How to format a USB thumb drive in Windows

This brief tutorial will guide you through formatting a USB thumb drive (also called USB flash drives). The exact same steps apply for formatting any removable drives/memory cards/non-primary hard drive partitions.

  1. Formatting a drive, of any kind, will wipe out all of the data on that drive. Make sure you’ve copied any files from your USB thumb drive to a different location before formatting.
  2. Plug in the device and open My Computer. Right-click the USB drive and select Format….
  3. Select the File System that best suits your needs, and give the drive a name in the Volume label field. Click Start to format the drive.
  4. Click OK on the warning window.
  5. Once the format has completed, click OK.
  6. And now your USB thumb drive will be wiped clean, with the new volume label (name) applied.
{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Gravity July 28, 2008, 9:27 am

    hey… i never thought of this place to get my flash drive formated. used some application to do this simple job. thnx alot!

  • roro September 27, 2008, 4:10 am

    Useful information but when I go to My Computer I can only see the camera icon and the format option is not available. Do I need a card reader or is there another way?
    many thanks

  • xinyi February 6, 2009, 3:06 am

    i tried that, but the screen hangs upon right clicking on the drive… what should i do???

  • bachr April 22, 2009, 12:15 am

    لم يهيا الفلاش بهذه الطريقة فما العمل شككككككرررررررااااا

  • daryl November 23, 2009, 6:00 am

    this worked perfectly fine for the formatting
    but later my thumb drive capacity dropped from 8GB to 946MB because only 946MB was avaliable for the formatting. Is there anyway that I can fix this? I need this thumb drive!


  • xian December 3, 2010, 4:38 am

    but my drive can’t be formatted. what should i do?

  • joseph K February 13, 2011, 11:09 am

    Have an hp 8 gig T drive and win2k . My drive got blanked somehow and this format worked just fine, took about a minute or so.

  • zonter October 5, 2011, 5:40 pm

    it works perfectly but it took a long time to finish

  • nig November 10, 2012, 3:38 am

    I have write protection randomly on the USB…help ? It’s a WLW 4g essentials drive, and NO IT DOESNT HAVE A SWITCH ON IT!

  • >9000sheep May 11, 2013, 10:50 pm

    My screen has been blank for like 15 minutes , but that is more than it was doing before i tried this…Does anyone’s screen go blank for ever before this starts bootin? Is this normal?

Leave a Comment