Quickly Format a USB Drive with File Explorer

Written by Eric Wyatt (last updated June 21, 2021)

A handy tool for any computer user is a portable USB drive. USB drives are an easy way to take data from one computer and transport it to another computer or device. USB drives can come in a wide range of sizes and speeds. While the majority of USB drives come preformatted for Windows computers, there could be a whole set of reasons why you might want or need to reformat one. For instance, you may want to remove all the contents of the drive quickly or change the file system used to store information on the drive. Whatever the reason, Windows allows for quick formatting through File Explorer.

To reformat your USB drive, insert it into an available USB slot on your computer, open a File Explorer window, then follow these steps.

  1. Right-click on the USB drive's icon. A Context menu is displayed.
  2. Click on "Format..." from the Context menu. This opens the formatting window.
  3. From the File System dropdown, choose the File System format you want to use for the USB drive.
  4. If you wish, you can choose to change the Allocation Unit Size. However, we recommend you leave this set to its default value.
  5. Under Volume Label, enter the name you want the USB drive to display when it is plugged into a computer.
  6. Press Start to begin formatting your USB drive. If your computer displays a confirmation box, press OK to authorize the formatting.

When Windows completes the formatting process you will see a dialog box alerting you that your USB drive has been formatted. In File Explorer, you will now see the USB drive with the name you entered in step 5. Formatting your USB drive will allow you to set up your USB drive to handle your data the way you want.

 This tip (13875) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...

MORE FROM ERIC

Use PowerShell to Find Your Computer Serial Number

When you need your computer's serial number you can look it up without looking on the outside of the box. Use PowerShell ...

Discover More

Launching and Understanding the Xbox Game Bar

The Xbox Game Bar is a feature that often goes unnoticed by non-gamers. Let's go over launching and default settings for ...

Discover More

More Clocks to Track Time

As you work you may need to keep track of the time in various locations or time zones. Add additional clocks to the clock ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Focus On Your Tasks

Distractions can cause unfortunate delays in completing projects and tasks. With Focus Assist you can easily block out ...

Discover More

Everything

If you want to be able to find any file on your hard disk in just seconds, Everything is a utility you'll find ...

Discover More

Monitoring Data Usage

With Windows 10 you can easily see how your data is being used. Even if you are not on a metered data plan, it can be ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 + 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips