How to use DiskPart to wipe and format a drive on Windows 10
Learn how to use Windows built-in disk partitioning tool to manage your drives. Drives that fail due to logical or physical problems is a normal thing. Unfortunately, there is no clear way to know when or how a drive might fail.
What we can try, however, is to make a damaged storage drive usable. This is where DiskPart comes in. Here’s how you can use DiskPart to wipe, format, and partition a ready-to-use drive.
What is DiskPart?
DiskPart is a command line utility provided by Microsoft with Windows. In other words, DiskPart is built into every Windows machine, so you don’t need to download it separately.
DiskPart allows you to wipe data on a local or external drive, format the drives in a filesystem of your choice, and create new volumes from an existing storage block. Now, since DiskPart is a command line tool, you need to know some commands to use it.
How to format a drive using DiskPart
Although physical problems can never be corrected with a software tool, logical problems can be solved by formatting. Formatting a drive involves cleaning the drive, deleting all data on the drive, and formatting the drive to a file system of your choice. The process is simple but involves unrecoverable data loss, therefore back up your files before proceeding.
1. Open DiskPart and select a disk
Open DiskPart by typing diskpart in the Start menu search bar, then selecting the best match. A command prompt window will open with DiskPart already selected.
Once the command line window opens, type list disk and hit enter. You will see a list of all available discs appear on the screen. You will see the disk name in the first column, the status in the next column, and the size and free space in the subsequent columns. You can ignore the last two columns as they will be blank if your disk is working properly.
In the list, find the drive you want to format. You can find the unit by size. If you do not know the size, remove the drive, rerun the command list disk and write down the disk numbers of the first column. Plug the drive back in, run the command, and you’ll see a new disk number in the list. This is your unit, so make a note of the number.
Now choose the drive by typing select disk DISK-NUMBER, replacing DISK-NUMBER with the actual disk number you previously noted from the list. For example, if I want to select Disk 2, as shown in the following image, I will type the command as select disk 2 . Finally, hit enter.
A confirmation message will appear informing you that the storage drive is selected. To check this, type list disk and hit enter. The drive list that appears will mark the selected drive with an asterisk in front of the unit number.
If you want to change the drive, repeat the select command with the disk number.
2. Clean and partition the drive Now, before formatting, make sure you have backed up your data. Next, type clean
and hit enter. This will erase all data from your drive. Once DiskPart has successfully cleaned the drive, you will see a message on the screen. After cleaning the drive, you are ready to format it.
One more thing before moving on to formatting: you need to partition the drive before you can use it again. After cleaning the drive, the computer will no longer recognize the drive as a storage drive. Then, you need to partition it into one or more blocks for the computer to recognize the device.
You should also consider partitioning the storage drive into multiple file systems if you will be using it with different operating systems. For example, you can partition one part of the storage space as exFat for Windows and another part as macOS extended partition for use with Macs. But for now, let’s just partition the drive into a storage block. Then, type create partition primary The create part pri
and press Enter. This partitions the drive into a block. After partitioning, be sure to activate the partition as your computer can only use an active partition. Then, type active
and hit enter. This will make the partition you just created an active partition.
3. Format the drive with a new filesystem Finally, you can now format the drive. Input format fs= FILE-SYSTEM label=DRIVE-LABEL rapido
and press Enter. Make sure to replace FILE-SYSTEM with the filesystem of your choice (such as NTFS, FAT or exFAT) and LABEL with the drive name. For example, if you are formatting a removable USB drive to hold music, replace FILE-SYSTEM with “exfat” and LABEL with “Music”.
A confirmation message will appear informing you that the drive has been formatted.
Assign a letter to the new drive
The final step in the process is to assign a letter to the storage drive. Windows needs these letters to view the drives in File Explorer. In most cases, the letters “C”, “D” and “E” are already used by the internal storage devices. So, choose a different one. In any case, be sure to assign a letter that is not already used by your internal drives. Enter the assignment letter = DRIVE-LETTER,
replacing DRIVE-LETTER with “f” and press Enter. You will receive a confirmation message informing you that the letter has been assigned. Now check that you have done everything correctly by typing list volume and press Enter. The newly formatted drive will have an asterisk in front and will reflect all properties specified during the process. Close the DiskPart command line utility by typing
and pressing enter. Formatting works only for logical problems
Unfortunately, we can’t solve all storage problems with formatting. If the drive is repeatedly damaged or does not appear after formatting, this may indicate a hardware failure. And no one can fix a hardware problem with a software tool.
Unfortunately, this means that you will have to spend some money and buy a new unit.