However, if you have purchased a new USB drive, you need to format it first to use it. Without formatting, the device will not allow you to copy any files/folders.
Disk formatting is a built-in feature of every Windows operating system, including Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. An operating system can only recognize the formatted disk structure. So, if you have purchased a new Pendrive without formatting or creating a new partition, you’ll need to perform the formatting action to use it.
There are several methods available on Windows to format USB drives, and these are the following:-
- File Explorer
- Disk Management Tool
- Command Prompt
- Windows PowerShell
- USB Disk Storage Format Tool
Note: If your Pen Drive or USB flash drive is write-protected or read-only, you will not be able to format it using these methods. First, you need to remove write-protection or read-only, then you can proceed with further steps.
How to Format a USB Drive using File Explorer?
To format a USB drive using File Explorer, use the following steps:-
Step 1. Open File Explorer using
Step 2. Then, right-click on the USB Drive and select the
Step 3. When you’re done, a Format dialog will appear on your computer. If you need, change the File system, Allocation Unit Size, etc., and then click on the
Step 4. Click
Once the formatting is completed, you should see a “Format Complete” message.
How to Format a USB Drive with Disk Management Tool?
To format a USB drive with a built-in Disk Management Tool, use these steps:-
Step 1. First, right-click on “Computer” or “This PC” and select
Step 2. When you’re done, the “Computer Management” window will appear on your computer.
Step 3. Under Storage, select
Alternatively, you can also open Disk Management by typing
Step 4. Now, perform a right-click on the USB drive and select the
Step 5. In the pop-up window, if you want, change the Volume label, File system, etc.
Step 6. Then, click
How to Format USB Disk through Command Prompt?
To format a USB disk through Command Prompt, do the following:-
Step 1. Click on the
Step 2. Then, right-click on
When you’re done, Command Prompt opens with administrator privileges.
Step 3. At the prompt, type
Step 4. After that, type
The above command will list all internal volumes/disk partitions and external drives. For instance, Volume 4 with the drive letter “E” is Pendrive which I want to format.
Step 5. Next, type
Note: If your USB drive volume number is different, change 4 to that number. Suppose, in your computer, volume 10 is a USB drive; then the command will be
Step 6. Now type the following command and hit
format fs=ntfs quick
Note: If you want to format your pen drive to other file systems like exFAT, replace the command with
Now, formatting will be started. Depending upon the size and speed of your USB drive, it may take a while. Finally, you should get a message “DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.”
Quick Tips:- If you don’t want to type the command, copy the command using
Using above mentioned method, you can also format an internal drive of your computer.
How to Format a USB Drive using Windows PowerShell?
Windows PowerShell is an advanced command-line tool. One can also format a USB Thumb Drive using it.
To format a USB drive using Windows PowerShell, do the following:-
Step 1. First, launch the PowerShell with administrative privilege.
Step 2. Then, type the following and hit
The above command will display the disk information. Please note down the number associated with your USB flash drive. For example, number 1 is my USB flash drive.
Step 3. Now, type the following and hit
Clear-Disk -Number # -RemoveData
Note: In the above command line, replace the
Clear-Disk -Number 1 -RemoveData
When prompted, type
Once you complete the above steps, the USB drive will be formatted, and also drive letter will be removed. That means data is erased from USB Drive or Pen Drive and it will not be visible in File Explorer.
Step 4. To make it visible in File Explorer, you need to create a partition and assign a Drive Letter. For that use the following command:-
New-Partition -DiskNumber # -UseMaximumSize -IsActive -DriveLetter NewDriveLetter
Note: In the above command, replace
For my case, the command will be the following:-
New-Partition -DiskNumber 1 -UseMaximumSize -IsActive -DriveLetter D
Once you execute the above command, the partition is created, and a drive letter is assigned to your USB drive.
When you’re done, a dialog box will appear to format your USB drive. Click the “Format disk” button.
Once the formatting is completed, it will become visible in File Explorer, and you can use it for any purpose.
If you are not being prompted to format the disk, you can issue the following command on PowerShell to format it:-
Format-Volume -DriveLetter NewDriveLetter -FileSystem NewFileSystem -NewFileSystemLabel VolumeLabel
For instance, we have used the following command:-
Format-Volume -DriveLetter D -FileSystem NTFS -NewFileSystemLabel gearupwindows
How to Format a Pen Drive or USB Drive using USB Disk Storage Format Tool?
USB Disk Storage Format Tool is a freeware program, and in size, it is 557KB. To format a USB flash drive or Pen Drive, download the latest version of the USB Disk Storage Format Tool from here. Install it on your computer and then launch it. Select the USB drive and click on the “Format Disk” button.
Features of USB Disk Storage Format Tool
- Obliterate all data and delete space on flash drives that are not possible using built-in Windows formatting.
- Remove any tracks of malicious software that may have infected your USB flash drive.
- Check and correct partition errors, if any.
- Create a volume label for USB disk drives.
- Scan drives for errors before formatting.
- Create a FAT32 volume larger than 32 GB.