Before using a USB flash drive, you may want to ensure that the storage device is formatted. That way, you can prepare it for use as you free up storage, make it compatible, or remove any virus. You can do this process in many ways. One can describe the formatting process as deleting all data stored in the USB flash drive. Some refer to it as ‘restoring of factory settings.’
Formatting a flash drive is done for several reasons besides erasing data and removing viruses. Doing this can also help you personalize your security settings, customize user permissions on specific files, and facilitate file compression to free up more space.
The steps for formatting a flash drive vary slightly depending on the operating system (OS) one use. But they all involve clicking or double-clicking a different folder than usual. Some even use a specialized USB format tool to get the job done.
The following list will highlight the main methods used to format a USB flash drive in a manner that will not damage your flash drive or the device used for formatting. So, read on for this insight!
1. Formatting From A Computer Running Windows
When you want to format a USB flash drive on your computer, connect the device to your PC and wait for Windows to recognize it.
• Open Windows Explorer and locate the device in the list. If you can’t find it, try opening Computer (Windows Key + E) and looking for it there.
• Right-click on the drive name and select Format from the menu that appears. It will take you into another wizard where you can choose what kind of file system is used on this device: FAT32 or NTFS (New Technology File System). Select whichever is appropriate, then click OK when done with each step of this wizard until the end of formatting your USB drive.
2. Formatting From A Mac
The formatting process of a USB flash drive using a MacBook is a bit different;
• Open the Disk Utility app.
• Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen, then select ‘Applications.’
• Go to ‘Utilities’ and click on Disk Utility.
• Select your USB flash drive and choose one of the following options: Erase, Partition, or Restore.
• To format a USB flash drive from a Mac using an application like Final Cut Pro X or iMovie Pro, select the ‘Erase’ tab from the menu. Ensure that the device and the erase are selected before clicking Erase at the bottom of this window. Otherwise, there may be no effect on your data stored within it.
If nothing happens after doing so, try these steps again but ensure that both checkboxes are checked instead (this applies especially if you’re trying to format multiple drives simultaneously). If nothing still happens, try doing something else like reconfiguring permissions through Disk Utility until they’re set correctly. Sometimes just opening any app will cause them not to work afterward even though nothing has changed externally.
3. Format Using Disk Management
To format your USB flash drive using Disk Management, open this tab from the computer management console and right-click on the USB device you wish to format. Afterward, choose Format from the options and select FAT32 as the file system type. Then, click OK to begin formatting your USB flash drive.
Ensure all data has been copied from your USB device before formatting it. That way, you can have a backup of any vital files or folders on another storage device before beginning this process.
When you have finished making sure there is nothing left on your USB drive, close Disk Management by clicking Exit in its upper-right corner (it will have a red X). Reboot your computer before using the newly formatted flash drive again.
4. Format Using The Command Prompt
If you’re using a Windows PC, another way of formatting your flash drive is by using Command Prompt. A command prompt is an input field that is text-based and serves as the user interface for any operating system. One can use it to bring about specific actions depending on the text entered. To do this, you can follow these steps:
• Open the Command Prompt by clicking Start and typing CMD in the search box. Then press Enter.
• Type diskpart and press Enter to launch DiskPart (an app used in formatting drives on Microsoft operating systems, including Windows 7, 8/8.1, and 10).
• Next, type list volume and hit Enter to display all your connected hard disks and partitions available on the system. This includes your USB flash drive or any other external storage device plugged into your computer at that moment. You should see it listed as ‘Removable’ when you do this step.
• Now, type select volume followed by a number that corresponds with one of those listed volumes, then press Enter again to confirm selection so that it can be formatted.
5. Format Using Windows PowerShell
Windows PowerShell is an advanced scripting language embedded in the Windows system that can be used to format your USB flash drive.
To format using Windows PowerShell:
• Open a PowerShell prompt, which you can do by clicking the Start button, typing PowerShell, and pressing Enter.
• Run the following command:
‘format [drive letter]: /fs:NTFS’ or ‘format [drive letter]: /fs:exfat’ if you want to format a USB flash drive to exFAT.
Format on Linux or Chrome OS machines
Linux and Chrome OS machines can be used to format a USB flash drive. However, Linux does not support exFAT (a file system for flash drives created by Microsoft), but it does support FAT32 and NTFS.
In this article, several ways of formatting a USB flash drive have been highlighted. It’s important to note that formatting will erase all data on the device, so if you have files on your USB that you want to keep, don’t forget to back them up before formatting.
Hopefully, this list has helped you understand how easy it is to format from different devices and operating systems.