How to format USB flash memory and all types of flash formats in Windows and Mac


Formatting a USB flash drive is the need of most computer system users. In this article, we will teach you how to format a flash drive in Windows and explain its various formats.

In the past, it was always recommended that if you just bought a flash or hard drive, format it after unpacking. But with the passage of time, this case was less acted upon and gradually everyone realized that there is no need for this work. The types of memory that you just buy are formatted, that is, there is no need to format them before the first use.

On the other hand, there are times when you bought a second-hand USB flash drive or you want to use someone else’s external memory, and you may need to format a flash drive to remove viruses or delete undeletable files. Sometimes, when your flash memory doesn’t work, formatting it can fix the problem.

Formatting is actually the process of preparing an external memory, such as a USB memory or hard drive, to store information; But for this, all the content on it will be deleted. First, it is better to familiarize yourself with various formatting methods and formats; Because it is necessary to know them in order to choose the best option for your work when formatting a flash memory.

All kinds of ways to format flash or any USB drive

In general, there are two formatting models for a USB flash drive that we will examine.

  • Quick format: option “Quick format“, the savior of users who want to quickly format their flash and is considered the most common mode of flash formatting. This option quickly deletes all files and folders inside the flash drive; But it is not the safest way to format the flash, and the files that are deleted by this method may be recoverable in the future through recovery tools.
  • Full format: A safer, but longer, way to format a USB stick is to use theFull format” Is. This option will scan all readable parts of the flash drive and erase all files and folders completely and permanently from your USB flash drive. The complete format may take a long time, depending on the capacity of the external memory.

Various capabilities of the File system section

When you want to format your flash drive, you will be faced with various options to format it. Among the most important of these options, the section File system It is better to know the use of each one; Because sometimes choosing the wrong option can disrupt your work. In the following, we explain the most common file systems in flash memories:

  • FAT32: He may have heard the name of this option a lot; One of the most common options for formatting a flash drive that works well on both Windows and Mac. The problem with this method is its lack of security and limiting your files to 4 GB. That is, if you want to transfer files larger than 4 GB (the size of a single file, not the sum of several files or a folder) with your USB flash drive, you should not format it using this option.
  • exFAT: The ideal file system for formatting a flash drive that is fully compatible with both Windows and Mac. exFAT It does not have a 4 GB limit and is suitable for users who deal with heavy files.
  • NTFS: from the format NTFS, used to turn a USB drive into secondary storage for a device; Because it compresses files and increases file transfer speed. NTFS On a Mac it’s read-only, unless from a Side application Use it to write and edit information.
    For Mac users, instead of this option, the option “Mac OS ExtendedWe suggest that it can only be detected on Mac.

To use your USB memory on game consoles such as PS4 and Xbox One, you should not use NTFS format. FAT32 and exFAT formats are suitable.

How to format a flash drive in Windows

Now that you are familiar with various formats and options, let’s go to the tutorial on how to format a USB flash drive in Windows. To do this, follow the steps below:

Flash format in Windows

  1. Insert your flash drive into the USB port.
  2. Open your files and find your flash drive in the section that says flash drive or any other external storage.
  3. Right click on its icon and then the optionFormat” Choose.
  4. from the episode “File system“, you can choose any of the things we explained in the above section.
  5. in part of “Volume label» You can enter the name you want to choose for your USB flash drive. This name will be displayed in the file and folder management program.
  6. under the section “Format options“, you can check the option “Quick formatClick if you want. From the first part of the article, read the difference from the full and normal format.
  7. Then “Startand after that, the optionYesTap »
  8. Wait until the process of formatting the USB drive is finished. After that, your flash is formatted and ready.

How to format flash memory on Mac

Formatting a USB flash drive, like all other tasks, is a little different on Mac than on Windows. In the following, how to format flash memory in MacOS We examine:

Format USB flash drive on MacBook

  1. First, insert the flash drive through the USB port.
  2. From the applications section and Program section, run Utilities Disk Utility the
  3. From the list that opens for you on the left, select the USB drive you want.
  4. Tap option “Erase» at the top of the page.
  5. in part of “Name“, you can give a name to your flash so that it will be displayed in file management programs.
  6. Now from the “Format», choose the format (the file systems we talked about) you want.
  7. Click option “Erase» to start the formatting process on Mac.
  8. After finishing the process, finally, tap the option “Done» Now the USB drive is formatted and ready to use and store your files.

In this article, we learned how to format a USB flash drive in Windows and Mac. If you encounter any questions or problems following this process, let us know in the comments section so that you will be answered as soon as possible. Full tutorial on how to fix the flash not formatting problem in simple language read the


Adib Zahedi is the CEO and Founder of mazhd.com. He has nearly a decade of experience in IT, including two years spent working on a Youtube Chennal. He is also an author and writes articles for mazhd.com. Has articles include tutorials and covers everything from Windows PCs to smartphone's software.

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