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Simple Ways to Erase and Format a USB Flash Drive.

When you format a pendrive, all files and folders on the drive are removed and replaced with a new file system. This can help repair any issues with the flash drive itself or make it compatible with new files you want to transfer. Be sure to back up your files before formatting your drive. This will teach you how to format a USB flash drive using your Windows computer.

Connect the USB flash drive to your computer.
 Plug the USB into one of your PC’s USB ports, which resemble thin, rectangular slots on your computer’s housing.

1. If you have any files stored on your flash drive, transfer the data to a computer. Formatting a flash drive will delete all its contents and give it a new file system.

2. Open the File Explorer and click This PC. You can find this option in the left panel, next to a monitor icon.

On Windows 7, click Computer on the right side of the Start window.

3. Right-click the flash drive’s icon. It’s beneath the “Devices and drives” heading in the middle of the page. This will bring up a drop-down menu.

4. Click Format…. This option is near the middle of the drop-down menu. Doing so opens the Format window.

5. Click the “File System” box. It’s below the “File System” heading near the top of the page. A drop-down menu will appear with the following options:

  • NTFS – The default Windows operating system format. If you’re using your drive as a secondary Windows drive, you’ll need to choose this option.
  • FAT32 – The most widely compatible format. Works with most computers and gaming consoles.
  • exFAT – Similar to FAT32, but designed for external hard drives (e.g., flash drives) and quicker use. It’s a universal format that is most common across Windows, Linux, and Mac.

6. Click a format option. The option you pick will depend on what you plan on using the drive for. For example, choose FAT32 if you’re formatting the flash drive for use with a gaming console, or choose NTFS if you’re creating a Windows-only backup drive.

  • If you’ve formatted your drive before and you’re positive that it isn’t broken, you can also check the Quick Format box.

7. Click Start, then click OK. Windows will begin formatting the flash drive.

8. Click OK when prompted. Your flash drive has successfully been formatted.