If your hard disk is not functioning properly or runs into some conflicts and glitches, you’ll need to fix the problem to continue using it. But do you know how to format a hard disk on Windows 11? If not, there are several useful ways for you to choose from. Besides, MiniTool shows you how to recover data from a formatted drive easily.

Reasons for Windows 11 Format Hard Drive or Partition

Why do you need to format a hard drive on Windows 11, Windows 10, or other systems? The main benefits of Windows 11 disk formatting include:

  • Format a new drive before using it.
  • Change a file system.
  • Clear disk data.
  • Delete partitions.
  • Improve computer performance.
  • Fix disk errors.
  • Increase disk speed.
  • And so on.

However, the question is some users don’t know the exact ways and steps to format hard drive Windows 11. Noticing this, I decided to introduce different options of Windows 11 format tools and formatting processes.

2 popular flash drive formatting issues:

The following sections focus on high-level disk formatting methods and the exact steps, which work for Windows 11 format disk, Windows 11 format USB drive, Windows 11 format SSD, Windows 11 format external hard drive, and Windows 11 format SD card.

#1: How to Format Hard Drive Windows 11 Using Storage Settings

First of all, I’d like to show you how to format a hard drive Windows 11 by using the Storage Settings feature. Please transfer data out from the drive (also called volume) you want to format or make sure you already have backups of them. Why? That is because the formatting action will erase all the data saved on it.

Step 1: Access Windows 11 Storage Settings

How to access the Storage settings on Windows 11:

  1. Click on the Start icon in Windows 11 taskbar or press Start on the keyboard.
  2. Select Settings from the Start menu (under the Pinned section).
  3. Make sure the System option is selected in the left panel.
  4. Scroll down in the right panel to find Storage from the list. Then, click it.

Windows 11 Storage settings

Another two ways to open Windows 11 Settings app are: pressing Windows + I, pressing Windows + S & typing Settings. (How to fix Windows 11 Settings not working?)

Step 2: Format with Storage

How to format a drive using Storage:

  1. Locate the Storage management section.
  2. Click Advanced storage settings.
  3. Many additional settings options will be shown to you.
  4. Find Disks & volumes and click on it.
  5. All the disks connected to your computer and all the volumes (drives) you have will be listed.
  6. Please browse the drives and find the one you want to format on Windows 11.
  7. Click on the Properties button after selecting the target drive.
  8. The drive properties will appear on the screen and you should scroll down to locate the Format section.
  9. Click on the Format button to bring up the Format Volume dialog box.
  10. Give it a Label, select a File System, and change the Allocation Unit Size according to your actual needs.
  11. Click Format to start the formatting process.
  12. Wait until the disk formatting is completed.
Warning: Changing Allocation Unit Size is not recommended unless you’re professional and it’s really needed; it may cause some tough troubles.

Format a drive using Storage

#2. How to Format a Drive Using File Explorer Context Menu

How to quickly format a hard drive? There’s a much easier way to format a disk/drive on Windows 11: using the Format feature in the context menu.

Step 1: Open Windows 11 File Explorer

How to open the File Explorer (previously known as Windows Explorer) on Windows 11? Here are some commonly used methods:

  • Press Windows + E directly.
  • Double click on the File Explorer desktop shortcut.
  • Click on the File Explorer icon in the taskbar.
  • Open the Start menu, expand All apps, and click File Explorer.
  • Open Run, type explorer, and click OK (or press Enter).
  • Press Windows + S, type File Explorer, and press Enter.
  • Right click on the Start button or press Windows + X; then, select File Explorer.

Windows 11 File Explorer may be missing or stop working/crashing. How to fix it?

Step 2: Format a Disk within File Explorer

The following steps are useful whether you’d like to format external drive Windows 11 or format a local disk partition Windows 11.

  1. Select This PC from the left panel of the opening File Explorer.
  2. Browse the disks and partitions listed in the right panel, under the Devices and drives section.
  3. Figure out which is the external disk drive or local hard drive you want to format; right click on it.
  4. Select Format from the pop-up context menu.
  5. A small Format drive window will appear; you should select a File system, change the Allocation unit size, and give a Volume label according to needs. The Quick Format option will be checked by default.
  6. Click on the Start button at the bottom to start formatting the disk or drive.
  7. Select OK in the prompt window to confirm formatting and then wait.
  8. Another window will pop up to tell you Format Complete. Please click OK to close it.

Quick Format in File Explorer

Please read this page if you want to remove folders from This PC on Windows 11 but don’t know how to do it.

#3. How to Format Hard Disk Using Disk Management

Disk Management is a built-in tool in all Windows versions to help users control and manage their disks easily. How to format external hard drive Windows 11? You should locate the external disk in the Disk Management tool and select Format from the right-click menu.

Step 1: Open Disk Management in Windows 11

There are 3 commonly used ways to open Disk Management.

  • Right click on the Start icon in the taskbar or press Window + X -> select Disk Management.
  • Open Windows 11 Start menu -> type Disk Management -> press Enter.
  • Open Run dialog box -> type msc -> click OK or press Enter.

Open Disk Management Windows 11

Step 2: Format a Hard Disk in Disk Management

Please follow these instructions to format hard drive Windows 11:

  1. The Disk Management window will list all your disks and partitions.
  2. Browse the disk & partition list to find the one you want to format.
  3. Right click on the block that represents the partition or disk you want to format in the Graphic View section.
  4. Select Format from the context menu appeared. (You can also select Delete Volume if you don’t need the drive anymore.)
  5. The small Format window will show up on your screen.
  6. You should give it a Volume label, select a File system, or change the Allocation unit size based on your needs, just like I mentioned in the above formatting methods.
  7. Keep the Perform a quick format option checked.
  8. Click OK to save changes.
  9. Click OK again in the prompt window to start formatting.
  10. Just wait.

Format in Disk Management

In addition, the Disk Management tool can help you easily format new SSD Windows 11 (see Use a Professional Windows 11 Format Tool -> How to Format a New Hard Drive -> Initialize disk in Disk Management).

#4. How to Format a Disk Using Command Prompt

This method is only suitable for experienced users & administrators.

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Step 1: Run Command Prompt Tool as Administrator

  1. Press Windows + S to open the Windows search feature.
  2. Type cmd into the context box.
  3. Right click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  4. Click Yes if you see a UAC (User Account Control) window.
How To Run A Program As Administrator In Windows 11
How To Run A Program As Administrator In Windows 11

Do you know how to run program as administrator in Windows 11? There are several ways available to run as administrator.

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Step 2: Execute the Diskpart Command

  1. The Command Prompt administrator window will appear.
  2. Type diskpart into and press Enter.
  3. Type list disk and press Enter.
  4. Type select disk * (* represents the number of the disk you want to format) and press Enter.
  5. If you want to format a disk partition, you also need to type list partition and select partition *, and then press Enter after each command.
  6. Type clean and press Enter to format a disk.
  7. Wait until you see “DiskPart succeed in cleaning the disk”.

Run DiskPart clean comamnd

Extended reading:

In addition, you can also use Windows PowerShell (get-volume, select *, format-volume -filesystem NTFS -newfilesystemlabel NAME) or reset your PC (Settings -> System -> Recovery -> Reset PC) to clean your hard disk. (How to recover files after resetting PC?)

#5. Use a Professional Windows 11 Format Tool

Getting a professional and reliable third-party format tool is also a good choice when you need to format hard drive on Windows 11 (initialize new disk and force format external hard drive). Here, I’d like to introduce MiniTool Partition Wizard which enjoys a high reputation among users.

How to Format a New Hard Drive

Initialize disk with MiniTool Partition Wizard:

  1. Download & install the third-party tool.
  2. Launch it and select your new disk in the right pane.
  3. Click Initialize to GPT Disk or Initialize to MBR Disk under Convert Disk in the left pane.
  4. Click on the Apply button in the lower-left corner.
  5. Select Yes in the pop-up window to apply changes.

Initialize to GPT/MBR Disk in PW

Initialize disk in Disk Management:

  1. Open the Disk Management tool on your Windows 11 computer.
  2. Browse the list and locate the new SSD; it will be shown as Unknown, and Not Initialized.
  3. Right click on the SSD and select Initialize Disk.
  4. Select MBR or GPT as your partition style.
  5. Click OK to confirm.

Also, you can choose to create a partition on the new hard drive (flash drive, or SSD) to initialize it for data storage.

  • Create partition using third-party tool: locate the target disk drive -> right click on it -> select Create/Create Partition/Create New Partition -> follow the on-screen instructions to continue.
  • Create partition in Disk Management: locate the target disk drive -> right click on it -> select New Simple Volume -> follow the New Simple Volume Wizard to continue.

How to Reformat a Hard Drive

How to reformat an external hard drive in MiniTool Partition Wizard:

  1. Right click on the drive that stands for your external hard disk.
  2. Select Format and give a partition label, select a file system, or change cluster size according to needs.
  3. Click OK and then click Apply.
  4. Choose Yes to confirm changes.

You can also right click on the disk and select Delete All Partitions; then, click Apply and choose Yes.

Format partition

How to Wipe a Hard Drive

You can also format a hard disk and erase data on it completely by wiping the drive. How to wipe a hard disk or partition in MiniTool Partition Wizard:

  • Wipe disk: select the hard drive you want to wipe (click on Disk *) in the right pane -> click Wipe Disk in the left pane under Clean Disk -> select a Wiping Method -> click OK -> click Apply -> click Yes.
  • Wipe partition: select the hard disk partition you want to wipe (click on the block representing the partition ) in the right pane -> click Wipe Partition in the left pane under Partition Management -> select a Wiping Method -> click OK -> click Apply -> click Yes.
Warning: Data saved on the disk can be recovered easily using the powerful Windows 11 recovery tool after common disk formatting. However, all files and folders will be lost forever after you wipe the hard drive. Therefore, you should think twice before wiping a disk.

How To Wipe A MacBook & Reset It To Factory Settings?

Bonus Tip: Recover Lost Data on Windows 11

There are a lot of data recovery tools designed for Windows 11 users to recover deleted and lost files easily. MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a great choice.

Free Download

How to Recover Data after Hard Drive Formatting

  1. Download MiniTool Power Data Recovery and install it properly.
  2. Launch the software and make sure your formatted hard drive is connected to your computer.
  3. Shift to the Devices tab at the top.
  4. Move your cursor onto the formatted disk and click Scan. You can also double click on the disk to start the scanning process.
  5. Wait for the scan and then browse the found files and folders.
  6. Select the data you want to recover and click on the Save button at the bottom right.
  7. Choose a storage path, click OK to confirm, and wait for the recovery to end.

Scan the formatted hard drive

Wait for the scan and select files to recover

Extended reading:

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Verdict

This page introduces disk formatting to you first. Then, it displays different ways to format hard drive on Windows 11. Besides, it shows you how to format a new hard disk, how to reformat an external hard drive, and how to wipe a drive. Finally, it provides an effective method for you to recover data from a formatted hard drive with ease.

6 Ways To Read Mac-Formatted Drive On Windows: Free & Paid.

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