By Emily / Last Updated October 22, 2019

You need to format disk

Usually, when you install a new hard drive to your computer, you will be required to intialize the disk and partition and format it in order to access and use it for data storage. Except for this case, you might need to format the disk in the following situations:

  • If your disk becomes read-only because of corrupted file system and you cannot add any data to it, formatting the disk is an easy way to remove the write-protection.

  • Or when the disk is infected by malware, you have to format it for normal reuse.

  • If the current file system of the disk cannot be recognized by your computer, you also need to reformat it.

  • When you want to clean the disk or free up space on the drive, formatting the disk is always the method you can adopt.

Here we introduce you how to do the job easily and effectively!

Traditional disk formatting utilities in Windows 10/8/7

Disk formatting is usually a fairly straightforward process of formatting a data storage media such as hard disk drives, floppy disks or flash drives for initial usage. Since any data stored on the disk would be erased with disk formatting, it’s important to back up necessary files to ensure data security.

When it comes to formatting disk for some reasons, Windows built-in disk formatting utilities like Disk Management, File Explorer or Command Line will be the prior choices for most users. Below we will introduce them one by one.

1. Formatting disk via Disk Management

Open Disk Management by right-clicking “My computer/This PC” -->Manage-->Disk Management. Then right-click the target disk, select “Format...” and click “OK”.

DM Formatting Tool

2. Formatting hard drive via File Explorer

Right-click “My computer/This PC” --> “Open” to enter into the File Explorer, then right-click the disk you wish to format, select “Format...” and click “Start”.

3. Formatting hard disk using Command line

First open the command prompt by clicking Start and typing “cmd”, right-clicking it and selecting “Run as Administrator”, and then type the following command and press enter every time:

  • Diskpart: open the diskpart command prompt.

  • list disk:get a detaied list of all disks on your computer.

  • list partition: all the partitions will be displayed.

  • select partition #: the partition you want to format will be selected.

  • format fs=fat32 quick or other desired file system.

Then, the disk will be formatted.

Diskpart Format To FAT32

Best disk formatting utility- AOMEI Partition Assistant (Free&Powerful)

The Windows built-in formatting tools allow you to simply format the hard drives. However, there are some times when they simply do not work quite well.

For example, Windows was not able to complete the format when you received drive not formatted error message and performed a formatting there. When the drive that you are trying to select for formatting to FAT32 is over 32GB, you will get an error: The volume is too big for FAT32. Or you might encounter the “Format” greyed out and not clickable.

In those cases, you can consider using a professional disk formatting utility named AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It can help you format hard drive to FAT32 even though it is larger than 32GB. Besides, it can also format partition to NTFS, exFAT, Ext2/3/4, providing more file system options than Windows native formatting tools.

Best Free Disk Formatting Software | AOMEI Partition Assistant

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Steps to formatting hard disk via AOMEI Partition Assistant (ex: format partition to FAT32)

(1) Free download, install and run the hard disk formatting software. Right-click a partition on the disk you want to format and select “Format Partition”.

Format Partitoin

(2) Set the partition label, cluster size and file system as you like, and click “OK”.


(3) Begin to format the hard disk by clicking “Apply” in the main interface.


Only with three steps, you can successfully format the disk partition, even the partition is write-protected.

  • Bonus feature: Convert FAT32 to NTFS and vice versa without data loss

As mentioned above, the formatting process will erase all data existing on the disk which needs to be formatted. But the AOMEI Partition Assistant offers an amazing function: NTFS to FAT32 Converter. It can help you convert file system between FAT32 and NTFS without losing data. Below is the tutorial.

(1) Open AOMEI Partition Assistant. Select “NTFS to FAT32 Converter” on the left volume under “Wizards”.

(2) In the pop-up window, tick “FAT32 to NTFS” or “NTFS to FAT32”, click on “Next” and follow the hints to finish the conversion.



This disk formatting utility could deal with some tough partition/disk management tasks when the Windows built-in formatting tools fail.

Moreover, you can upgrade to Pro edition for other more amazing features like recovering lost partitions, aligning partitions, migrating OS to SSD. If you are running Windows Server 2003, 2008 (R2), 2012 (R2), 2016 and SBS 2003, 2008, 2011, the Server edition is a great choice.