Does Initializing a Disk Erase Data? Get Clear Idea Here!

Does initializing a disk erase data? You will get clear answer in this article and how to initialize disk without losing data in Windows 10 or 11.


By Ivy / Updated on April 2, 2024

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What Does It Mean to Initialize A Disk?

Initializing a disk is the process of building or rebuilding MBR (master boot record), the first sector of a hard drive, which stores information to load logical partitions and system files (if it’s a system disk).

Usually, there are two situations you will need to initialize the disk.

Unknown Not Initialized Unallocated

What Happens When You Initialize A Disk?

During the disk initialization process, Windows simply rewrites the 0 sectors in the MBR partition table, allowing you to create logical partitions on the drive. The process is essentially important to prepare your hard drive for use in your operating system. 

  • For brand new, unformatted disks: Initializing a disk is a straightforward process and can be done without fear of data loss.
  • For older disks: Unlike the new disk, after initializing the old disk, it will become unallocated and requires you a create a new partition including the partitioning and formatting process.

So will Initializing a disk erase data? The answer is NO. However, if there are any data on the disk, the further partitioning and formatting process will actually delete data on it.

How to Initialize a Disk without Losing Data in Windows 10 or 11

You can directly initialize a new disk without worrying about data loss because there is no data on it. But if it’s an old malfunctioning disk, to be sure your data is safe, you need to get them back on the not initialized disk first.

Part 1: Recover Data from Not Initialized Disk

MyRecover is one of the most powerful data recovery software in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, etc, and is able to recover data from uninitialized disk. It can be an internal or external disk, USB drive, SD card, etc.

  • Has a high success rate and fast speed.
  • Scan the disk quickly and deeply with two advanced scanning methods and find out all the deleted or lost data completely.
  • Recover Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, photos, audios, videos, emails, webpages, and compressed files and 200+ file types.
  • Keep the recovered files with their original path, filename, format and quality.

Now please download this data recovery software on your Windows PC. Please the steps below to recover data from not initialized disk.

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1: Scan this unknown not initialized disk. 

Launch powerful data recovery software - MyRecover. Hover the mouse over the drive, and click Scan. It will run two advanced scanning methods - Quick Scan & Deep Scan automatically display all the found files on the selected disk.

Select Partition To Scan

Step 2: Filter and preview files on the not initialized disk.

Click Filter and select a file type, such as Documents. Then, type the file name or file extension in the Search for files or folders box. Or expand the Deleted Files, Recycle Bin, or Other Missing Files tab on the left panel.

Scan Lost Data

Step 3: Recover files from the uninitialized disk.

Select all the deleted or lost files on the unknown uninitialized disk and click the Recover x files button. You will then be asked to select a location. Please select a new location instead of the original location.

Select Deleted Excel Files Click Recover


  • The restore button will display the number of selected files and their full size. You can use it to determine the integrity of the recovered files.
  • Saving the recovered files to original location may cause data corruption or further data loss.
  • You can recover data from not initialized disk for free, up to 500MB. To recover all files on it, try advanced editions.

Except for recovering data from uninitialized disk, you can also recover data from RAW disk, recover files from a formatted hard drive, recover files from SSD, etc.

Part 2: Initialize the Unknown Not Initialized Disk

After recovering data from not initialized disk, you can now initialize disk and create a new partition on it without fear of data loss. Here’s how to initialize disk:

Way 1: Initialize Disk using Disk Management

Step 1: Press Win + X keys and click on "Disk Management".

Step 2: Locate and right-click the not initialized disk and choose "Initialize Disk".


Step 3: Select GPT or MBR as the partition style and click "OK" to start initializing the disk. 

Initialize MBR or GPT

Way 2: Initialize Disk using DiskPart

Step 1: Press the “Win + R” keys and type “diskpart” in the Run box. Then, press “OK” to open DiskPart utility.

Step 2: In the DiskPart window, type the following commands and press “Enter” after each line.

  • list disk
  • select disk * (Replace * with not initialzied disk number)
  • clean
  • convert gpt ( or convert mbr)

Convert GPT

Step 3: Finally, type exit twice and leave the command prompt window.

Once done, your disk will show as “Basic” and “Unallocated”. You can then create a new partition on it.

Part 3: Create a New Partition on This Disk

Disk Management also helps to partition and format your disk to make it visible and function correctly. Here's how to partition the disk:

Step 1: In the "Disk Management" window, right-click the unallocated space and select "New Simple Volume...".


Step 2: Follow the New Simple Volume Wizard, and click "Next" to continue.

Step 3: Then, adjust the partition size, set a drive letter and file system (eg: NTFS) to it, and click "Next" > "Finish" to complete.


You can now repeat the process to create more partitions on the initialized disk and use it to store your important data.


Does initializing a disk erase data? Of course, No, but you need to know the further partitioning and formatting process will. So we strongly recommend you back up files regularly using a free backup software like AOMEI Backupper Standard afterward to prevent data loss.

It’s worth mentioning that your disk and data are inaccessible if you are experiencing the disk unknown not initialized error. Thus, the safest way to initialize disk without losing data in Windows 10 or 11 is to recover data first and then initialize and partition the disk.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.