How to Format C Drive in Windows 7/8/10 Successfully?

February 1, 2019

It is necessary to realize how to format C drive in Windows 7/8/10. This article shows detailed steps on formatting C drive via Windows installation media or AOMEI Partition Assistant.


 “I have a computer running Windows 7. Recently, I tried format my C drive due to certain reason, but I failed to format it within File Explorer and got the error message – “You cannot format this volume”. Is there one can tell me how to format C drive in Windows 7? Thanks for your help!”

You Cannot Format This Volume

How format C drive in Windows 7/8/10?

It’s not an easy task to format C drive holding Windows operating system. You are unable to format it directly via File Explorer or Disk Management within Windows like formatting other drives because Windows is installed on C drive. In such case, you need to boot your computer from somewhere else to format C drive that is installed with Windows 7. As formatting will erase all data on C drive, you can backup it at first if you don’t want to lose data on C drive. Then, refer to the following context to realize how to format C drive step-by-step.

Format C drive with Window installation media

Supposed that you have Windows Setup CD/DVD, you can format Windows 7 C drive with it. Have a look at how it works:

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

(Take Windows 7 Setup DVD as an example)

2. Waiting for “Windows is loading files…” and “Starting Windows” screens to finish. In the pop-up window, select “Language to install”, “Time and currency format” and “Keyboard or input method”. Then, click “Next”.

3. In the initial Windows installation screen, click on “Install now” button and wait for the “Setup is starting” screen over.

4. Read license terms and check “I accept the license terms” and click “Next”.

5. Choose Custom (advanced)between two types of Windows 7 installation.

6. In “Where do you want to install Windows” window, you can view all recognized partitions in computer. Click “Drive options (advanced)” and several drive options will appear.

7. Select C drive and click “Format”. You’ll be noticed that any data stored on the partition that you’ll format will be lost, click “OK” to start operation.

Or you can choose to format C drive from Command Prompt with Windows Setup CD/DVD by following steps below.

1. In the first “Installation Windows” window, click “Repair your computer”.

2. Select operating system and click “Next”.

3. In theSystem Recovery Options window, choose “Command Prompt”.

4. Type “format c: /fs:ntfs” and hit “Enter” key

Format C drive via AOMEI Partition Assistant

If you have no Windows installation media, you can create a system repair Disc or recovery USB drive to format C drive from Command Prompt. But here I want to recommend you to try AOMEI Partition Assistant to format C drive out of its easy operation and great performance. Have a look at how to format C from BIOS under the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Before formatting C drive

1. Connect a USB drive to a working computer running Windows and free download AOMEI Partition Assistant on the working computer.

2. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. In the main interface, click “Make Bootable Media” and do as the next prompts to create a bootable media.

3. After creating bootable media, connect it to your Windows 7 computer whose C drive need to be formatted and boot the computer from it.

Boot from USB

Then, you can access the main interface of AOMEI Partition Assistant; do as the following steps to format C drive.

Step 1. Right click the C drive and choose “Format Partition”.

Step 2. Choose a file system for C drive based on your demand and click “OK”.

Partition Label

Step 3. Here you can confirm your operation and click “Apply”>“Proceed” to implement it.

Those are steps on how to format C drive in Windows 7/8/10. Actually, AOMEI Partition Assistant can help you to delete or wipe C drive as well. It is compatible with Windows 10/8/7, XP and Vista. If you need to use it on Windows Server, you can upgrade it to Server edition.