How To's

How to Format a Hard Drive from BIOS

Written by William

It is necessary to format your hard drive to reinstall Windows. Formatting a drive from the BIOS screen is accomplished by changing the settings to boot automatically from disk. When the disk is loaded upon restart, you will receive a message asking whether you want to reformat the drive. A Windows disk is required to be able to perform the format since there are no direct methods for formatting through the computer’s BIOS alone.

The format you select for the drive describes the drive’s compatibility. Also, formatting the drive will eradicate all the data currently on the drive, so make sure you have everything backed up. So, here I will describe some methods to format a Hard Drive from BIOS.

Can I Format Hard Drive From BIOS?

Most of the users ask for how to format a hard disk from BIOS. The truth is we can’t! Actually, we cannot format any drive or partition directly from the BIOS setting. BIOS is an integral part of the computer and is the program that is made accessible to the microprocessor on an erasable programmable read-only memory chip. It also determines whether all of the attachments are in place and operational when you boot up the PC. In addition, it also loads the operating system into your computer’s random-access memory from the hard drive. You should know that BIOS only supports detecting the hard drive and allows you to boot the computer from it.

Now, it is clear that we cannot format hard drive from BIOS, then why plenty of users still wonder if there is any method? The reasons are as follows:

  • To format the system partition or system disk for some reason. If a computer is booted from hard drive, it is impossible to format system partition/disk because the OS is installed on this drive.
  • Due to the reinstallation of the operating system. Reinstalling operating systems requires format C partition and this format cannot be executed if a computer is booted normally.
  • When something goes wrong with the bootable partition and the computer is unable to boot from it properly.

Although you are not allowed to format hard drive from BIOS, you can boot your Windows 10 PC from bootable CD/DVD or USB flash drive by changing BIOS settings and then perform formatting. Here are 2 effective ways to perform this.

Use Windows Installation Media to Format a Hard Drive From BIOS

You can make use of Windows installation media (a USB drive or DVD) to install a new copy of Windows, and to perform a clean installation or reinstall Windows 10. One can also format the system partition using Windows installation media.

To create the Windows installation media, you need the help of the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. If you have created installation media using this tool, either a bootable USB flash drive or the ISO file burned to a DVD, then just keep reading. With the installation media in your hand, you can format hard drive from BIOS via Command Prompt or during Windows installation. Let’s explore the steps.

Format Via Command Prompt

With Windows installation media, you can choose to format the system partition via Command Prompt. You can format it successfully with several simple commands, but things might be a little complicated when you try to find the system partition in Command Prompt.

  1. Firstly, boot your PC from this installation media by setting it as the boot drive in BIOS.
  2. Once Windows Setup loads, you will be presented with a Windows Setup window. You need to set your preferred Language, Time and current format, and Keyboard, then click Next.
  3. After that, click Repair your computer.
  4. Now, select Troubleshoot option.
  5. Then, you will get advanced options on the following page, just click Command Prompt to open it.
  6. You need to find the system partition first because the system partition might be shown with another drive letter here instead of letter C. To do that, just type the following commands one by one and press Enter key after typing each command:
    a. diskpart (to enter diskpart.exe)
    b. list volume (to list all the existing volume)
    c. exit (to exit diskpart.exe)
    d. dir F: (to list the directory of the selected volume. F: can be replaced with the drive letter of any existing volume.)
  7. After finding the system partition, enter format F: /fs:ntfs (F should be the drive letter of the system partition you have found) and press Enter to format it to NTFS. Normally, we recommend formatting the system partition to the NTFS file system rather than FAT32 or exFAT for its better stability and higher security.
  8. When you are prompted with a warning that you will lose all data on the selected volume, type Y and press Enter to confirm the formatting. Then you just need to wait until the process is completed.

Format During Windows Installation

Alternately, one can format system partition while choosing to install Windows with installation media. A detailed guide is provided for you as well.

    1. When you get the following interface after finishing Step 1 and 2 mentioned above, select Install now instead of Repair your computer.
    2. Now, you will get pages that require you to Enter Your Windows Product Key and Accept the License Terms. Just do as the messages prompt.
    3. Select the Custom installation when you get the following page.
    4. You will get the following interface directly and all the partitions of the installed drive(s) will be detected and displayed here. To format the system partition, you should select the partition first, then click the Format option.
    5. Here, you will get the following warning message after clicking Format, just click OK button to continue. After that, the system will be formatted successfully.
Wrapping Up

The above blog is describing the best ways to format a Hard Drive from BIOS. As we cannot format any drive or partition directly from the BIOS setting, so you can boot your Windows 10 PC from bootable CD/DVD or USB flash drive by changing the BIOS settings and then perform formatting. I hope it helps.

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