How to Format a Secondary or External Hard Drive in Windows XP

By Techwalla Contributor

You need to format a secondary internal or external hard drive when you add it to your computer system. Whether you are installing the secondary drive internally, or simply plugging it in via a USB port, formatting the drive ensures compatibility with the rest of your computer system and prepares it for whatever storage needs you deem necessary.

Step 1

Install your secondary drive internally or plug it externally into your computer system via an available USB port.

Step 2

Format your drive through Disk Management in the Computer Management Console in Windows XP. Right-click on the "My Computer" icon on your desktop and choose "Manage," or go to "Start" > "Settings" > "Control Panel" > "Administrative Tools" > "Computer Management."

Step 3

Right-click on your new drive in the Computer Management Console and choose "Format."

Step 4

Click "Yes" if you are sure you are ready to format.

Step 5

Choose a File System (NTFS is ideal most cases) and give the new volume a name if you choose. You might like to call it something like "Portable Drive," or "Removable Drive." If not, just take the defaults and click "OK."

Step 6

Click "OK" to proceed passed one last warning that you are about to format your drive and erase all data. When you see the process has reached 100 percent, you are done and you're new external hard drive is ready to use.