How Long Does It Take to Format A Hard Drive?

Why does formatting a hard drive take so long? How long does it take to format a hard drive? You can find the answer in this article. And it also provides you with some solutions when formatting the hard disk stuck.


By Tina / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Help! Why formatting FS=NTFS taking a long time?


" Hi, I have a hard drive (an HGST 500gb with 7200RPM) connected with a SATA to USB cable. After 2,5 hours of waiting to be formatted (not the quick format), I canceled the procedure. Why formatting FS=NTFS taking a long time? Is there a faster way to format the drive instead of the typical Windows way(right click on the drive in my computer-properties, format)? Thanks in advance!"

- Question from

How long does it take to format a hard drive?

To clean up a hard drive, change the file system or fix some disk errors, Windows users will want to format the hard drive. However, some people don't know whether they will waste too much time on formatting a hard drive.

Normally, the time to format a hard drive depends on the disk storage capacity and the type of formatting. The larger the capacity of the hard disk, the longer the formatting time is. Also, a full format takes longer than a quick format.

How to fix when takes too much time to format a hard drive

As mentioned in the example, if you will encounter the "Format hard drive takes too much time" problem, you can try the following measures to solve it.

☀ Solution 1. Clean up viruses

When you take too much time to format a disk, you can download antivirus software to check your PC for viruses. Because when there’re viruses on the PC, the efficiency of formatting the hard disk will be reduced.

Antivirus Software

☀ Solution 2. Check and repair bad sectors on hard drive

Another effective measure is to check and remove bad sectors in the hard drive with CMD. When there are bad sectors in the hard disk, you will be banned to access the data from the computer, so the speed of formatting the hard disk will become very slow.

Step 1. Click "Start" and then type "cmd", select "Run as administrator". In the CMD window, type "chkdsk/?" and press "Enter" to list all drives.

Step 2. Then input "chkdsk g:" to test the target drive (you can replace "g" with other drive letters). If you want to repair the errors, please type "chkdsk g: /f" and press "Enter".

Check Disk Error

Step 3. If the target disk is working, there'll be a notice: "Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)". Type "Y" to accept it.

How to format hard drive without issues

Now, you have got the answer of "How long does it take to format a hard drive". And when it takes too much time to format a hard drive, we also shared two solutions. If you want to effectively format hard drive without issues, we highly recommend AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard for you.

Different from Windows built-in tools, in a high-definition interface, this freeware can quickly format the target hard drive to file system formats such as FAT32 and NTFS. It is worth mentioning that even if the hard drive is write-protected or damaged, this tool can easily format it.

Besides, you can also enjoy a bunch of free features like Resize partition, Merge partitions, PC Cleaner, Clone data partition, etc. When you want to format a hard drive on Windows Server PC, the Server Version is available.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Here, we'll show you how to format a hard disk with it.

Step 1. Install and run this powerful tool, then right-click the target drive and select "Format Partition".

Format Partition

Step 2. In the new small window, type the partition label and select "FAT32", then click "OK".


Step 3. Click "Apply" to start format the target hard drive.


Note: When the file system of the target disk is NTFS, if you want to change it to FAT 32, you directly use "NTFS to FAT32 Converter".

Bonus: Totally delete data on your hard drive

If you want to throw away the hard drive, you need to wipe this hard drive, not format it. Because even if you format the hard drive, the deleted data is likely to be retrieved by data recovery software.

Step 1. Open AOMEI and right-click the target hard drive, select "Wipe Hard Drive".

Wipe Hard Drive

Step 2. Choose "Fill sectors with Zero" and click "OK".

There're three other methods to wipe the hard drive: Fill sectors with random data, Gutmann and DoD 5220.22-M. If you want to enjoy them, you can turn to the Professional Version.

Fill Sectors With Zero

Step 3. Click "Apply" in interface to wipe this hard drive.


Note: If the target hard disk is SSD, you need to use the "Secure SSD Erase" function. Due to the different construction, forcibly wiping the SSD will shorten the service life of the SSD.

Final line

To conclude, this page explained how long does it take to format a hard drive. In addition, it provided some measures to solve it when formatting waste too much time. It also shared a powerful freeware AOMEI Partition Assistant for you.

By the way, if you want to get more advanced functions, like Migrate OS to SSD, Move applications to another drive, Disk Clone Wizard, etc, the Pro version is suitable for you.

Tina · Staff Editor
Tina is an English editor of AOMEI Technology. She has a positive attitude and full of energy. On her work, she always keeps thinking to figure out the solutions for users' problems, and writes the answers so that can help someone. In her daily life, she likes to sing, watch TV and sleep. She always being grateful and happy to all the things happened and all the people encountered.