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How to format USB stick

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How to format USB stick: Has the USB stick you usually use to transfer files and documents of various kinds from your home computer to your office computer started to mess around? If the answer is “yes” and if you think it is now time to replace your pendrive know that you are wrong and that you can most likely cope with it simply by doing a nice format. How do you say? A friend suggested it to you but you don’t have the faintest idea how to do it? Well, in that case, don’t worry, I can explain how to format USB stick .

Before you can be alarmed and think about the worst, I want to specify one thing immediately. Even if at the moment you are a little discouraged and even if you are not exactly practical in terms of information technology and new technologies, know that formatting USB flash drive is not complicated at all, quite the contrary. Clearly to be able to succeed in the business it is essential to know where to “get your hands” but for this you don’t have to worry, I’m here, ready and well available to give you help.

So if you are actually interested in finding out what it is necessary to do in order to format a USB stick, I suggest you take a few minutes of free time, get comfortable and concentrate carefully on the indications that I am about to provide you. We bet that in the end you will be ready to say that formatting USB flash drive was actually a breeze?

Before showing you how to format a USB stick, however, it is good to clarify one point. Depending on the computer you have, the procedure you need to format a pendrive is slightly different. In a nutshell, if the one you use is a Windows PC you will have to act in one way while if the one you are using is a Mac you will have to act in another. Anyway, don’t worry, in both cases it’s all very simple. So find the computer in your possession and stick to the relevant indications below.

Windows PC

If you own a computer with Windows installed and you intend to understand how to format a USB stick, 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

Now right click on the icon of the drive to be formatted and select the Format item   from the menu that appears. In the window that opens, choose 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 are not aware of it, know that:

  • FAT32  is the default file system and allows you to create units perfectly compatible with all devices.
  • NTFS  is the file system that allows you to store even files larger than 4GB but is less supported than FAT.
  • ExFAT  is the file system that allows you to store files larger than 4GB and is supported by most devices.

USB Windows screenshot

After selecting the file system, 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 perform a quick format by keeping or removing the check mark from the box located next to the Quick format item . If you deselect the option to perform quick formatting, the procedure for formatting a stick will take longer because in this case Windows will check the integrity of the disk and identify any bad sectors present in the latter. Also keep in mind that with the quick format procedure, the free space on the stick is not reclaimed, which is why until the drive is overwritten with other files it will be 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 the USB stick to be started and completed.

Once completed the procedure to eject the pndrive 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 comes to you shown.

usb_windows3

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

Mac

If you have a Mac computer and you are interested in how to format a USB 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 the which you can manage hard drives, pendrives and external media of various types. 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. In addition to as I have just indicated, 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 Spotlight search bar   and double-clicking on the first result shown, the one listed as the  best .

Screenshot of Disk Utility on Mac

In the window that you now see on the screen, select the name of the stick from the left sidebar and then click on 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  . 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 are not aware of it, know that:

  • MS-DOS (FAT)  is the file system that allows you to maintain maximum compatibility with Windows, TV, multimedia players and other devices.
  • Extended OS X is the file system intended for exclusive use with Mac computers.
  • ExFAT  is the file system that allows you to store large files and is supported by most devices.

Screenshot of Disk Utility on Mac

Proceed by assigning a name to your liking to the key by typing it in the Name field   and leaving the option selected in correspondence with 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. Keep in mind that several times a file is overwritten and the chances become that it can be recovered through special software such as the ones I mentioned in my guide on  how to recover deleted files. It is therefore up to you to choose, according to your personal needs, if and how to adjust this setting.

Screenshot of Disk Utility on Mac

Then click on the Initialize button   to start the procedure to format USB stick.

You will then 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

Note: If you need to format USB stick on Mac in NTFS format   to do this you will necessarily have to resort to the use of some special extra resources. If this is your case and you want to know more about it, I suggest you read my guide on  how to format NTFS with Mac  to find out which programs to use and what to do to succeed in the enterprise.