Knowing how to format an SDD properly saves you from the risk of having viruses destroy your system. On top of that, your data cannot be recovered by any other party that is using that SSD later on and you can get rid of useless programs/corrupt files in one go.
Formatting an SSD means getting rid of everything stored on the Solid State Drive. Essentially, you might want to do this when you are selling the SSD (or your entire system). You might also want to do this if you are going to replace your SSD with a better model, or you want to remove any viruses/malware from your PC.
Lastly, it is also possible that you have bought a used SSD (or taken one out of your old system) and you want to transfer Windows to your SSD, for which a blank state is ideal. Once you learn how to format an SSD for Windows 10, you will be able to enjoy the massive increase that it brings in performance. This is especially true if you are switching over from old SATA drives, which are now being phased out of production.
Considerations Before Formatting an SSD
While they’re both partitioned similarly, SSDs and HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) have a fundamentally different makeup. This means that to know how to format an SSD, you can’t rely on past knowledge or experience of doing the same for an HDD.
Practically, this translates to selecting Quick Format instead of Full Format when prompted. Not doing so results in shortening the lifespan of your Solid State Drive, owing to its limitations when it comes to running a full read-write cycle.
You should also opt for TRIM support if offered by your system, especially while learning how to format a new SSD, since TRIM does for the SSD what defragmenting does for HDDs, ensuring properly managed files, and removing of redundant and useless data.
Of course, as is the case before formatting any drive of any kind, you should backup important data on the SSD since all data will be deleted during the format.
How to Format an SSD
If you have a Windows Computer, here is the 5-step process that you can follow to format an SSD.
- From the Start button or Search bar, navigate to the Control Panel and select System and Security.
- In System and Security, go to Administrative Tools, then Computer Management, and finally Disk Management. (An alternative to both these steps is to go to the Run function (usually by typing Ctrl+R on your keyboard) and typing diskmgmt.msc to directly load Disk Management).
- Right-click on SSD you want to format. From the menu that appears, select Format.
- In the Format dialog box, select the File System you want (NTFS or FAT), enter the Allocation Unit Size (traditionally 9026 on a default setting, although you might want to research this based on your specific needs), and again, remember to check the Quick Format option.
- Click OK and let your computer do the rest. If your computer is jammed up and slow, it’s best not to run any programs in parallel with this process.
Common Problems When Formatting an SSD
It’s important to remember that this process will not work unless you have partitioned your SSD first – a problem people run into when trying to format an M.2 SSD. For this, you can Right-click on the SSD in the same way as Step 3 and select ‘New Simple Volume’.
Alternatively, if you want to set up Windows on your SSD, simply disconnecting the HDD and running the bootable Windows installation will send it to the SSD by default.
Also remember that if you are not able to format your SSD and run into problems such as the ‘The Format Did Not Complete Successfully’ message, you can try using third-party programs such as EaseUS Partition Manager. These programs usually get the job done.