How to Format a 2TB My Passport External Hard Drive on a PC

By C. Taylor

Format drives in ExFAT or NTFS in Windows 8.1.
i Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Western Digital partitions the 2TB My Passport external hard drives into a single NTFS partition which is optimized for Windows operating systems. This single partition makes reformatting the drive possible through Windows 8's Disk Management utility without needing to create a new volume. However, you should back up any important data on the drive before reformatting it. After the format is completed, any data on the drive will be lost.

Step 1

Connect the 2TB My Passport drive to your computer using the USB cable.

Step 2

Press "Win-X" to open Windows 8's utility menu and select "Disk Management." Alternatively, right-click the lower left corner of the screen and select "Disk Management."

Step 3

Right-click the external drive's letter from either pane in Disk Management and select "Format."

Step 4

Click the "File System" drop-down menu and select "NTFS" if you plan to use the drive only in Windows operating systems. If you also need to use the drive on a Mac, select "exFAT." Optionally, enter a name for the drive in the Volume Label field. This name helps identify the drive in File Explorer.

Step 5

Uncheck "Perform a Quick Format" to ensure that you thoroughly erase data on the drive. Disabling this option will greatly increase the format time. Keep this option checked if you're not worried about security and desire a fast reformat.

Step 6

Click "OK" to format the drive. Depending on your previous selection and your computer speed, formatting could take seconds or hours.