How to format an SSD

Here's how to format an SSD for when you want to install a new operating system, sell it on, give it away or dispose of it. See also: How to format a hard disk

SSDs aren't like traditional mechanical hard drives, and modern versions of Windows are built to copy with their differences. One of the ways you should treat an SSD differently is to avoid defragmenting it. SSDs don't need files to be contiguous to maintain performance, but mechanical hard drives do, because it vastly speeds up transfer time if the heads don't have to skip between completely different physical parts of the platter to retrieve a fragmented file.

SSDs have a limited number of read-write cycles, and defragmenting them with a utility which isn't aware of an SSD's needs is a bad idea.

Similarly, you shouldn't perform a full format on an SSD using the built-in Windows tool. Instead, you should opt for the quick format option, which we'll show you below.

If you want to permanently erase the data on your SSD, head to the manufacturer's website where you should be able to download a tool which will safely erase all the data so it can't be recovered. (See also: Recover deleted files for free: recover lost data.)

How to format an SSD

This guide assumes that your SSD is installed in a PC, or attached to a laptop as a secondary drive via a USB adapter. You'll also need to be logged on as an administrator in order to do this.

Step 1. Open the Control Panel and go to System and Maintenance. Now click administrative tools and double-click on Computer Management. (As a shortcut, you can right-click on My Computer - This Computer in Windows 8 - and click Manage. A faster way in Windows 8 is to right-click on the Start button and choose Disk Management.)

How to format an SSD

Step 2. Click Disk Management in the left-hand pane. If it isn't visible, expand the Storage section of the menu.

Step 3.  Work out which drive is your SSD by its capacity in the list of drives. If you're unsure because two drives have the same capacity, disconnect any other drives that you can to avoid formatting the wrong disk.

How to format an SSD

Step 4. Right-click on the drive and choose Format… from the menu.

How to format an SSD

Step 5. Select your options for the name and file system, then make sure 'Perform a quick format' is checked and click OK.

 How to format an SSD