How to Format USB Drive or Pen Drive on Windows 11, 10, 8, or 7?


Pendrives or USB Flash drives are very useful in our life due to their tiny size and portability. Creating a bootable USB flash drive and more of a Windows To drive for smoother Windows installation is very beneficial. You have to format a newly purchased pen drive to use it. For safety and security reasons these days, you should not copy any files/folders in your Pendrive without formatting.

You can also use Windows 11/10/8/7 to format a disk. Disk formatting nowadays is a built-in feature of every operating system. The operating system can recognize only the formatted disk structure. You can easily manage the disk on every operating system regardless of the OS version. You need to perform the formatting action to use it generally if you have purchased a new Pendrive without formatting or creating a new partition.

PenDriveYou can perform the pen drive or USB drive formatting using the following methods:-

  1. File Explorer
  2. Disk Management Tool
  3. Command Prompt
  4. Windows PowerShell
  5. USB Disk Storage Format Tool

Note: You will not be able to format your Pendrive using these methods if your Pendrive or USB Flash drive is write-protected or read-only. To format these, you need to remove write-protection or read-only, then you can proceed with further steps.

How to Format a Pen Drive or USB Drive with File Explorer?

Follow the below steps to format a Pen Drive or USB flash drive through File Explorer:-

Step 1. Now, you need to open File Explorer or Windows Explorer by pressing Windows logo + E keys together from the keyboard.

Step 2. Right-click on the USB Drive or Pen Drive from the File Explorer and select the Format option.

Format-USB-Drive-using-File-explorerStep 3. A Format dialog box will open. Here, you can change the File system, Allocation Unit Size, etc., and click on the Start button.


Step 4. A dialog box will open. Then, click on the OK.


Step 5. You should see a “Format Complete” message.


Step 6. Next, click the OK button.

That’s it. Your device formatting is complete now.

How to Format a Pen Drive or USB Drive with Disk Management Tool?

Follow the below-given steps to format a Pen Drive or USB drive with Disk Management Tool:-

Step 1. Now, right-click on “Computer” or “This PC” and select Manage > Disk Management.


Step 2. It will open the “Computer Management” window.


Step 3. After that, click on the Disk Management under Storage.

Select-Disk-Management-1024x700Note: You can also access Disk Management by typing “diskmgmt.msc” in the Run box.

Step 4. Then, right-click the Pendrive and select the “Format” option.


Step 5. It will launch a new window with formatting options. Here, you can change the Volume label, File system, etc.

Pendrive-Formatting-Options-1024x704Step 6. When ready with the above options, click OK to format your Pen Drive or USB Thumb Drive.


How to Format Pen Drive or USB Disk with Command Prompt?

Follow the below-given steps to format a Pen Drive or USB drive with Command Prompt:-

Step 1. It would help if you opened the command prompt by typing cmd or the command prompt at the search box to format your Pendrive with the command prompt.

Search-Command-Prompt (1)Step 2. After that, right-click on Command Prompt app and select Run as administrator, or from the available options on the right side, click Run as administrator.


Now, Command Prompt opens with administrative privileges.

Step 3. At the command prompt window, type diskpart and press Enter from the keyboard.


Step 4. Then, type list volume and press Enter from the keyboard.

list-volume-1024x583This command will list all internal volumes/disk partitions and external drives. In my example, Volume 4 with the drive letter “E” is Pendrive which I want to format.

Removable-Disk-1024x588Step 5. After that, type select volume 4 and press Enter from the keyboard.

Note: If your computer Pendrive volume number differs, change 4 to that number. Suppose, on your computer; volume 10 is a USB drive, then the command will be select volume 10.

Select-Volume-1024x584Step 6. Now, issue the following command to format your Pendrive:-

format fs=ntfs quick

Note: If you want to quickly format your pen drive to other file systems like exFAT, replace the order with format fs=exfat. If you’re going to format your Pendrive to other file systems like exFAT, replace the command with format fs=fat32 quick.

Formatting-pen-drive-using-command-prompt-1024x579Next, Pendrive formatting will start. Depending upon the size and speed of Pendrive, it may take a few minutes. Finally, you should get a message “DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.” 

Quick Tips: If you do not want to type the command, copy the command using Ctrl + C from the keyboard, and right-click from the mouse on the command prompt screen to paste the copied command.

By this method, you can format any internal drive of your computer.

How to Format a Pen Drive or USB Drive Through Windows PowerShell?

Windows PowerShell is an advanced command-line tool. You can also format a Pen Drive or USB Flash Drive using it. Perform the following recommended steps to format a disk:-

Step 1. Now, open PowerShell with administrative privilege.

Step 2. Next, type the following and press Enter from the keyboard on the elevated Windows PowerShell.


The above command will show the disk information. Please note down the number associated with your USB flash drive. For example, number 1 is my USB flash drive.

Get-DiskStep 3. Next, type the following line and press Enter from the keyboard.

Clear-Disk -Number # -RemoveData

Note: From the above command line, replace the Hash (#) with the number associated with the USB drive, as noted in step 2. For instance, my USB drive is on number 1, and my command will be the following:-

Clear-Disk -Number 1 -RemoveData

When prompted, type A and again press Enter from the keyboard.

Formatting-USB-Disk-using-PowerShellWhen you complete the above command, the USB drive will be formatted, and also drive letter will be removed. That means data is erased from the USB or Pen Drive and will not be visible in File Explorer.

Step 4. You must create a partition and assign a Drive Letter to make it visible in File Explorer. Insert the following command now:-

New-Partition -DiskNumber # -UseMaximumSize -IsActive -DriveLetter NewDriveLetter

Note: From the above command line, replace the Hash (#) with the number associated with the USB drive you noted earlier and NewDriveLetter with a new drive letter for the USB drive. Make sure that the drive letter is not in use by any other partition on your computer.

In my case, the following command will be:-

New-Partition -DiskNumber 1 -UseMaximumSize -IsActive -DriveLetter D

It will create the partition, and a drive letter is assigned to your USB drive when executing the above command.

Drive-Letter-assigned-to-USB-driveThen, click on the “Format disk” button when a dialog box opens to format your USB drive.


When the formatting is complete, it will become visible in File Explorer and usable. Now you can put data on your USB drive.

You can issue the following command on PowerShell to format it:-

Format-Volume -DriveLetter NewDriveLetter -FileSystem NewFileSystem -NewFileSystemLabel VolumeLabel

Note: Replace NewDriveLetter with the drive letter you assigned earlier. Change NewDriveLetter with the filesystem format (NTFS, exFAT, or FAT32) you want to format the USB drive. Finally, replace VolumeLabel with the new volume label (the name of the USB drive will be visible on File Explorer) for the USB drive.

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 application and is only 558KB in size. Download the latest version of the USB Disk Storage Format Tool from here to format a USB flash drive or Pen Drive. Install it on your computer and then launch it. Select the USB drive and click on the “Format Disk” button.


Apart from the cleaning, its features the following:-

  • Erase all data and delete space on a flash drive, which is impossible 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 the drive for errors before formatting.
  • Create a FAT32 volume larger than 32 GB.

That’s all for this article. I hope this article will add some value to your work.

You guys are amazing; Keep reading, learning, and growing.

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