Four Simple Ways to Format Your Flash Drive on Windows 10

Apr 2, 2020
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Has your flash drive been malfunctioning lately? Or have you experienced any lags or corrupted data that has turned you a bit skeptical towards the performance of your flash drive? As portable as flash drives can be, they are also prone to such problems over the course of time but, fortunately, a format is all that you need to set things straight.

The reason why you should know about all the four simple ways to format flash drive on Windows 10 is that the File Explorer method might not always work out and you might have to format your flash drive via the Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell.

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Here’s how you can format your flash drive on Windows 10 multiple ways:

Using the File Explorer:

  1. Open the File Explorer on your PC by pressing the Windows key + E. Your USB flash drive would be listed with the hard drive partitions of your PC.
    How to Format a USB flash drive on Windows 10
  2. Right-click on your flash drive and select Format to continue.
  3. Click on Start to begin the formatting process. In the Format menu, you can also reprogram the file system of your flash drives such as change it from NTFS to FAT32 or exFAT. NTFS is partition friendly and uses data compression.
  4. The system will prompt that this will erase all the data on the flash drive. Select OK to proceed.
  5. You will be notified once the formatting process has been completed. Click on OK to finish.
    Formatting a drive to NTFS system in Windows 10

Using the Disk Management System:

  1. Open the Start menu and type diskmgmt.msc in the search bar. Click on the diskmgmt.msc option to proceed.
    How to fully Format a USB Drive
  2. In the Disk Management system, you need to locate your flash drive listed along with the other drives of your PC. Right-click on the flash drive and select Format.
  3. The system would ask for your permission to proceed as this would clear out all the data on the drive. Click on Yes to continue.
  4. After you have set up an appropriate Volume label for your flash drive, simply select the File system, and make sure that the quick format box is checked if you wish to perform a quick format. Click on OK.
  5. The system will prompt a final warning that your flash drive will be wiped clean during this process. Select OK to finalize the process.
  6. Once the formatting is complete, you can view the formatted drive in the Disk Management System’s listing.
    How to Format a USB flash drive on Windows 10

Using Command Prompt:

  1. Open the Start menu and type cmd in the search bar. Right-click on the Command Prompt app and select Run as Administrator.
    How to Format Flash Drive with Command Prompt with Windows 10
  2. Type the command below where you need to replace the VOLUME with the assigned letter of your drive which in this case is H. FLASHDRIVE-LABEL will be replaced by the name that you wish to give your flash drive, and FILE-SYSTEM is replaced by NTFS, FAT32 or exFAT. Once you are done replacing the necessary values, simply enter the command into the Command Prompt window and press Enter.

    format VOLUME: /v:FLASHDRIVE-LABEL /fs:FILE-SYSTEM /q

    If you wish to perform a full format of your flash drive instead of a Quick Format, simply remove the /q from the above-mentioned command, this will make it:

    format VOLUME: /v:FLASHDRIVE-LABEL /fs:FILE-SYSTEM

    Please note that a full format can take up from 10 to 15 minutes based on your system’s performance because it also scans for bad sectors in your flash drive as opposed to a Quick Format.

  3. The system will ask you to insert the drive that you wish to format. If the flash drive is already plugged in then simply press Enter again.
  4. The format would take 10 to 15 seconds as it is Quick Format and then you can view the complete overview of your drive’s specifications as soon as the format finishes.
    How to Format Flash Drive with Command Prompt with Windows 10

Using Windows PowerShell:

  1. Open the Start menu and type powershell in the search bar. Right-click on the Windows PowerShell app and select Run as Administrator.
    How to Format Flash Drive with Windows PowerShell on Windows 10
  2. Type the command below where you need to replace the VOLUME with the assigned letter of your drive which in this case is H. FLASHDRIVE-LABEL will be replaced by the name that you wish to give your flash drive, and FILE-SYSTEM is replaced by NTFS, FAT32 or exFAT. Once you are done replacing the necessary values, simply enter the command into the Command Prompt window and press Enter.

    format VOLUME: /v:FLASHDRIVE-LABEL /fs:FILE-SYSTEM /q

    If you wish to perform a full format of your flash drive instead of a Quick Format, simply remove the /q from the above mentioned command, this will make it:

    format VOLUME: /v:FLASHDRIVE-LABEL /fs:FILE-SYSTEM

    Note that a full format can take up from 10 to 15 minutes based on your system’s performance because it also scans for bad sectors in your flash drive as opposed to a Quick Format.

  3. The system will ask you to insert the drive that you wish to format. If the flash drive is already plugged in then simply press Enter again.
  4. The format would take 10 to 15 seconds as it is Quick Format and then you can view the complete overview of your drive’s specifications as soon as the format finishes.
    How to Format Flash Drive with Windows PowerShell on Windows 10

These four ways to format your flash drive on Windows 10 are not only easy to follow but also ensure that any loose ends are tied up on the performance side. You can also shuffle between file systems to suit your requirements and repair any damaged sectors of your flash drive via a full format.

Relevant: Steps to Set Up Multiple Partitions on a Flash Drive on Windows 10

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