How to format large hard drives

Modern operating systems handle large hard drives flawlessly, but other systems, as recent as Windows XP, need special attention when formatting hard drives larger than 32 gigabytes. Users installing Windows XP with FAT32 file system would get an error while trying to format these big partitions. With storage cheap though, large hard drives are now the norm. Windows XP users still need to follow a specific routine when formatting their hard drives. Instructions
Backup all existing data that needs to be saved. Formatting the drive will destroy all existing data, so save this data to an external device such as a USB flash drive or DVD.

Determine the file system for the drive. The FAT32 file system has several limitations as the disk capacity grows. Microsoft now recommends the NTFS file system as it is more robust and secure.

Click “Start”, select “All Programs”, select “Accessories”, click “Administrative Tools” and choose the option “Computer Management”.

Select the “Disk Management” item from the computer management tree on the left side of the Computer Management console window. A list of drives connected to the computer will appear.

right-click the drive to be formatted. Select “Format” from the context menu. A format dialog will appear. Select the file system as chosen above and click “OK” to begin. Click “OK” again when prompted with the format warning. The format will start and a notification will appear when complete.

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