How to: Format a New Hard Drive in Windows 10 [Full Guide]

You can’t use it, if the new external hard drive is unallocated or isn’t formatted with file system. Don’t worry, this paper shows how to initialize and format a new hard drive easily and quickly.


By Bryce / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Why format a new hard drive in Windows 10?

When installing a new hard drive on Windows 10 laptop or desktop, you may want to format it for various reasons. When the new hard drive is not partitioned, you need to create a new partition and format it before using it. If the new hard drive has been formatted already, you may format it for a clean installation or new file system.

Three utilities to format a new hard drive in Windows 10

Next, we’ll demonstrate how to create a partition and format partition on a new hard drive in Windows 10 using three different utilities.

Note: Open Disk Management in Windows 10 to see the new hard drive status; if it is marked as “Unknown, Not Initialized” with unallocated space, you need to initialize and format the new hard drive. If it is already has been partitioned and you want to erase all data on it or change to another file system, you can choose to reformat it.

▶ Format a hard drive in Windows 10 via Disk Management

Press Windows + X and select “Disk Management” to open Disk Management in Windows 10.

Initialize and format the hard drive

Step 1. Right click the new disk, choose “Initialize Disk”

Step 2. In the pop-up window, choose MBR or GPT as the partition style and click “OK”.

Note: If you don’t know how to choose between MBR and GPT, this article: MBR vs GPT: Which One Is Better for You? can be helpful!

After initializing disk with MBR or GPT, you can partition the hard drive.

Step 3. Right-click the unallocated space on the hard drive and choose “New Simple Volume”.

Step 2. You can see New Simple Volume Wizard; then click “Next”.

Step 3. Then, follow the wizard to specify the size of the new partition, assign a drive letter to it and format it with a file system.

Reformat the existing hard drive partition

Step 1. Right-click the partition on the hard drive and choose “Format…”.


Step 2. Choose a file system for the partition and click OK.

▶ Format a hard drive in Windows 10 from Command Prompt

Press Windows + R, input “cmd” and hit Enter to open Command Prompt. Then, type diskpart and hit Enter to run Diskpart utility.

Initialize and create new partition on the new disk by running the following commands:
▪list disk
▪ select disk n
▪ convert mbr (convert gpt)
▪ create partition primary
▪ format fs=ntfs quick
▪ assign letter d

Reformat the hard drive partition by running the commands given below:

▪ list disk
▪ select disk n
list partition
▪ select partition m
▪ format fs=ntfs quick

▶ Format a hard drive using third-party freeware

In Windows 10 or 11, Disk Management and Diskpart enable you to initialize and format a new hard drive or reformat it easily and quickly. Nevertheless, the two utilities have some drawbacks, such as a drive beyond 32GB cannot be formatted with FAT32 file system, exFAT option isn’t available for a partition on the internal hard drive, etc.

An overall and feature-rich third-party tool, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, is highly recommended! It enables you to format a partition larger than 32GB with FAT32 file system and offers more file systems to choose from, including exFAT, FAT32, NTFS, Ext2, Ext3, and Ext4. Now, free download it and have a look at how it works.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Initialize disk and create a new partition

Step 1. Install and run it. Locate the new hard drive, right-click it and choose “Initialize Disk”.

Step 2. Choose “MBR” or “GPT”. Then, click “OK”.

Step 3. Click “Apply” and “Proceed” to commit the operation.

Step 4. Right-click on the unallocated space of the new hard drive, choose “Create Partition”.

Step 5. Specify the partition size, drive letter, and file system of the new partition. Then, click “OK”.

Step 6. Click “Apply” and “Proceed” to execute the operation.

After that, the new hard drive can be used to store data.

Reformat partition on a hard drive

Step 1. Right-click the hard drive partition and choose “Format Partition”.

Step 2. Choose a file system among NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, Ext2, Ext3, and Ext4. Then, click “OK”.

Step 3. Click “Apply” and “Proceed” to perform the operation.


▪ AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard has many other functions, like converting NTFS to FAT32 without formatting, wiping the hard drive, and so on.
▪ To enjoy advanced functions, such as quick partition, securely erasing SSD, etc., please upgrade to Professional version.

Bryce · Staff Editor
Bryce is an editor of AOMEI Technology, he covers backup & restore, hard disk & partitions management, cloud files transfer, website & database backup and so on for AOMEI. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He would like to spend all time on reaserching computer problems. He is a very cute boy.