How to do a Full format on a USB flash drive?


  1. Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
       #1

    How to do a Full format on a USB flash drive?


    How do you Fully Format a USB flash drive correctly if you suspect there might be a problem with the drive? I know there are a few methods to Format a USB flash drive in Windows.
    In Windows...there's, This PC and Right click on drive/select format and theres also the Disk Management option. For both of those do you just uncheck the "Quick" box on the format options?
    The other option is Diskpart...I'm not exactly sure what you type there for a Full format.
    Is any of these options better or recommended for a Full format or doesn't it matter? Do they all do exactly the same thing?
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 5,478
    2004
       #2

    Full format writes zeros over the whole disk. Unless you have private data you want to be unrecoverable it isn't worth it as USB sticks have very limited number of times they can be written to (compared to other types of storage like HDD or SSD). It will not help if your USB is on its last legs - it will probably make it worse.

    Doing a format through right click, disk management or diskpart is the same. For diskpart you would omit the work "quick" in red below to do a full format:

    Code:
    diskpart
    select disk 2
    format fs=ntfs label="Whatever" quick
    I would do a quick format (unless you want to make some deleted files unrecoverable) - that will just destroy and recreate the partition table and your data will be overwritten over time.

    If you are concerned about your USB stick failing you should probably buy a new one although I'm not aware if or how it is possible to predict failure.
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 11,203
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #3

    sportsfan148 said:
    How do you Fully Format a USB flash drive correctly if you suspect there might be a problem with the drive? I know there are a few methods to Format a USB flash drive in Windows.
    In Windows...there's, This PC and Right click on drive/select format and theres also the Disk Management option. For both of those do you just uncheck the "Quick" box on the format options?
    The other option is Diskpart...I'm not exactly sure what you type there for a Full format.
    Is any of these options better or recommended for a Full format or doesn't it matter? Do they all do exactly the same thing?
    Hi there

    in Diskpart when you do the format instead of typing format fs=ntfs (or fat32 ), quick simply ignore the quick parameter. i.e don't type it in.

    Depending on capacity of usb drive plus its speed (usb2 / usb3) it could take a while.

    (I was just beaten to it by previous poster !!!!)

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 2,310
    Windows 10
       #4

    The Windows formatting does not always work. For example I can put a USB flash drive in to a TV to do recordings and it registers that drive and/or does something that prevents formatting in Windows.

    I find the HP USB Key Format Tool V2.2.3 works on those, untick the Quick Format box.
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Thanks lx07, Jimbo and Helmut for the help and advice. Its much appreciated. I don't know for sure that there is any problem at all with the USB flash drive. In fact I suspect that there isn't. It hasn't been used much. The Media Creation Tool seems to have a problem with it though. I think because Rufus had placed a GPT partition on it that I removed with the Convert MBR command to put it back to normal. That wasn't enough though seemingly so I'm hoping that a Full format sorts it out as seems to have worked for a guy on another thread
      My Computer


 

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