Format an External Disk with Windows XP Disk Management

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How to format an external USB2 disk with Windows XP

The steps are:

* Create an extended partition for the whole of the disk.  This is just an envelope to hold the disk partitions within.
* Create any number of "logical drive" partitions within the extended partition.  Each of these will be given a drive letter within Windows. You can choose how big each one is.

Here is a tutorial taking you through the steps

1) First open the disk management tool, by right-clicking on "My Computer" and selecting "Manage".

2) When you select the "disk management" section, you will see all your disks, as shown below.

3) Right click on the new disk (you should see that it is unallocated) and select "New Partition"

4) Choose to make the partition an extended partition

5) Now right click in the new extended partition (shown in green) and select "New Logical Drive":

6) Choose "Logical Drive"

7) Choose the size in Mega Bytes.  If you want to use FAT32 format then you must choose 32000 or less.  If you are going to use NTFS then you can specify any size. See step 9 to explain FAT32 verses NTFS.

8) Choose the drive letter to assign... the next free is shown by default.  It can be a good idea to use something higher in the alphabet like "R" so that it doesn't affect the letters assigned to removable items like flash memory readers.

9) We recommend you choose NTFS as the format, as its the best available for Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

If you want the disk to be used with Windows 98 or Me, then you need to select "FAT32" as the format.  This option is only available if you are making the partition less than 32GB.

You can give the disk a label that appears in Windows Explorer... below we show the label as "External"

We recommend you choose "Perform a Quick Format" so the formatting is done in about 20 secs.  Otherwise the formatting can take several hours.

10) Once its finished you should see the disks format displayed (NTFS as shown below)


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