How to Format a Hard Drive on an Ubuntu Live CD

Updated February 21, 2017

An Ubuntu Live CD is a very useful tool for trying out the Ubuntu operating system without having to install it to your hard drive. This can be especially good for Windows users who want to try Linux and Ubuntu but don't want to lose or modify their existing Windows installations. Because the Ubuntu Live CD gives you the full features of Ubuntu, it can also be an easy way to perform tasks such as formatting a hard drive without having to do it within Windows.

Insert the Ubuntu Live CD in the disc drive and turn on or restart the computer. Choose the option to "Boot from CD" if you are given the prompt.

Press the arrow keys on your keyboard to highlight the entry for "Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer" and press the "Enter" key. Wait for Ubuntu to load on your computer.

Click the "System" heading in the toolbar at the top of the screen, then hover the mouse over the "Administration" heading. Click the "Gnome Partition Editor" heading in the menu that opens to launch the Partition Editor program.

Click the hard drive you wish to partition in the window that opens to highlight it, then click "Partition" in the menu at the top of the screen and click "Unmount." This prepares the partition to be formatted.

Click the partition to highlight it and then click "Partition" in the menu. Click "Format to" in the drop-down menu. Choose the type of filesystem you would like to format the drive to and click the "Apply" button to apply the changes.


Formatting a partition or hard drive erases all data permanently. Back up important files to another drive before formatting.

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