How to format an unallocated disk

Written by elvis michael
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How to format an unallocated disk
(George Doyle/Valueline/Getty Images)

Unallocated disk space refers to available space where data can be written. When formatting such space, you are essentially preparing the hard disk with a file system, which allows operating systems to properly recognise it and manage it. Disk formatting may be accomplished through various efficient methods within your operating system of choice.

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  1. 1

    Launch “My Computer” from the “Start” menu or your desktop.

  2. 2

    Right-click the unallocated disk to be formatted, and select “Format” from the menu.

  3. 3

    Select the “FAT” file format if your hard disk space consists of 2 GB or less. Select “FAT32” if its capacity is 4 GB or larger.

  4. 4

    Disable the “Quick Format” option if you wish for Windows to inspect it for possible sector errors.

  5. 5

    Click “Format” to initiate the formatting procedure. When finished, click “Close” to exit the menu.

  1. 1

    Launch the “Macintosh HD” applet from your desktop. Click “Applications,” followed by “Utilities.” Launch the “Disk Utility” applet.

  2. 2

    Select the unallocated disk space on the hard drive in question. Click the “Erase” tab from the list of options.

  3. 3

    Select the “MS-DOS” file system, and click “Erase” to initialise the disk format procedure.

  1. 1

    Click “Start,” and type “Cmd” in the "Search" menu. Press “Enter” to launch the MS-DOS prompt.

  2. 2

    Type the hard drive's letter, followed by a colon, and press “Enter.” For example, to access the “D” drive, type “D:”.

  3. 3

    Type “Format (drive):” and press “Enter.” An example of this is “Format D:” to prepare the disk formatting procedure. Type “Exit” to close the MS-DOS prompt applet.

Tips and warnings

  • Formatting a hard disk permanently erases all data available. Perform a disk backup before proceeding.

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