To format an internal or external hard drive to use for backup or additional storage, the drive needs to be partitioned. Partitioning divides your drive into sections, but you can choose to simply have one partition (a single section encompassing the entire drive).
1. Click Start.
2. Right-click Computer, then click Manage. The "Computer Management" window will open.
3. In the left pane, click Disk Management (under Storage). If your disk is not initialized (as is sometimes the case with brand-new drives), you’ll be prompted to initialize it. If your disk is 2TB or more in size, select GPT; otherwise, stick with MBR.
A list of all connected disk drives is displayed in the center. Unpartitioned drives appear with solid black bars and the label "Unallocated." Partitioned drives appear with solid blue bars and a drive letter.
If your drive isn't partitioned, follow these instructions to partition it. Otherwise, skip down to the next section.
1. Right-click the black bar or the unallocated white space below it and select New Simple Volume… In this case, "Volume" is another term for "partition".
2. Click Next. To create a single, whole-drive partition, make sure the "Simple volume size in MB" value is the same as the "Maximum disk space in MB" value. Click Next.
3. Assign a drive letter of your choice. Click Next.
4. Select Format this volume. For File System, choose NTFS if you’ll be using the drive only with Windows machines. If you will be sharing the information on the drive with Macs, choose exFAT. Keep Allocation unit size at Default. Choose a name for the partition under Volume label. Do not select Perform a quick format or Enable file and folder compression. Click Next.
5. Confirm your selections and click Finish.
If your drive is already partitioned, follow these instructions.
1. Right-click the blue bar or the white space below it and select Format.
2. Choose a name for the partition under Volume label. For File System, choose NTFS if you’ll be using this drive only with Windows machines. If you will be sharing the information on this drive with Macs, choose exFAT. Keep Allocation unit size at Default. Do not select Perform a quick format or Enable file and folder compression. Click OK.
3. Confirm your choices.