How to format a drive from File Explorer in Windows 11

Format a Unit from the File navigator in Windows 10 and 11 it is too easy a task. Generally, we use it for secondary disks or USB devices, it's something we can do without overcomplicating things and, above all, we don't need third-party programs. Windows provides us with all the tools we need to do this as optimally as possible.

Index of contents

Format a drive from Windows 11 File Explorer

It is very important to make a backup copy of all the data we have on the drive we are going to format. The format removes all the data it contains; therefore, it is necessary to make a backup copy, even if it is, of those data that we do not want to lose.

To start, we will have to make sure that the disk we want to format is connected and recognized by Windows. For this we will right click on "Start" and then click on "File Explorer". Obviously, we can open File Explorer directly from a folder.

After opening File Explorer, we will have to click on "This PC" in the left sidebar. We will right-click on the drive that we want to format in the "Devices and drives" section, then we will click on "Format" in the menu that appears.

What size options do we have?

After opening the format window, we will have a wide variety of options, we will try to explain them in detail below:

Format the drive from File Explorer.
  • Capacity: Of course the capacity would be the space left over on said hard drive after formatting. Here we have to consider that the formatting process takes up space on the drive.
  • File System: This would be the data structure that decides how files are stored on the drive. You can choose between three data systems: FAT32, NTFS and exFAT. If we want to use the drive for an operating system such as MacOS and Windows, we will have to use exFAT. For Windows 10 or 11, we will use the NTFS system. FAT32 has a 4GB limit and is clearly not optimal for modern operating systems. In the case of MacOS, exFAT is recommended.
  • Allocation unit size: The size is stable at 4 kilobytes for NFTS by default, which is small. Adjusting this was something users chose to do when all that existed were slow drives. Currently this value can be kept by default without problems.
  • Volume label: in this case it is simply the name we want to give to the unit.
  • Format options: we have a quick format and a full format, if we use the quick format only the file system table and the root folder are deleted. This means the data is still on the drive and can be recovered; however, as we use the disk, this excess data is overwritten. On the other hand, if we do a full format (it takes longer) Windows will try to find bad sectors and write zeros in each of them; in this way it erases all the data and makes it impossible to recover it.

Format a drive easily and quickly

We already have all the options configured, so it's simply time to press "Start" to start the format. We will see a warning message, something normal and we will have to click on "OK".

The time required for formatting varies depending on the size of the drive and the type of formatting we choose. The quick one, generally takes no more than 2 minutes maximum, the full one can take a long time, so be very patient.

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If you want to know other articles similar to How to format a drive from File Explorer in Windows 11 you can visit the category Tutorials.

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