How to Format USB Drives in Microsoft Windows?

How to Format USB Drives in Microsoft Windows?

The easiest technique to restore a broken or corrupted USB drive to its initial operating condition may be to format it. Even if your disc is in good shape, formatting it could be a quick and simple approach to remove its data. In this guide, we’ll look at formatting a USB disc in Windows.

Which File System Should You Use?

You must decide the file system to use before formatting your USB device. Simply put, file systems are methods of classifying data on a storage medium (such as a hard drive or an SD card). Depending on your operating system, different file systems may or may not be supported.

When formatting a USB drive, Windows 10 and 11 provide users a choice between the three file systems FAT32, NTFS, and exFAT. The advantages and disadvantages of each file system are listed below.


Pros Cons Best Used For
FAT32 * Compatible with all major operating systems

* Less memory usage

* Cannot handle single files larger than 4GB so you can’t copy a 5GB file in a FAT32 system

*Limited partition size (up to 32GB)

* Removable storage devices such as USB flash drives

* Devices that need to be plugged into a variety of operating systems

NTFS * Can create partitions larger than 32GB

* Can read/write files larger than 4GB

* Supports on-the-fly file encryption

* Limited cross-platform compatibility * Internal hard drives

* Windows system drives

exFAT * Provides an unlimited file and partition size * May need additional drivers to get exFAT compatibility on Linux * External hard drives

* Flash drives if you want to work with files larger than 4GB

Format USB Drive from File Explorer

Directly using the built-in File Explorer tool in Windows is perhaps the most common and simplest technique to format a storage drive. For both internal and external storage devices, the procedure is the same.

How to format a USB drive:

In a File Explorer window, right-click on the drive and select

From the menu that appears, select “Format.”

  1. Windows Right Click Format USB Format Windows 11

How to Format USB Drives in Microsoft Windows?

2. Select the device’s file system according to your decision.

How to Format USB Drives in Microsoft Windows?

Windows Filesystem Format Details

3. Choose the size of the allocation unit that you want to utilize. If you want to store large files, higher numbers are preferable because they improve performance slightly and decrease fragmentation.

They do, however, take up some room. We advise selecting the default value because most devices have an ideal allocation unit size.

How to Format USB Drives in Microsoft Windows?

Note: Most storage media today are tuned for 4096 bytes.

4. Put a name in the “Volume label” field for your USB drive.

How to Format USB Drives in Microsoft Windows?

5. If the disc is functioning well and you haven’t stored any important data on it, leave “Quick Format” enabled. The device is marked as empty after a “Quick Format,” however the contents are not actually removed. It’s like switching from “Not empty” to “Empty” on a switch.

In the case of big, multi-terabyte external hard disc drives, a full format can take days. It takes more time. However, it works its way slowly through the entire storage space to make sure there are no faulty sectors and everything is operating as it should.

How to Format USB Drives in Microsoft Windows?

6. For your USB drive to be formatted, click “Start.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a USB drive be harmed if it is formatted?

While constantly overwriting a flash memory might reduce its lifespan, these drives are designed to survive at least 10,000 write cycles. Therefore, a little formatting here and there won’t hurt it.

What music storage format should a USB drive have?

If you want to manage a playlist of songs using a USB drive, you must store the playlist in a format that the receiver can read. In general, using FAT32 and NTFS in USB with any external playback devices is OK.

How can I fix a USB drive that won’t format?

There are a variety of causes for a USB drive that simply won’t format itself, from damaged sectors to no volume appearing. Go to Disk Management and right-click to delete the volume to fix such a USB device.

Then, redistribute a straightforward volume utilizing the aforementioned techniques or the EaseUS Partition Master program. Check out this helpful guide for other solutions to deal with unformattable and useless USB drives.

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