How to format a disk drive in Windows 11 using command-prompt?

A hard drive, sometimes abbreviated as a hard disk, HD, or HDD, is a storage medium installed internally in a computer. The hard disk is connected directly to the disk controller on the computer’s motherboard.

The disk contains one or more platters in an airtight enclosure. Data is written to the disks using a magnetic head, which moves rapidly over them as they rotate.

Internal hard drives are located in a drive bay connected to the motherboard by an ATA, SCSI, or SATA cable.

A solid-state drive (SSD) is a new generation storage medium used in computers. SSDs replace traditional mechanical hard drives with significantly faster flash memory. Older storage mediums with hard drives work slower, often causing your computer to work slower than it should. SSDs significantly speed up computers due to their low read access times and fast data processing capability.

This article provides detailed information on formatting a hard drive or USB flash drive using the Windows 11 Command Prompt.

How to format a disk drive in Windows 11 using command prompt?

To begin with, it is essential to first carefully check which drive letter is assigned to the disk you want to format. You can do this in the following way.

Open File Explorer, click on This PC, and check the assigned disk letter.

How to format a disk drive in Windows 11 using command-prompt?

Once you have checked which disk letter is assigned to the volume, you can open the Command Prompt.

In the Windows 11 search type: Command Prompt.

Right-click on the Command Prompt result and click on Run as Administrator.

Run Command prompt as administrator in Windows 11

How to Format a disk?

In the Command Prompt type the following command to format the disk. Note I am using disk letter E as an example. You should use your previously established disk letter!

format E:

You will see the current file system and you need to give in a new label for the drive.

The disk will now first be authenticated and then formatted. This whole process may take a while.

format disk drive in windows 11

How to Quick Format a Disk?

You can apply the Quick Format argument to make the formatting process faster.

Quick formatting allows you to overwrite all the files on the hard drive, but it does not entirely erase them. However, the old files can be restored if you use special software.

In Windows, you can quickly format a disk in either the FAT or NTFS format.

You can quickly format a hard disk with the following command: /q. The complete command then becomes.

format E: /q

quick format a drive

How to format a disk as NTFS, exFAT or FAT32?

If you are going to format a disk, you can choose between different file systems. If you use the standard format command, the disk will be formatted in the FAT32 file system. You also have the choice of NTFS or exFAT.

To choose a particular file system via the Command Prompt, use the /FS:FILE SYSTEM argument. If you have no idea, choose NTFS.

This is what the format command might look like, choose one.

format E: /FS:NTFS
format E: /FS:FAT32
format E: /FS:EXFAT

How to format a disk by overwriting data multiple times?

To ensure that nobody can ever recover the data on the hard disk, USB stick, or any other medium, you can use the following command: /p:NUMBER.

The total command then looks like this.

format E: /p:2

How to format a disk by overwriting data multiple times

Using the /p:2 argument, you indicate that all sectors on the hard drive should be overwritten twice with null. You can modify 2 to suit your needs. Note that formatting takes a very long time this way.

This makes retrieving data on the disk virtually impossible as far as I know.

Combining the format commands I have covered in this article is always possible to perform your desired file system and type of format.

I hope this guide has helped you in understanding the format functionality using the command prompt. Thank you for reading!

Learn more: how to format a USB drive in macOS?

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