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How do you Initialize new Disks?

how to initialize a new disk using Disk Management

How to initialize a new disk using Disk Management

If you add a brand new disk to your PC and it doesn’t show up in File Explorer, you might need to¬†add a drive letter, or initialize it before using it. You can only initialize a drive that’s not yet formatted. Initializing a disk erases everything on it and prepares it for use by Windows, after which you can format it and then store files on it.

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Warning

If your disk already has files on it that you care about, don’t initialize it – you’ll lose all the files.

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To initialize new disks

1. Open Disk Management with administrator permissions.

To do so, in the search box on the taskbar, type Disk Management, select and hold (or right-click) Disk Management, then select Run as administrator > Yes. If you can’t open it as an administrator, type Computer Management instead, and then go to Storage > Disk Management.

2. In Disk Management, right-click the disk you want to initialize, and then click Initialize Disk (shown here). If the disk is listed as Offline, first right-click it and select Online.

Note that some USB drives don’t have the option to be initialized, they just get formatted and a drive letter.

 

how to initialize a new disk using Disk Management
3. In the Initialize Disk dialog box (shown here), check to make sure that the correct disk is selected and then click OK to accept the default partition style.

The disk status briefly changes to Initializing and then to the Online status.

4. Select and hold (or right-click) the unallocated space on the drive and then select New Simple Volume.

5. Select Next, specify the size of the volume (you’ll likely want to stick with the default, which uses the whole drive), and then select Next.

6. Specify the drive letter you want to assign to the volume and then select Next.

7. Specify the file system you want to use (usually NTFS), select Next, and then Finish.

About partition styles - GPT and MBR

Disks can be divided up into multiple chunks called partitions. Each partition – even if you have only one – has to have a partition style – GPT or MBR. Windows uses the partition style to understand how to access the data on the disk.

As fascinating as this probably isn’t, the bottom line is that these days, you don’t usually have to worry about partition style – Windows automatically uses the appropriate disk type.

Most PCs use the GUID Partition Table (GPT) disk type for hard drives and SSDs. GPT is more robust and allows for volumes bigger than 2 TB. The older Master Boot Record (MBR) disk type is used by 32-bit PCs, older PCs, and removable drives such as memory cards.

To convert a disk from MBR to GPT or vice versa, you first have to delete all volumes from the disk, erasing everything on the disk.

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