How to Format a Drive Through DiskPart

By Ken White

DiskPart is a Windows command line utility that serves as an alternative to the Disk Management program in Windows 7. DiskPart lets you partition, format or resize disks, like Disk Management, but has additional functionality to perform actions on disks that are unavailable in Disk Management. These actions inlcude placing a new partition at a specific location on the hard drive. Also unlike Disk Management, DiskPart does not automatically assign a disk letter to new partitions and drives.

Step 1

Click the "Start" menu, then type "diskpart" in the search bar. Press Enter or click "DiskPart.exe" in the search results.

Step 2

Type "list volume" and press Enter. The volumes or partitions on your system will appear with a volume number, drive letter, label, file system, type, size and status. If you have only one partition on your hard drive, the volume represents the entire hard disk.

Step 3

Type "select volume" followed by the volume number that you want to format. For example, if the disk is "Volume 3" in the disk list, type "select volume 3" and press Enter. DiskPart responds with "Volume # Is Now the Selected Volume."

Step 4

Type "format fs=quick" to do a quick format with the chosen file system. For example, if you want to format your volume in the NTFS format, type "format fs=ntfs quick" and press Enter.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pay close attention to what you're doing in DiskPart because the utility provides no confirmations or warnings. You can lose data if you format or partition the wrong hard drive.