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How to format a stick

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How to format a stick: The pendrive you usually use to transfer data from one computer to another has started to give you some problems. A friend therefore suggested that you try to cope with the thing by going to format the device and you took the suggestion for good. However, if you are reading this guide right now, it is most likely because you have had some difficulty in understanding how to proceed to format a stick . If things are really this way and if you need a hand then know that you can count on me. In the following lines I will go for it illustrated all that is necessary to do in order to format a memory stick, both Windows PC and on Mac OS X .

How do you say? Do you think it is too complicated and that perhaps you would first buy a new pendrive? But no, you’re wrong. Although apparently the opposite may seem to you, formatting a key is actually an operation that is quite simple to perform and for the setting up of which it is not essential to be an expert in new technologies. In fact, to format a stick you only need a minimum of patience and attention, a few minutes of concentration and a computer with which to act, nothing else.

If you are interested then find out what to do to be able to format a key, I invite you to take some free time, get comfortable and concentrate on reading the step-by-step instructions that I am about to provide you. Are you ready? Yes? Benisimo, let’s get started.

Format a stick on Windows PC

If you have a computer with the Windows operating system installed and you want to find out how to format a key, you can do this simply by accessing its properties and pressing a special button. Then access Windows Explorer or File Explorer (the item changes according to the version of Windows in use) by clicking on the icon depicting a yellow folder that is located on the taskbar, select the item Computer or This PC (also in this case the item changes according to the version of Windows used) from the left sidebar of the window that is shown to you and then locate the key icon to format.

USB Windows screenshot

At this point, click with the right mouse button on the icon of the unit to be formatted and select the Format item   from the menu that appears. In the window that opens choose between  FAT32exFAT  and  NTFS  the file system with which to format the drive by selecting it from the appropriate drop-down menu located under the item File system :.  The file system to choose depends on the type of file you intend to store on the stick and on the devices in which you want to use it. If you were not aware of this, know that FAT32 is the default setting and allows you to create drives that are perfectly compatible with all devices, NTFS allows you to store even files larger than 4GB but is less supported than FAT while exFAT allows you to store files larger than 4GB and is supported by most devices.

USB Windows screenshot

Once the file system has been chosen, type the name to be assigned to the drive in the field located under the Volume label item   and then choose whether or not to carry out a quick format by keeping or removing the check mark from the box located next to the Quick format item . Keep in mind that if you deselect the option to carry out quick formatting, the procedure for formatting a stick will take longer because Windows will check the integrity of the disk and identify any bad sectors present in the latter.

Note:  With the quick format procedure, the free space on the stick is not cleaned up. This means that as long as the drive is not overwritten with other files it is possible to recover the data deleted by the latter.

After adjusting all the settings, press the Start button   and then wait for the procedure by which to format a key to be started and completed.

Once formatting has been completed, to eject the key from the computer, press again with the right mouse button on the device icon located in the left sidebar of the Explorer or File Explorer window and click on the Eject item attached to the menu that is shown to you.

USB Windows screenshot

In the unfortunate event that you are unable to complete the procedure by which to format a key because the unit is protected, you can try to cope with it by moving any lever located directly on the device or by putting one of the listed solutions into practice in the guide on  how to format a protected USB stick .

Format a stick on Mac OS X

If you have a Mac and if you want to understand how to format a stick, the first thing you need to do is to insert the device on which to act and start  Disk Utility , the application available as standard on OS X thanks to which you can manage easily hard drives, pendrives and external media of various kinds. Then insert the stick in one of the USB ports of your Mac and then click on the item  Go  attached to the menu bar, then press on  Utility  and double-click on the application icon. Alternatively, you can access Disk Utility by pressing on the magnifying glass located in the upper right part of the Mac desktop, typing  disk utility  in the search bar of Spotlight  and double clicking on the first result displayed, the one indicated as the  best .

Screenshot of Disk Utility on Mac

In the window that is now shown to you, select the name of the stick from the left sidebar and then click the Initialize button   located at the top. Then choose the file system you want to use to format the stick from the Format drop-down menu  . Personally I suggest you choose  MS-DOS (FAT)  to maintain maximum compatibility with Windows, TV, multimedia players and other devices while if you intend to use the stick only and exclusively with Mac computers then you can easily select one of the OS X options  extended .

Screenshot of Disk Utility on Mac

Now assign any name to the stick by typing it in the Name field   and leave the option selected in the Schema item unchanged  . If the Security Options button is available you can also press on it to determine the degree of security with which to perform the operation, ie the number of times the data on the formatted device is overwritten. Then click on the Initialize button   to start the procedure to format the pendrive.

Screenshot of Disk Utility on Mac

Once the procedure for formatting a key has been started in a few seconds, you will be shown a blue progress bar located in the center of the window and indicating the degree of completion of the operation. When finished, press the Finish button  .

Screenshot of Disk Utility on Mac

When formatting is complete to eject the key from the Mac, press the right mouse button on the device icon that you find on the desk and then select the Eject “key name” item (instead of “key name” you will find the name of your pendrive) attached to the menu visible on the screen. Alternatively, you can eject the key from the Mac also by dragging the icon of the latter on the Trash icon which is placed on the dock.

USB Mac screenshot

In case you need to format a stick on Mac in NTFS format   to do this you will necessarily have to resort to the use of some special extra resources. In fact, as for sure you will have noticed by yourself among the options to format a stick with Disk Utility on Mac the one relating to the NTFS file system is missing. The reason behind this is to be found in the fact that the NTFS file system was designed by Microsoft only and exclusively for Windows and on Macs it is supported only for reading and not also for writing, as long as it does not resort to the use of tools of third parties. If it is your intention to format a stick on Mac by setting the NTFS file system as the format, I suggest you read my guide on  how to format NTFS with Mac to find out which programs and which operations to carry out to succeed in the company.