Format hard drive commands: Format Hard Drive with DiskPart Format Command & Formatting Tool [2023 Guide]

Change in the behavior of the format command in Windows Vista and later versions — Windows Server






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This article discusses a change in the behavior of the format command in Windows Vista and later Windows versions.

Applies to:   Windows Server 2012 R2, Window 10 – all editions
Original KB number:   941961


The behavior of the format command changed in Windows Vista and later Windows versions. By default in Windows Vista and later versions, the format command writes zeros to the whole disk when a full format is performed. In Windows XP and earlier versions of Windows, the format command doesn’t write zeros to the whole disk when a full format is performed.

The new format behavior may cause problems for the on-demand allocation modes that a volume storage provider, such as a Storage Area Network (SAN), supports. Problems may occur because the new format behavior prematurely triggers allocation of the backing space.

In the on-demand scenario, zeros don’t have to be written to the whole disk because the volume storage provider initializes the on-demand-allocated data. To avoid causing unnecessary on-demand-allocation, you must use the quick format option.

Quick format option

You can use four methods to format a volume in Windows Vista and later versions. You can use the quick format option for these four methods:

  • Command line: Use the format /q command.

  • Diskpart: Use the format command together with the quick parameter.

  • Windows Explorer: Click to select the Perform a quick format check box.

  • Disk Management (Diskmgmt.msc): Click to select the Perform a quick format check box.

How to Format Hard Drive/Disk using CMD

Updated to Troubleshooting Tips by Nancy on May 25, 2023 | Approved by Cesar C

It is crucial to format HDD before using. Irrespective of the operating system, there are several ways through which one can perform the formatting action. Among them, the easiest and most effective way is to use the Command prompt to format hard drive or format disk using CMD. However, every operating system has a different approach to manage the HDD, and only a formatted disk structure is recognizable. After formatting a hard drive, one can install the OS and create new partitions to store data.

Quick Navigation

Part #1: Step-by-step Guide for How to Format Disk using CMD

Part #2: How to Recover Files after CMD to Format Drive

Part #1: Step-by-step Guide for How to Format Disk using CMD

The following is the procedure that helps anyone obtain the right answer to how to format hard drive using CMD. It is advisable to follow the steps carefully to avoid mistakes.

1. Type «cmd» in the search box, which is at the bottom left corner of the screen. The list will display Command Prompt as the matching application. Select the same, right click on it, and click on «Run as administrator».

2. Once the Command Prompt window opens, input «diskpart» and press enter.

3. Input «list disk» and press enter. The command will display all the disk drives along with the partitions and external disk drives connected to the system.

5. Now, input «clean» in the command box. The step will help the computer to clean all the files and folder present on the disk, then you can successfully complete format hard disk using CMD.

4. Each of the drives has a particular disk number. Input «Select disk» with disk number. For example, «select disk 0.» The input is conveying the message to the system to select disk 0 and format the same.

5. Now, input «clean» in the command box. The step will help the computer to clean all the files and folder present on the disk, then you can successfully complete format drive using CMD.

6. Input «create partition primary» in the command box and press enter.

7. Once the diskpart command successfully creates the needed partition, input «format fs=ntfs or format fs=exfat» and hit the enter key. The command is telling the diskpart to format the new drive with either NTFS or exFAT file system.

8. Input «assign» and choose a drive letter to assign the same to the newly created partition or hard drive.

The above steps are simple and help anybody to format HDD using CMD or format external hard disk using CMD. However, the downside to the procedure is that it will erase complete data present on the hard drive or the selected partition on the hard drive.

Part #2: How to Recover Files after CMD to Format Drive

The Command prompt to format a hard drive is a simple process. But, recovering lost files after format disk using CMD requires the use of Command prompt format hard disk recovery software. At this point, the best tool to perform this action is iBeesoft Data Recovery. It possesses the great capability to restore the data even after people used command prompt to erase hard drive data.

iBeesoft Data Recovery software is a reliable program that helps in retrieving lost, corrupted or data from HDDs, USB drives, external hard disks after CMD format in a few simple steps. The software uses a robust algorithm that scans the selected drive and displays the recoverable files and folders. User can then proceed by choosing the records they wish to recover. The best element of the software is its strength to scan irrespective of the scenario under which there was a loss of data. Furthermore, it provides assistance to scan any hard disk and external hard drives and flash drives.

Guide to Recover Formatted Hard Drive using iBeesoft Data Recovery

Even after completing format hard drive from command prompt Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and Windows XP action, with the assistance of format recovery program, it is possible to get back the lost data after format drive using CMD in a few simple steps.

Step 1: The first step involves downloading and installing the software. Just click the DOWNLOAD button to get the software installation file. Upon clicking the execution file, one will complete the installation of the program and start to recover data after format hard disk using CMD.

Step 2: After completion, the program creates a shortcut on the desktop. Clicking the icon will launch the program.

Step 3: iBeesoft shows all the partitions of the hard drive including any external storage devices connected to the system. Users have to pick the location to allow the application to perform the scan and complete the action of recovering the data after format hard disk using CMD. Press the «Scan» button from the same screen to begin the scanning process. The time to complete the process depends on the amount of the data in the selected partition.

Step 4: After completion of the scan, the application will display them in a new window. The window consists of three columns – the left that shows the directory in tree formation, the center that shows the recoverable files, and the right that shows the thumbnails of the selected files. Users can pick the needed files from the center of the window or click an entire folder from the left side where the application places files according to their file system – pictures, videos, audio, documents, and so on. After completion of the selected files or folder, press the «Recover» button. The program will ask for a location on the system to begin the recovery process. Ensure to choose a different drive/location other than the formatted partition.

You can also follow this steps to recover deleted files from an external hard drive, HDD/SSD, card and more.

How to format a Windows 7 drive

Four different algorithms can be used to format a Windows 7 drive. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages, which we will display in the article.


  1. Standard method
  2. Command line
  3. Using the installation disk
  4. Third party software

Standard method

ing standard tools of the Windows operating system. This method is the most convenient in terms of implementation, but the formatting process occurs in most cases according to fairly simple algorithms. This results in a superficial cleaning of your computer’s hard drive and simplifies the task of data recovery.

To implement the method, proceed as follows.

  1. Open «My Computer». (for Windows 7)
  2. Select the drive you plan to format.
  3. Right-click on it and select «Service» — «Format» (Service-Format)
  4. Do not forget that formatting completely deletes information from your computer and it can only be restored using special applications. By agreeing to the pop-up message you will start the formatting process.
  5. For various reasons, pressing the right button may not bring up the service submenu. With this problem, go to «Control Panel» — «Administrative Tools» — «Disk Management». In this window, you can perform the same actions starting from step 3.

Command line

Method 2. Using the Windows console window for formatting. The advantage of this method will be the simplification of the action to achieve the final result. Of the minuses, you can list all the same disadvantages as the first method, since the formatting method is the same.

  1. Go to «Start» — «Run». And we type the cmd command to open the console window.
  2. We type «C:» (or the letter of another drive that needs to be formatted).
  3. Enter the command «format c:» (or another drive letter).
  4. We confirm the complete deletion of information.

The Windows format command, like most service commands of the Windows operating system, has a number of additional parameters and attributes. To call the full list, you can enter «format /?» in the console window.

The most significant parameters include the «format / FS: filesystem» command for explicitly setting the disk file system after formatting the computer and the «format / X» command for forcibly disabling all connected descriptors. This is necessary to get full access to the disk and execute all algorithms of the format command.

Using the installation disc

Method three: Format the computer drive using the windows installation disc. This method has the same standard shortcomings in the small depth of information formatting as the format command, but it allows processing any disk and partition, including the system one.

To start the procedure, it is necessary to start the computer with the installed Windows disk and the option to start the system from CD-Rom in the BIOSf settings. When starting the installation process, you will be prompted to format the disk before installing the system. By selecting this item, it is enough to simply perform a quick format of the desired partition.

But you should be careful. If you use the first three methods, when you try to format a drive with the Windows operating system installed on it, a warning will appear with a prohibition of actions. In this case, this prohibition will not occur and it is enough to simply delete important information and disrupt the operation of the entire operating system.

When you run format, you will be prompted to choose one of two ways to format your computer: quick and full. A quick format removes information, but does not fix system errors and check physical space, which can be critical for a Windows installation.

Third-party software

Method 4: Use ancillary software for Windows OS. There are a huge number of specially designed applications with which you can carry out this operation on your computer. Their advantages include the highest possible level of disk cleaning and the use of complex formatting algorithms. Of the minuses, this is the fact that the almost universal requirement to pay a certain amount in order to obtain the full functionality of the program. We will not describe these applications because of their diversity.

Creating and formatting a hard disk partition

Windows 7 More. ..Less

To create a partition or volume (the two terms are often used interchangeably) on a hard disk, you must be logged on as an administrator. In addition, the hard drive must have either unallocated disk space or free space on an extended partition.

If there is no unallocated disk space, you can create it by shrinking or deleting one of the existing partitions, or by using a third-party hard disk partitioning program.

  1. Open the Computer Management tool. To do this, press the button Start . Click Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools and then double click Computer Management .

  2. On the panel on the left under Storage devices select Disk Management .

  3. Right-click the unallocated area on the hard drive, and then select Create Simple Volume .

  4. In the New Simple Volume Wizard, click Next .

  5. Enter the size of the volume you want to create in megabytes (MB), or confirm the default maximum size, and then press the 9 button0085 Next .

  6. Confirm the default drive letter or select a different drive letter to identify the partition, and then click Next .

    • If you want to delay formatting the volume, select Do not format this volume and then click Next .

    • To format the volume using the default options, click Next .

  7. Check all your selections and press button Done .

Note: When creating partitions on a basic disk, the first three partitions will be formatted as primary partitions. Starting with the fourth, each partition will be configured as a logical drive in an extended partition.

Warning: Formatting a volume will destroy all existing data on it. Before you start, make a backup copy of all the necessary data.

  1. Open the Computer Management tool. To do this, press the button Start . Click Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools and then double click Computer Management .

  2. In the left pane, under Storage Devices , select Disk Management .

  3. Right-click the volume you want to format, and then select Format .