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How to format a newly installed hard drive on Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7

Updated on December 22, 2011
Photographer: Chris Sharp
Photographer: Chris Sharp

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When a new drive is installed, it cannot be used until it is formatted. While some new drives come formatted, it is a good idea to format the drive when it is obtained in the event that unwanted or stray data is on the drive as a result of the drive assembly line. Reformatting the drive also gives you the opportunity to enable compression, maximizing your disk space.


This is the simple method using only a single partition and using all the drive space without any encryption. The drive hardware has been installed successfully. You are running the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 or Microsoft Windows 7 any edition operating system. You have a basic understanding of “click”, right-click, dialog boxes, and how to use the Microsoft Windows Operating System.

What is needed?

There are no special tools required.

The complete process

1. Click the “Start” button on the Windows menu bar
2. Right-click on “Computer”
3. Click “Storage” in the Computer Manager dialog box
4. Click “Disk Management” in the drop down tree

The new disk will identify itself (i.e. Disk 1). Make sure it is checked and that “MBR” is selected in the dialog box. This initializes the new disk.

5. Press “OK”
6. Right-Click the disk you just initialized (i.e. Disk 1)
7. Choose “New Simple Volume”
8. After the New Simple Volume window appears, Click “Next”
9. Maximum disk space and simple volume size should be the same

Remember that in the assumptions, we are formatting a simple, single disk with no special partitions or options, which is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

10. Click “Next”
11. Make note of the new drive letter, (i.e. “E”) and click “Next”
12. Click the checkbox next to “Enable Quick Format”
13. Click the checkbox next to “Enable file and disk compression”
14. Click “Next”
15. Click “Finish”
16. Wait for the drive to finish formatting.

Exit the Computer Management window and your new drive is now ready to use.


· Formatting your hard drive will erase all data on that drive
· Don’t turn of the computer while formatting the drive


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