You are unable to format an SSD with the Windows operating system running in File Explorer due to the “You cannot format this volume” error. Here this tutorial on MiniTool is intended to show you how to format SSD with OS on it from BIOS and by using PC bootable media.

If you try to format an SSD with the Windows OS on it in Windows Explorer, you will receive the error message saying “You cannot format this volume”. Windows prohibits this operation because formatting the SSD will delete all files on the disk, including the operating system, causing the computer to fail to start.

You cannot format this volume

So, is there any way to format an SSD with the OS running on it?

Is It Possible to Format SSD With Windows on It

Of course, the answer is Yes. You cannot format the C drive through File Explorer or the Command Prompt while Windows is running normally, but you can format the SSD using the command line from the BIOS.

Once you format the C drive, all its files and the operating system will be deleted, and you will be required to reinstall Windows for further use. To protect your data, you are suggested to back up the files with the help of MiniTool ShadowMaker. This file backup tool has a trial edition that allows you to use it for free within 30 days.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Now, keep reading to find detailed steps to format SSD with OS on it.

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How to Format SSD With OS on It

Method 1. Use CMD

First, we show you how to format SSD from BIOS by using CMD. To use this method, you need to prepare a blank USB drive or one that does not contain any important files, as this drive will be formatted in the subsequent steps.

Step 1. Insert the USB drive into the computer and create a bootable USB media by using the Windows Media Creation tool.

Step 2. Boot the computer from the created bootable USB drive. On the Windows setup window, set up the language, time, and keyboard, then click Next.

Step 3. On the following window, click the Repair your computer option.

repair your computer

Step 4. Next, click Troubleshoot > Command Prompt.

Step 5. In the command line window, type format c: /fs: NTFS and press Enter. Once this command is executed, your C drive should be formatted to NTFS.

Method 2. Use MiniTool Partition Wizard

If you are not familiar with command lines, you can opt for professional disk management software to complete the SSD formatting task. Here MiniTool Partition Wizard is strongly recommended. This partition magic can help you create a bootable media to boot your computer without Windows so that you can format the C drive on SSD.

The MiniTool Bootable Media Builder feature is only available in advanced editions of MiniTool Partition Wizard.

How to format SSD with Windows on it by using MiniTool Partition Wizard?

Step 1. Connect a blank USB drive to your computer.

Step 2. Download, install, and launch MiniTool Partition Wizard Free, and then click the Register button to upgrade it.

MiniTool Partition Wizard FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 3. Click the Bootable Media icon to create a bootable USB drive. Next, boot from the burned USB drive.

Step 4. On the MiniTool PE Loader page, click MiniTool Partition Wizard to run it.

click MiniTool Partition Wizard

Step 5. Right-click the C drive and choose the Format option from the context menu.

click Format

Step 6. In the new alert window, click Yes to continue.

Step 7. Set up the partition label, file system, and cluster size, then click OK.

Step 8. Preview the format effect, and then click the Apply button to complete the final SSD format process.

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Further Reading: How to Recover Data From Formatted SSD

If you forget to back up your files before formatting the SSD, your files will be permanently removed from your drive. In this case, if you want to recover deleted/lost files, you can seek help from a professional file recovery tool, MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

It is good at retrieving documents, pictures, videos, audio files, etc. from formatted SSDs, HDDs, USB drives, SD cards, and so on. In addition to disk formatting, it also excels at dealing with other data recovery scenarios, such as disk inaccessibility, computer black screen, partition loss, etc.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

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All in all, if you are wondering how to format SSD with OS on it, you can follow the ways above to do it from BIOS or by using MiniTool Partition Wizard.

By the way, if you encounter any issues while using MiniTool software, please feel free to send an email to [email protected].

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