How to Format C Drive via Command Prompt Tool in Windows 10/8/7?

January 11, 2019

Formatting C drive in Command Prompt is not easy as formatting non-system disk partition. But no worries, this article will demonstrate how to format C drive using CMD or AOMEI Partition Assistant (without CD) in details.

Format C drive failure issues

“I have an Acer 5101 laptop with 2 drives. I have bought windows 7. I managed to install this on the D drive having reformatted it before. Now I wish to do the same on the C drive. When I try to format it, I receive the message "You cannot format this volume. It contains the version of Windows that you are using…”. Any ideas how I can format the C drive and install windows 7 on there too?”

Cannot Format C Drive

How to format C drive successfully?

In general, C drive is the partition that holds your Windows operating systems. Formatting C drive means deleting the OS and other related crucial information on the drive.And you cannot format C drive in the same way to format other drives in Windows since you are within Windows when you perform this operation. So you need to format C drive outside of the Windows OS. You can refer to the following two methods.

Importance: since formatting will delete everything on the C drive, you can first clone c drive to SSD/HDD for data backup, if necessary.

Method 1. Format C Drive from Command Prompt (Windows Setup CD required)

While you cannot format C drive in Disk Management or File Explorer, you can use a Windows installation CD /DVD and follow the steps to format the system drive.

Step 1. Insert Windows installation media into the (Windows 10) computer and enter BIOS to boot computer from it.

Step 2. In the pop-up window, select “Language to install”, “Time and currency format” and “Keyboard or input method”. Then, click “Next”

Step 3. On the next window, click “Repair your computer” from the lower-left corner.

Step 4. In the “Choose an option” window, click “Troubleshoot”, then click “Advanced options” in the next Window.

Step 5. When the “Advanced options” window opens, click “Command Prompt”.

Command Prompt

Step 6. In the Command Prompt window, type “format c: /fs:ntfs” and hit “Enter”.

Or you can click “Install now” in the above step 3 to enter the screen of “Install Windows” where you can select C (primary) drive and click “Format” to format it.

Format C Drive

Method 2. Format C drive with AOMEI Partition Assistant (Windows CD not required)

If you don’t have a Windows installation media and cannot format C drive using CMD, you can first make a bootable USB, then boot your computer from it to enter WinPE environment where you can format the C drive easily. For this task, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is a great tool to use in Windows 10/8/7.

  • To create a bootable media

Step 1. Connect an empty USB drive to your Windows computer, and free download AOMEI Partition Assistant. Install and launch it on your PC.

Step 2. In the main interface, click “Make Bootable Media” and follow the wizard to create a bootable USB (it will contain an installed AOMEI Partition Assistant).

Make Bootable Media

Step 3. Then boot your computer from the created bootable USB. When loaded, you will see the AOMEI Partition Assistant is running.

  • To format C drive

Step 1. In the main interface of AOMEI Partition Assistant, click the C partition and select “Format Partition” under “Partition Operations” volume in the left panel.

Step 2. In the pop-out mini window, you can select a proper file system for your needs and click “OK”.

Step 3. Hit on “Apply” to commit the pending operation.

Format Partition


After walking through this post, you will be clear about how to format C drive via Command Prompt with Windows installation media or via AOMEI Partition Assistant when there is no Windows installation CD/DVD available. What’s more, AOMEI Partition Assistant also allows you  to perform other operations on the system disk, like completely erasing C drive (unrecoverable), extending system partition, converting system disk between MBR and GPT, if you upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.