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How to format a disk in Linux correctly like an expert? Step by step guide

For every computer user, the moment comes when, for one reason or another, you must format your computer, either to prevent damage, to protect information, or to install a new operating system, among a variety of other reasons.

In any case, this process is preceded by a preparation that can be summarized in the backup of important data, among many factors that must be taken into account when formatting your computer to maintain the integrity of your information.

Step by Step We will present you the methods and points to consider when you need to format your Linux computer., so that you can do it from safe way, like a professional.

What should we take into account before formatting a hard drive in Linux?

After formatting, browser bookmarks are imported

What you owe know about formatting a hard drive is that, once done, all information that was not previously backed up will be irretrievably lostSo the first step is to back up your most vital data.

Among these data we can take into account the following:

  • Documents: we mean images, videos, audios, spreadsheets, presentations and any content that you have created or saved that could be of importance in the future.
  • Downloaded programs: Saving the installation files of any program that we have downloaded from the internet is usually a great energy and time saver by not having to search for the program online again.
  • Browser information: Make sure to save the bookmarks and favorite pages stored on your computer in case it is an important page, since after formatting it is likely that you will not see it again.

One more factor to consider is the volume of all data, since this is what will determine if you can make the necessary backup in a USB memory, or if you need an external hard drive or even an account in a cloud service to store data in large quantities. While each choice is based on the circumstances, if you can choose the cloud storage service, choose itas it is the safest backup option available so far.

Learn step by step how to format a hard drive in Linux correctly like a pro

The innate versatility of Linux gives you access to a variety of ways to format your hard drive, then now We will explain the two methods for a safe procedure step by step.

Go for it:

From the command console

Command console on Linux

To be able to perform the formatting using the command terminal, the first step is to make a partition by following these steps:

  • Connect to hard drive to format and verify the connection with the command sudo fdisk –l.
  • Create the partition on the hard disk by typing the command sudo fdisk /dev/sdb , the terminal will display a list of supported parameters.
  • It is the visible list, press “P” this will show you the hard drive identifier and sector space.
  • Press “n” To create the new partition, two types of partitions that you can create will be shown: primary (p) or extended (e).
  • Select “p” to create a primary partition and assign a number from 1 to 4, depending on how many partitions you want to create. If you want to create just one, press “1”.

Once the partition is created, insert the command sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb. With this, the system will search for available partitions on the drive, as soon as you select the partitions to format and confirm, simply press “and”, then all that remains is to wait for the process to complete.

With an external tool

Gparted interface on Linux

Formatting the hard drive with a graphical interface tool is the simplest option and suitable for those who are not used to working with the command terminal.

The steps to format the hard drive using the GParted tool are as follows:

  • To open Gparted.
  • To select the hard drive.
  • Choose the partition to delete. If it is more than one, the process must be carried out as many times as necessary.
  • Once all partitions have been deleted, the graph will show a single space labeled “not assigned”
  • Confirm the changes.

Once these steps are completed, the hard disk will be ready to assign the partitions with completely new data.

List of the best tools to format a hard drive in Linux operating system

Even taking into account that formatting through the command terminal is the most recommended option, many users feel more comfortable doing the process through a graphical interface.

These are the best programs you can find to manage and format your hard drive in Linux:


QTParted interface on Linux

This tool, specially designed for Linux, has the ability to resize, manage and delete partitions on system hard drives. It is a management tool that uses a graphical interface and has access to the GNU Parted library, which gives it the inherent ability to resize partitions NTFS.

Download QtParted for Linux

KDE Partition Manager

KDE Partition Manager interface on Linux

It is based on basic components of the KDE desktop environment and uses the GNU library for partition editing. This software is used to create space inside the hard disk for operating systems and disk usage management, as well as to make so-called “mirror copies” of data from one partition to another. You can download from their website


GNOME Disks interface on Linux

It is a graphical interface tool included in the GNOME Disks Utility that can be used to manage, manage and diagnose hard disk partitions. It uses the UDisk component to manage hard disk spaces while the GTK library provides its graphical interface. In addition to formatting, it also enables SMART data diagnostics and hard drive performance benchmarking.

Download GNOME Disks for Linux


Gparted graphical interface on Linux

It is a free software that makes up a disk partition management tool that can be used on x86 and x86-64 architectures available for a variety of operating systems. It can be used to create and delete partitions, resize them, label them and copy their data to other partitions. What’s more, it can manipulate file systems like ext2 / ext3 / ext4, FAT16 / FAT32, NTFS among many others.

Download GParted for Linux