There are many ways to format a hard drive for a Mac and Windows system. You can use another type of software that can be installed, or you can use the programs within the operating system itself. This option is widely used as you can trust the manufacturer to make a good hard drive format utility.
It is always good to format your hard drive every couple of years or so. This is necessary to get rid of unneeded files and programs stored on your Mac or Windows hard drive. For a Windows system, this is even more important, as viruses and trojans can also be hidden within your hard drive itself.
A built-in program in Windows Vista, Disk Management can be used to format a hard drive. When you open up the program by clicking Manage on the Computer icon, and then on Storage, you will see the labels and sizes of the disk partitions within your hard disk. Disk Management also shows the file system that is used on the partition, such as NTFS, FAT32, and a couple of other file system types. To format a hard drive using Disk Management, right click on the partition and select the Format option on the drop-down menu.
For formatting within Mac OS X, Disk Utility, provided by Apple can be used to format a hard drive in your computer. When opening it up from the Applications folder, a list of the drives in and connected to your Mac will appear on the left-hand side. The name, size, and file system of the drive will appear at the bottom of the program. To format a Mac hard drive from Disk Utility, simply select the drive and go to the Erase tab. Once in the Erase tab, click on the button to format the hard drive and the process should be starting.
It is also possible to format your hard drive using a third party program. For Windows, a good program to use would be Acronis Disk Director. Acronis Disk Director allows you to format a hard drive and do many other tasks, such as resizing partitions and moving them around, making everything all in one program. It has an easy to use interface and is a very reliable program. Many of the same tasks that can be done with Disk Management can be done with Acronis Disk Director, with more advanced features for your use.
If you are a person that likes doing things outside of the operating system, download the GParted Live CD and burn it to a CD. When that is done, boot from it using the boot menu to select your CD/DVD drive and go through all the options of the programs, selecting the language and keyboard format. A list of all your hard drives and partitions will appear with detailed information about each one. Right-click on whichever one you wish to format and GParted will automatically start formatting your hard drive after confirmation. GParted supports almost all file systems in existence, making it easier for you to format your hard drive. Reformatting a hard drive is always a good idea if you are looking to speed up your hard drive dramatically.