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How To Format Hard Drive - How To Format A Hard Drive

formatting system formatted disk

Formatting a hard drive can create a blank drive on which to reinstall programs and operating systems. This is often done on new machines, or when the current machine has developed problems. Common reasons to format include computers that have been infected by numerous viruses or have developed errors.

Before formatting a hard drive it is important to back up any important files. This files may include bookmarks, important documents and photographs. Once the formatting process has started it is not easily undone so backing up any files is a necessary beginning step. Files may be backed up to a number of storage options ranging from secondary or external drives to online backup. After the files have been backed up, the hard drive may then be formatted.

The tools for formatting a hard drive are most often included within the operating system, so no further tools will be necessary. Some utilities for formatting are part of the system software and can allow users to reformat a drive and erase all data. This can also be used to format a drive before partitioning it. Use caution when using utilities while on the disk that will be formatted as when the machine is restarted the drive will be erased.

In some cases it may be necessary to format a hard drive during the operating system process. This may be accomplished by inserting the install disk and either selecting the hard drive options from a menu or by going through the installation process and opting to format the drive before proceeding. When formatting the drive the option will be presenting to either format the drive as NTFS or Fat. Often the NTFS option will be selected for formatting for newer systems but some may prefer to use Fat formatting. NTFS is the default formatting for Windows based operating systems since XP was released and many select this option.

For Mac based operating systems, the disk format option is in the disk utility application. This application allows for easy access to formatting and partitioning hard drives within the computer. There are several formatting options available for Mac formatted hard drives. Often system drives will be formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) while media and storage drives will be formatted simply as Mac OS Extended. This utility is also available on the install disk of the operating system in order to allow for easy access to correct hard drive problems and formatting.

After the hard drive has been formatted, it is now ready to use. For system disks it will require the installation of software before the drive can be used as a system disk. Media and storage disks that have been formatted can be used immediately after formatting.

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