How to format a hard drive

If you are planning on ditching your old computer, formatting a hard drive is almost always a necessary thing to do

How to format a drive using Windows Disk Management utility

Windows has a disk management utility that you can use to format a hard drive (except the drive that runs Windows). In the search box, type in diskmgmt.msc to start this up. (You can also find this tool in the Control Panel under Administrative Tools. It is a section called 'Create and format hard disk partitions'.

This is great if you have a brand new drive that you want to format, as it is probably not initialised as a disk yet (and you won't see it in Windows Explorer), Disk Management will find any uninitialised disks and prompt you to initialise it. Disks with capacities of 2TB or more should use the GPT (GUID Partition Table) as this allows you to create four or more partitions should you wish. 

Once initialised, this will appear as Unallocated Space and select New Simple Volume. Then select how big the partition will be and the drive letter.

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How to format a drive on a Mac

To format an external drive on a Mac, first open Finder on the Mac, then go to /Applications/Utilities and double-click on Disk Utility. Choose the drive in the left-hand sidebar and click on Erase (icon at the top). Under the Format menu, select the file system you want to use. Leave the default settings; OS X Extended format and GUID partition map. These will format the drive in OS X's HFS+ file system so it will be compatible with Time Machine.

You can then give the drive a name and click the Erase button. This process should only take a few seconds to format your drive.

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