How to Format a RAW Drive

by Gregory Hamel
Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images

Installing an extra hard drive in a computer can increase storage space for personal files and other data, but new drives must be formatted before they can be used. A new hard drive contains RAW storage space: unformatted space that cannot be used to save computer files. Before you can format RAW space you may need to create a disk partition, which is an area of disk space set aside to be formatted and assigned a drive letter.

Step 1

Click "Start," right-click "Computer," click "Manage," then "Disk Management."

Step 2

Right-click on the unallocated space on the hard drive in the list and choose "New Simple Volume" if you need to create a partition on the drive. If you do not need to create a new partition, skip to the "format" step.

Step 3

Click "Next," type in the amount of disk space you want to allocate to the partition, click "Next," then choose a drive letter for the partition.

Step 4

Click "Next," choose "Do not format this volume" if you do not want to format the partition immediately or simply click "Next" to have Disk Management immediately format the new partition with default settings and then click "Finish."

Step 5

Right-click on an unformatted partition in the Disk Management window and choose "Format."

Click "OK," then "OK" again to format the partition with default settings. Do not change default formatting settings unless you are an advanced user.


  • You may format a disk that has already been formatted (called reformatting), but doing so will erase the data currently stored on the disk you are reformatting.
  • According to Microsoft, the best choice for hard disk formats in Windows 7 is NTFS.


Photo Credits

  • Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images

About the Author

Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.

More Articles