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How to reformat an Ext4 drive in Windows 10

Sabrent Rocket Q
Sabrent Rocket Q (Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

Which file system you have set up on your PC's drives isn't something many of us pay much attention to. In most cases, we'll be using NTFS, which is totally fine and works across different operating systems.

But if you've been using Linux on a drive it could well be formatted in the Ext4 file system, which will make it completely impossible to use with Windows 10.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

As you can see here, we have an Ext4 SSD in a PC running Windows 10, but it's not visible in File Explorer. To use it you'll need to reformat it to something more Windows-friendly, but it's not entirely straightforward. If you open the Disk Management app on Windows 10 you'll see the drive exists, but you can't do anything with it.

But fear not, there's a simple solution.

How to reformat an Ext4 drive in Windows 10

The first step is having the right tool for the job. In this case, we're using a piece of software called DiskGenius, which can be used for free. You can install it if you like, but I just use the 64-bit portable version instead. Download this first from their site and install or open it ready to get started.

Then follow these steps.

  1. Select your Ext4 drive from the pane on the left.
  2. Click the format button along the top bar.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Use the dropdown box to choose your preferred file system, in this case, NTFS.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. If you wish give your drive a name and letter.
  2. Click format.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click yes if you're happy.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Wait for it to complete.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Now, when you go back to File Explorer you'll see your newly formatted drive available to you to do with as you please.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

3 Comments
  • Or you can just use diskpart and not bother installing additional software....
  • That is the fastest option but I can understand it is not for everyone.
  • This is the way. Why couldn’t they write that up. It is probably only 3 or 4 commands in Diskpart. I had to do this recently for a new drive install in my surface laptop.