Whenever we buy an external hard disk drive, it is usually a read to use and plug n play disk drive. Once you plug in the external hard disk drive, the Windows OS immediately tracks it and it there on your system ready to use with an additional letter for this drive. Mostly, these are already configured as a single unlabelled partition that uses FAT32 file system. If this is the case, you need not to do anything now as it is already done for you. However, in case you are interested to make changes in what you have, then there are tools available in the Windows OS which you must make use of. Follow the following steps.
1. Right click on your 'My Computer' icon on your desk top and then click on Manage. This will take you to Computer Management dialogue box. On the left side panel of this dialogue box, under the heading 'Storage', click on the 'Disk Management'. Now you will find a new small window, where all the volumes of your system drives with the capital letters arranged in alphabetical order will appear. Below you will find the graphical representation of the physical disk drives with the colour legends royal blue for your logical drives and some other colours for primary partition and extended partition.
2. You have to first remove the existing partition. Right click on the Drive letter in the lower pane, and you will get a dropdown menu with items like Open, Explpore, Mark Partition as Active, Change Drive Letter and Paths ..., Format..., Delete Partition..., Properties and Help. Make a note that the next step has to be performed very carefully because you are going to delete everything from the drive.
3. Click on delete partition. The word 'healthy' written under the drive letter will change to 'Unallocated'.
4. Now start the partition process. Right click the drive again. You will find that the earlier option 'Delete Partition' has now changed to 'New Partition'. Click on this to setup the new partition. You will be asked to select "Primary" or "Extended" partition. There is no need to click on "Extended Partition" unless you want to make more than 4 partitions which is usually not done. Now you will be asked about the space to be allocated to the new partition which you will be creating. Normally we allocate the entire space to a single partition, but if you like you can allocate less than the maximum space. This is done to have a space for additional partitions on the same hard disk. Each partition when formatted will appear as its own logical disk (C:, D:, E: and so on).
5. Now it is the time to format your new partition and once formatted, it will appear as 'Healthy' and any left over space will continued to be shown as 'Unallocated'. You have to now repeat the same partitioning process on the 'unallocated space' until your entire drive is allocated.
6. Finally you have to format your drive. Remember that formatting deletes everything on the drive. So ensure that you have to taken the backups of your database at any time you think of formatting your drive. Right click on the drive you want to format and click on the format item and press OK. You will get a dialogue box if you are formatting drive E: where it will appear the name of your drive and Volume level, File System NFTS and Allocation unit size ad 'Default'. There will be two small white boxes for you to tick either 'Perform a quick format' or 'Enable file and folder compression' and the OK and cancel button. Now look at these options one by one before you click on OK button:
Volume Label - Whatever the Volume Level name you give here will appear whenever your disk is displayed in Windows Explorer. This is done for convenience of identifying the disks by name in stead of by the drive letter. Moreover the volume label will appear the same on whatever machine use, especially in case of external drives which are used on different systems.
File System - The usual recommended file system is NTFS except when you have to use the disk in the older versions of windows or non-windows systems. NFTS system is not only considered to be faster but it also offers additional security features like file permissions and is good for larger disks of today.
Allocation Unit Size - This can left as 'Default'.
Perform a Quick Format - This is usually recommended since it writes only the bare minimum information for the configuration of the new disk. It takes a comparatively less time to format.
Enable file and folder compression - It has been observed that compressing and decompressing of files is no more significant with today's fast processors. Most of the users usually leave this option unchecked.
7. Finally click on the OK button and your drives will be formatted within minutes.
"Teaching is my passion & sharing of knowledge is my motto"
Lead Editor & Platinum Member at ISC