Format Partition in Windows 7

by Max / Wednesday, November 02, 2016

When you're inserting a new hard drive to Windows 7, formatting is needed before using. Format partition or disk will set everything essential in partition and make it usable for volume, besides, format will check disk errors and delete everything in it, but format is not wiping things out, just mark that space as available for other data. Here is the method to erase everything without recovery possibility.

Format an existing partition in Windows 7 will take you some time to run, if you have disk problems or there's a chance for slowing down Windows performance, it is an option to format an existing partition and reinstall programs. Before doing anything to hard drive, we strongly recommend making a backup before wards.

"I had a hard drive from my friend, it's empty, I want to install Windows 7 to this disk, although he said it's empty, I doubt if it is clean, I mean, maybe there're some tracks left in this disk, how can I make sure it's a clean disk like a factory setting one, I know format is not really make disk clean,"

The best thing before using a used disk is to wipe disk, which will ensure you get a clean disk with factory settings, RAW disk, check here to see how to wipe disk before reinstalling system. Now you can insert the restore disc to install Windows 7 without worrying about traces of original data.


Use Disk Management

After installed Windows 7, you can manage partition in Windows Disk Management, you can format unallocated space and create new partition, or you can directly format an existing partition in it.

  1. Press Windows + R to open Run box, and type "diskmgmt.msc" to open disk management;
  2. Right-click on the partition you want to format, and select "Format" from the menu;

In the format window, you can reset Volume label, file system and allocate unit size, leave the "perform a quick format" as checked, and click OK to perform, of course you get a warning message, Click OK to continue if you had a backup previously.

Use Command Prompt

The following is how I format F partition in disk partition command line, you can type "diskpart" directly in Win + R box, and click Yes to UAC Window. commands are marked as red:

            Microsoft DiskPart version 6.1.7601
            Copyright (C) 1999-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
            On computer: WIN-A82KHKU60PJ
            DISKPART> list disk
              Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
              --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
              Disk 0    Online          500 GB  1024 KB
              Disk 1    Online          200 GB  1024 KB        *
            DISKPART> sel disk 1
            Disk 1 is now the selected disk.
            DISKPART> list partition
              Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
              -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
              Partition 1    Primary            112 GB  1088 KB
              Partition 2    Primary           6337 MB   112 GB
              Partition 3    Primary             80 GB   119 GB
            DISKPART> sel partition 1
            Partition 1 is now the selected partition.
            DISKPART> format fs=fat32
               28 percent completed

It will take a while to format, but if your disk size is too big, diskpart will fail to format NFTS to FAT32, like the error below, if you face this error, it's time to format partition with partition software.

            Partition 1 is now the selected partition.
            DISKPART> format fs=fat32
                0 percent completed
            Virtual Disk Service error:
            The volume size is too big.

Use Partition Software

You can use partition software to format an existing partition in Windows 7 with ease, for instance, format partition F: to FAT32. Steps are followed:

  1. Run Partition Expert Free Edition, and click F partition;
  2. Click Format Volume and choose FAT32 from file system column, click OK and Commit;

So there're 3 ways to format partition, and choose file system between NTFS to FAT32, all the three methods will delete files in that partition, but if all I want is to convert NTFS to FAT32, what's the best option? click to play video on how to format an exsiting partition

Convert NTFS to FAT32 without losing data

Many Xbox 360 users or PS4 user have hard drives require FAT32 file system, because NTFS cannot be recognized by their devices, how to convert NTFS to FAT32 without format when games data already on NTFS partition?

Run Partition Expert, click the NTFS partition, and click Convert to FAT32; Click OK and Commit, Done, nothing touched.

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