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. ...


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