How to Format a Western Digital SATA Hard Drive


Western Digital (WD) markets SATA (serial advanced technology attachment) hard drives that need to be formatted when being installed in your computer. Formatting the SATA drive prepares the drive for use as a file storage medium. For single hard drive installations, the formatting operation is performed by Windows when Windows is installed onto the new hard drive. As a second hard drive, or when creating separate partitions on the WD SATA drive, the partition is formatted through Disk Management.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows installation disk

Windows Vista

  • Insert your Windows Vista DVD into your DVD-ROM drive, then restart your computer.

  • Follow the installation prompts until you get to the "Where do you want to install Windows?" screen.

  • Select "Disk 0" and then click "Next." Windows Vista will install, partition and format the hard drive.

Windows XP

  • Insert your Windows XP CD into your CD-ROM drive, then restart your computer.

  • Follow the installation prompts until you get to the partitioning option screen.

  • Press the "C" key on the keyboard to create the partition. The hard drive will be partitioned and formatted, then the Windows installation will continue.

Format a Partition

  • Boot Windows to the desktop, then click "Start."

  • Right-click "Computer" (or "My Computer"), then click "Manage."

  • Click "Disk Management." Wait a moment for the list to populate.

  • Right-click the volume you wish to format, then select "Format."

  • Click to put a check in "Perform a quick format" if you wish a quick format. Otherwise, leave the box empty. Click "OK."

Tips & Warnings

  • All data will be erased during a format. Back up your data to an external storage medium before performing a disk format.

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  • Photo Credit Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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