How to format your hard drive


A hard drive can be used on any type of computer - PC or Mac. But in order for the computer and drive to talk to one another, the drive has to be formatted. This article explains.

A hard drive can be used on any type of computer - PC or Mac. But in order for the computer and drive to talk to one another, the drive has to be formatted.

Seagate external drives come preformatted, some for PCs, some for Macs, and some, like GoFlex drives, have special features to allow it to work between both. So if you buy the right drive for your computer, you do not have to do anything else. Just connect the drive to your computer and it will work.
Seagate internal drives must be formatted before use. Drives that will be bootable are formatted during the process of installing the operating system (ie, Windows or MacOS). Drives that will be used for storage can be formatted according to the instructions below.

Or, if you have a drive that is formatted for a different type of computer or a drive that is not preformatted, you will need to format the drive before you can use it.

a Formatting erases all data on the drive. So if you are formatting a drive that has already been used, be sure to copy any files you will ever want to see again onto a computer or backup drive.

Formatting your drive in Windows 7/Vista

  1. Right-click on the Computer icon.
  2. Click Manage.
  3. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. In the pane on the left, under Storage, click Disk Management.
  5. Right-click the drive that you want to format - be sure it is the correct drive - then click Format.
  6. To format with the default settings, in the Format dialog box, click OK, and then click OK again.
    See more information at the Microsoft Support Knowledge Base.

Formatting your drive in Windows XP

  1. Right-click on the My Computer icon.
  2. Click Manage.
  3. In the pane on the left, under Storage, click Disk Management.
  4. Right-click on the drive you want to format. Be sure it is the correct drive.
  5. If you want, you can type a name for the drive in the Volume Label box. This is an optional step.
  6. Click the file system that you want to use in the File System box. You can also change the disk allocation unit size, specify whether you want to perform a quick format, or enable file and folder compression on NTFS volumes.
    Before changing the default allocation unit size, please refer to Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 314878.
  7. Click OK. When you are prompted to format the drive, click OK again.
    See more information at the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 309000.

Formatting your drive in MacOS

  1. Open Disk Utility by clicking Finder.
  2. Select Applications (if necessary).
  3. Select Utilities.
  4. Select Disk Utility.
  5. Select the drive you want to format. Be sure it is the correct drive.
  6. Go to the Partition tab.
  7. Click on the Current Volume Scheme drop-down menu and select One (1) partition (unless you want more than one partition for a specific reason).
  8. Select Options.
  9. Click on the GUID Partition Table radio button.
    Use MBR (Master Boot Record) rather than GUID Partition type if reformatting a GoFlex Satellite drive.
  10. Click OK. Select other options as desired (e.g., Volume Name, Format, etc).
  11. Click Apply. The Partition Disk screen opens.
  12. Select Partition. At this point, the volume dismounts from the desktop and the drive is partitioned and formatted.
     When Volumes are created, Time Machine may open, asking if you would like to use the volume for backups. You may choose to continue with Time Machine setup, or cancel.
  13. When finished, select the Disk Utility from the Apple menu and choose Quit Disk Utility.




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