, in the event that you have Windows P.C. with the Windows 8 operating system, you can upgrade it to Windows 10. However, your data in the hard disk drive remains at risk. The reason being, data saved in Windows 8 supportive hard disk drives may contain broken files, malware, or virus-loaded software from unknown applications. 

how to format a hard disk drive
Source: TechZone360

Therefore, you should format the hard drive in order to prevent such files from ruining the performance of the newly upgraded Operating system.

File System Upgrade

Not many users are aware of the fact that different operating systems support other file formats. For example, Windows supports NTFS, OS X supports HFS+, and the list goes on. Thus, when you upgrade your files system, there are chances that the odd combination of file system and files may create a glitch. Hence, take a glimpse of how to format a hard drive?

How to format a Hard Drive Windows 10?

Windows Blog

Check out the following instructions to format a hard drive (windows 10). These instructions are for the External Hard Drive Formatting solution, which is usually used in 2020:

  • Insert your external HDD in your Windows 10 Laptop
  • Go to “File Explorer”
  • In the sidebar, click on the “External (F:)”
  • Right-click and a dropdown menu will appear.
  • Click on the “Format” alternative.
  • Format External (F:) will appear.
  • Observe the “File system” option
  • Under it, select the type of File system that you want to format in.
  • For example, choose “NTFS” if you have taken a backup for another Windows P.C.
  • Or, select “exFAT” if you want to transfer backup for a laptop with macOS.
  • Tick the “Quick Format” column
  • At last, click on the “Start” button.
  • Now, click the “OK” button.

How to format a HDD Windows 7?

  • Go to the Start Menu
  • Search for “RUN” option
  • Enter “diskmgmt.msc” 
  • A series of the option will appear
  • Click on the “Disk Management” option
  • Now, select the drive that you want to format
  • For example, NTFS or FAT32 file system
  • Tick the “perform quick format” option
  • Click on the “OK” button

For Windows 8/Windows XP/Windows Vista

how to format hard disk drive
Source: Wikipedia

Check out the following instructional guide to format a hard drive in a partition on Windows 8:

  • Go to the desktop
  • Press Windows+R key 
  • Type “diskmgmt. msc”
  • Windows 8 Disk Management will open
  • Right-click on the Hard Drive partition format option
  • Click on the “Format” option
  • Choose a file system as per your requirement (NTFS or FAT32)
  • Then, select the “format/start” button
  • Click on “OK”
  • Formatting will start soon

Note: We highly recommend you format a hard drive in Windows only after creating a data backup on Google Drive or iCloud. Otherwise, once you apply how to format a hard drive solution: all data will wipe out. It can further be very challenging to recover data after such rigid in-built formatting.

You can also use the instructional guide given above for formatting a hard drive in Windows XP and Windows Vista. If the given solution does not work for you, get in touch with us online. 

How to format a Hard Drive for MAC?

macOS comes with several types of disk, including Hard Disk Drive, Flash Drive, and SSD. You can use the following instructional guide to format a Hard Disk Drive on Macbook Air or Macbook Pro. 

  • Go to the “Finder”
  • Click on the “Applications”
  • Select the Utility option
  • Then, click on the “Disk Utility” alternative.
  • Or, directly go to Launchpad, and open the “Disk Utility.”
  • Now, click on the “view” option.
  • Then, select “Show All Devices.” 
  • Select the “Apple SSD… Media” option
  • Moreover, select the “Format.”
  • Click on the “Erase” button.
  • macOS may ask for an Apple ID password.
  • Securely enter the password.
  • Hard Drive removal will start soon.
  • Then, Restart your mac for secure performance.
2020 formatting disk drive
Source: TechRadar

Note: you can also process a partition-based Hard Drive Formatting by choosing the “Partition” option before Data removal. Apart from this, you can also directly remove data permanently in your macOS hard drive by formatting Macintosh HD and clicking on “Erase Volume Group.”

When should you format a Hard Drive for Mac?

  • Restore your MacBook completely
  • Upgrading or changing your macOS software or operating system
  • Disk is unreadable
  • Disk utility is unrepairable
  • You cannot install any app on your system
  • macOS installer is interrupting
  • macOS Installer warns you regarding Apple RAID.

How to format a Hard Drive using CMD?

CMD is a type of format that acts as a command-line interpreter. It is also known as cmd.exe. It works on OS/2, Microsoft Windows, macOS, ReactOS, ArcaOS, and so on. Therefore, if you do not know how to format a hard drive in your system using a rigid method. You can follow the given instructions for quick formatting:

Source: Wikipedia
  • Go to the Start Menu
  • Type “Command Prompt”
  • Open it.
  • Right-click on cmd in programs
  • Select the “Run as Administrator” option
  • In the command line, type “diskpart” at the end
  • Press the Enter button
  • Diskpart> will appear at the bottom
  • Type “list disk” and press the enter button
  • Similarly, at the bottom, Diskpart > will appear.
  • Type “select disk 2.” 
  • Further, in front of Diskart >, type “clean.”
  • Press the enter button
  • Type “Create Partition Primary” and Enter
  • Type Format the Drive and Enter
  • Then, type “Assign.” 
  • At last, press the ENTER button


How to format a hard drive is a challenging process via CMD. Therefore, we recommend you to do so under the guidance of an I.T. Expert. If data in your system is broken or contains a virus, you must give your system a fresh start. It is also recommendable to restart the system after you format a hard drive. Nowadays, external hard drives are in fashion that help you expand your system’s storage capacity. Above all, download CleanMyMac X software for secure formatting without using disk utility or CMD