If you are adding a hard drive to your computer, you may need to format it for the operating system before you can use it.
It’s easy to do using the utilities found on Windows and Mac computers, and the process is the same whether you are formatting an internal drive installed on a desktop computer or an external drive connected to a desktop or laptop computer.
Keep in mind that when formatting your hard drive, it erases all files and it may be difficult or impossible to restore them. And be careful with this and always make sure you choose the correct hard drive in the format utility.
How to format a hard drive on Windows:
1. In the search box on the start button, type “Disk Management” as shown in the following figure.
2. In the search results, select “Create and format hard disk partitions”.
3. In the list of hard drives, right-click the drive you want to format. In the popup menu, choose “Format”.
4. In the reformatting window, choose the file system you want to use. Typically, you’ll need NTFS, which is the default Windows setup. Make sure to select the “Perform a quick format” tab as you can see in the image below.
5. When you are ready to format the drive, click OK.
How to format a hard drive on a Mac:
1. In the Finder menu, click “Go”, then in the drop-down menu, choose “Utilities”.
2. In the Utilities folder, select “Disk Utility”.
3. In the right pane of the Disk Utility window, click the drive you want to format, as shown in the following figure.
4. At the top of the window, click “Erase”.
5. In the pop-up window, choose the file system you want to use. Usually, you will need ExFAT, which is the default for macOS.
6. When you are ready, click “Erase”.