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How to Erase and Format a Hard Drive  October 19, 2015 – 10:52 am

How to Erase and Format a Hard DriveWhether you're selling your computer, trying a new operating system, or setting up an external drive for backups, sometimes you need to completely erase and format a hard drive. Here are the basic steps involved.

File Systems Explained

When you first set up a hard drive for use with a computer, you have to format it using a file system. Different operating systems (like Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux) use different file systems to organize and store data, so you need to use the file system most applicable for your needs. Here are a few of the more popular file systems you'll see:

  • NTFS: This is Windows' default file system. Windows can read and write to NTFS-formatted drives. OS X and Linux can only read NTFS-formatted drives, but not write to them—unless you have a third-party driver like NTFS-3G installed.
  • FAT32: FAT32 is an older file system.How to Erase and Format a Hard Drive You can't install newer versions of Windows on a FAT32 system, but it can be handy for external drives since it can be read and written to by Windows, OS X, and Linux. However, it has one major downside: You can only store files 4GB or smaller on a FAT32 drive, which means it isn't ideal for large files like movies.
  • ExFAT: ExFAT is less commonly used, but is similar to FAT32 without the downsides. Both Windows and OS X can read and write ExFAT-formatted drives, and it can store files over 4GB. This makes it ideal for flash drives.
  • HFS Plus: Also known as Mac OS Extended, this is OS X's default file system. OS X can read and write to it. If you're running Windows on your Mac with Boot Camp, you can read HFS Plus drives, but not write to them. A third party tool like Paragon HFS+ will allow any Windows system to read and write to HFS Plus drives.
How to Erase and Format a Hard Drive How to Erase and Format a Hard Drive

Source: lifehacker.com

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