Have you ever asked yourself what happens when you format a hard drive? It is a common question and one that most people wonder about. Of course, the first thought that comes to mind is data loss. Although you are not completely wrong in thinking this, there’s a lot more to drive formatting than this.
Before proceeding further, it is important to note that formatting a hard drive is essential when facing drive-related issues, selling your computer, etc. You can reformat hard drives on Mac or Windows to overcome drive-related problems or to ensure there’s no data left when you trade in or sell your old computer. The latter being essential in the digital age where data is incredibly important.
For the less tech savvy folk out there, you will want to continue reading below to understand what formatting is and what exactly happens when a hard drive is formatted.
Hard drive formatting refers to deleting all the saved data on the drive and choosing a file system to get the newly available space ready for the operating system.
Through formatting, you can prepare your data storage devices like Solid-State Drives (SSDs) and Hard-Disk Drives (HDDs) for initial use. In some instances, formatting creates one or more new file systems.
Formatting is divided into three parts. In the first part of the process, you will be performing basic media preparations, and this is called low-level formatting. The second part of the process is partitioning the disk and making it visible to the operating system. Finally, the process’ third part is advanced formatting, which refers to the methods of creating new file systems.
In some Operating Systems (OSs), you can repeat or combine all the processes or parts of it at different levels. This is why formatting happens to a new drive or disk and allows it to be prepared for storing data and files.
Most hard disks are formatted at the factory, which means you only need to format your drive when you encounter errors or when you want to sell your hard drive or computer. Keep reading to know what happens when you format a hard drive yourself.
- Enhances device performance
One of the most significant benefits of formatting a hard drive is improving system and device performance. Formatting helps to reset the drive to ensure the operations are returned to how they were when you first purchased your computer.
But why does formatting improve device and system performance?
Formatting a hard drive means clearing space. If significant storage space is cleared, your system will be able to access more processes and memory commands to function efficiently. To put it simply, the more storage space you have, the better your computer will perform.
Therefore, if your system is experiencing issues from strange bugs or lagging, you can format the drive to help.
Moreover, hard drive formatting helps to tidy the disk by eliminating harmful or unnecessary content. This may include viruses and malware that may have slipped and not been alerted by your antivirus software.
With time, the files installed to run the OS may also become damaged. This may result in an overall system slowdown. By formatting the hard drive, the operating system will be deleted and can be freshly reinstalled. All the errors and malfunctions are removed, and the operating system is restored to functioning optimally.
- Removes all data on the hard drive
Formatting a drive erases all data stored on the drive. One of the primary reasons why people format a drive is to delete all data from the device.
Therefore, if you do not want the files on your device, the quickest way to free up space is to format the drive.
However, if there is essential data on your drive that you don’t want to lose, you must back up all the essential files. This will prevent unplanned data loss.
Take a few minutes to back up your data regularly. You can transfer the files to an external drive or upload them to the cloud. You can set up automatic backups or perform manual backups.
- A way to change or renew the file system
When you format the hard drive, you will notice that you can choose the file system. This means you can modify the file system by formatting the hard drive. For example, if you need to change the file system of the drive from NTFS to EXT2/3/4, you can format the drive in this manner.
This operation cannot be finished if you operate this on Windows Disk Management. Therefore, it would be best if you used a third-party tool to do this. MiniTool Partition Wizard, for instance, is a third-party tool you can use as this program enables users to format their drives to NTFS or exFAT, etc.
Formatting a hard drive means erasing all data, changing the file system, and augmenting the performance of the device and drive. Whenever you encounter storage space problems or want to change the file system, you must format the drive. However, back up your data before formatting the drive or risk losing essential files. We hope this post was helpful!