How to format a hard drive in Windows, macOS, or Ubuntu

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Want to format a hard drive on your PC or Mac? Here are some good tips for performing the operation. Whether you’re on Windows, Linux, or macOS, follow the guide.

Windows, macOS and Ubuntu: format a hard drive that does not contain an operating system

Formatting a hard drive that does not contain an operating system is the simplest case. Obviously, this action is completely irreversible, which is why we advise you to back up files that might be deleted before you start.

Under Windows

  • Go to File Explorer and select the hard drive you want to format
  • Right click and click Format …


  • Choose NTFS as the file system, then click Start
  • Confirm.

NB: if you erase a hard drive due to errors, slowdowns or strange behavior of the system, we advise you to try beforehand to launch your search for malware. For this, we advise you the excellent AdwCleaner tool for Windows that you can get through this article.

On Mac

  • Go to the magnifying glass at the top right of your screen, and type Disk Utility.
  • In the left column, select the volume to format
  • Go to the tab Wipe off
  • Choose the file system and a nameFormat macOS disk
  • Click on Wipe off
  • Confirm

Under Ubuntu

On Ubuntu, the operation requires running a program – here it is gparted but we could use another open source tool – with administrator privileges. To do this, you need to go briefly through the terminal:

  • From your desktop, simultaneously type Ctrl + Alt + T to open a terminal window
A terminal window in Ubuntu
A terminal window in Ubuntu
  • Check that gparted is well installed

sudo apt-get install gparted

  • Once gparted installed, launch the tool with administrator privileges

sudo gparted


  • Choose at the top right the drive you want to format
  • Click on the partition you want to format or erase partitions one by one with the key Delete from your keyboard


  • Format the free space by right clicking on it, then Format in then the format of your choice.

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