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How To Format a Hard Drive or Flash Drive

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We will show you the basic steps to format your Hard Drive and Flash Drive.

To format an external drive in Windows

  1. Plug your drive into the computer and, if necessary, into a wall outlet.
  2. Open Windows Explorer, click the Computer section in the sidebar and find your drive.
  3. Right-click on the drive and choose Format.
Computer program - Screenshot

The formatting options you can customize are File system, Allocation unit size, Volume label, and Format options. You can also Restore device defaults in case your custom settings aren’t working.

USB Flash Drive - SanDisk
  1. Under File system, choose the files system you want to use. We recommend selecting NFTS since it has better space management and it compresses files to save disk space.
  2. Give your drive a name under Volume label, and check the Quick Format box.
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  1. Click Start to format the drive, followed by OK to confirm that you really want to erase all data and the drive will be formatted.

When you’re finished, open up the drive in Windows Explorer and you can begin dragging files to it or backing up your computer.

Remember that when a drive is formatted, the functional storage space of the drive is less than its unformatted capacity. The amount by which space is reduced varies depending upon the type of formatting used for the drive and also the amount and size of the various files on the system.

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