Format a Unit from the File Browser on Windows 10 and 11 it is too simple a task. Generally, we use it for secondary disks or USB devices, it is something we can do without complicating things too much and best of all, we do not need third-party programs. Windows provides us with all the tools we need to do it in the best possible way.
Format a drive from Windows 11 File Explorer
It is very important that we make a backup of all the data that we have on the drive that 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 are going to have to make sure that the disk we want to format is connected and is recognized by Windows. For this we will right click on “Start” and then we will click on the “File Explorer”. Obviously, we can open File Explorer directly from a folder.
After opening the File Explorer, we will have to click on “This PC” in the left sidebar. We will click with the right button on the unit that we want to format in the “Devices and units” section, then we will click on “Format” in the menu that appears.
What format options do we have?
After the format window opens, we will have a wide variety of options, we will try to explain them in detail below:
- Capacity: obviously the capacity would be the space that remains on said hard drive after formatting. Here we must consider that the formatting process takes up some space on the drive.
- File system: This would be the data structure that decides how files are stored on the drive. There are three data systems to choose from: FAT32, NTFS, and exFAT. If we want to use the drive for an operating system like MacOS and Windows, we will have to use exFAT. For Windows 10 or 11, we will use the NTFS system. FAT32 is limited to 4GB 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. Tweaking this was something users decided to do long ago when all that existed were slow drives. At present 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 root folder are deleted. Which means that the data is still on the drive and can be recovered; however, while we are using the disk, this excess data is being overwritten. On the other hand, if we do a complete format (it takes longer) Windows will try to find the bad sectors and write zeros in each of them; in this way it removes all the data and makes it impossible to recover.
Format a drive quickly and easily
We already have all the options configured so it is simply time to press “Start” to begin formatting. We will see a warning message, something normal and we will have to click “Accept”.
The time it takes to format will vary depending on the size of the drive and the type of formatting we choose. The fast one, generally does not take more than 2 minutes at most, the complete one can take a long time so a lot of patience.