How to Format USB to FAT32 Windows 10 2021 -- A Complete Guide

Man Holding USB flash drive

Why Do You Format USB?

By formatting, you can easily fix any USB, pen drive or memory stick that

·         Is write protected, virus infected, corrupted, damaged, unreadable, unrecognized by PC and Mobile

·         Is inaccessible because of data corruption

·         Has a file system that isn't compatible with your system configuration.

·         Contains personal information and you want to permanently delete it

·         Contains any malicious code

·         Has bad sectors or corruption issues because of prolonged use.

·         Is unformattable because of “Windows was unable to complete the format” message

How to Format USB?

Whatever your reason is, it’s possible to format USB to FAT32 using File Explorer, Disk Management, Command Prompt, and PowerShell. In this article, we will show you how to format a USB to FAT32 to quickly erase its contents or fix problems.

·                How to Format USB to FAT32 using File Explorer

·                How to Format USB to FAT32 using Command Prompt

·                How to Format USB to FAT32 using Disk Management

·                How to Format USB to FAT32 using PowerShell

Warning! If you have important files in your flash drive, it’s recommended that you make a backup of your drive before proceeding because the methods provided below will completely erase the contents on the drive.

How to Format USB to FAT32 using File Explorer

To format a USB flash drive using File Explorer, follow the steps below.

1.     Press the Windows key + E on your keyboard at the same time to Open File Explorer.

2.   Click on This PC from the left pane.

3.   Under the "Devices and drivers" section, right-click on the USB flash drive and click Format. You will see a new window pops out.

right-click on the USB flash drive

4.     Use the "File system" drop-down menu and select the FAT32 option. If you prefer other file system formats, use NTFS instead of FAT32.

5.     In the "Allocation unit size" drop-down menu use the default selection.

6.   In the "Volume label" field, type a label you want. For example, My Drive.

7.   Under the "Format options" section, select the Quick format option. The "Quick format" option only deletes the file system table and the root folder, but the data may still be recoverable on the drive. If you don't check the option, a full format will take place and the process can take a long time depending on the size of the storage.

8.   Click Start.

Format options

9.     Finally, Click Yes.

How to Format USB to FAT32 Using Command Prompt (CMD)

There are two options to format a removable flash drive using Command Prompt (CMD) which are:

Option 1: format the drive to rebuild the file system table and erase its content.

Option 2: format the drive to start fresh with a new partition and file system table which helps to fix problems with storage.

Option 1: Formatting Flash Drive

To format a USB drive with the help of Disk Management, follow the steps shown below:

1.      Click Start menu and type Command Prompt.

Or press Windows key + R to open Run box and then type cmd.

2.     Right Click on the top result, which is Command Prompt, then select the Run as administrator option.

3.     Make a Quick or Full formatting

A.   To Quickly Format USB flash drive, type the following command on the CMD screen and hit Enter twice

format Volume: /v:VolumeLabel /fs:FileSystem /q

           Note: In the above command, replace

  • Volume with the correct drive letter of the Drive.
  • VolumeLabel with the name you want the drive to have. For Example: My Drive
  • FileSystem with FAT32If you prefer other file system formats, use NTFS instead of FAT32.

For Example: USB Flash drive G, with Volume Label MyDrive, and File System FAT32 can be quickly formatted with the following command.

             format G: /v:MyDrive /fs:FAT32 /q

Format USB Using Command Prompt

B.   To Completely Format USB flash drive, Type the following command on CMD screen and hit Enter twice:

  • Volume with the correct drive letter of the Drive.
  • VolumeLabel with the name you want the drive to have. For Example: My Drive
  • FileSystem with FAT32. If you prefer other file system formats, use NTFS instead of FAT32.

format Volume: /v:VolumeLabel /fs:FileSystem

           Note: In the above command, replace

For Example: USB Flash drive G, with Volume Label MyDrive, and File System FAT32 can be fully formatted with the following command. 

format G: /v:MyDrive /fs:FAT32

Option 2: Cleaning and Formatting Flash Drive

If you're facing common problems with a flash drive, data corruption and other problems, you can use the following steps to clean the USB flash drive, create a new partition, and configure a new file system.

1.      Click Start menu and type Command Prompt.

Or press Windows key + R to open Run and then type cmd.

2.     Right Click on the top result which is Command Prompt select the Run as administrator option.

3.     On the Command Prompt window, type diskpart and press Enter.

4.    Type list disk and press Enter. According to the list disk information, check which disk is your USB flash drive note its disk number. For Example, let’s say it is disk 1.

5.     Now type select disk number and press Enter.

Note: In the command (select disk number), make sure to replace disk number with the correct number that is 1 in our case i.e., type select disk 1.

6.    Type clean and Wait some time until disk erasing is finished.

7.     Type create partition primary and press Enter.

8.    To Quickly Format USB flash drive, Type the following command on the CMD screen and hit Enter twice:

format fs= FileSystem label= DriveName quick

           Note: In the above command, replace

  • DriveName with the name you want the drive to have. For Example: MyDrive
  • FileSystem with FAT32. If you prefer other file system formats, use NTFS instead of FAT32.

For Example: USB Flash drive, with Drive Name MyDrive, and File System FAT32 can be quickly formatted with the following command.

format fs= FAT32 label= MyDrive quick

This example quickly formats the USB drive using the FAT32 file system. If you don't specify the "quick" option, complete formatting will take place.

Wait until formatting is finished.

9. Then, Type assign and press Enter so that the system assigns a letter automatically. You can choose a drive letter your flash drive to have (say G) by typing the following command:  assign letter=G

Cleaning and Formatting Flash Drive

If you are unable to format the USB Flash Drive using the steps above, it's most likely that the removable flash drive is physically damaged.

How to Format USB to FAT32 Using Disk Management

There are two options to format a removable flash drive using Disk Management which are:

Option 1: format the drive to rebuild the file system table and erase its content.

Option 2: delete the partition containing the file system and data to format as well as fix problems with storage at the same time.

Option 1: Formatting Flash Drive

To format a USB drive with the help of Disk Management, follow the steps shown below:

1.      Click Start menu and type Disk Management 

or press Windows key + R to open Run and then type diskmgmt.msc

2.     Click on the top result which is Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions.

3.     Right click the USB flash drive and click Format.

Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions

4.    In the "Volume label" field, type a label whatever you want. For example, My Drive.

5.     Use the "File system" drop down menu and select the FAT32 option.

6.    In the "Allocation unit size" drop down menu use the default selection.

7.     Select the Perform a quick format option.

Perform a quick format option in disk management

8.    Finally, Click the OK.

After completing the eight steps provided above, your flash drive is erased and ready to be used.

Option 2: Cleaning and Formatting Flash Drive

If you're facing common problems with a flash drive, data corruption and other problems, you can use the following steps to clean the USB flash drive, create a new partition, and configure a new file system.

1.      Click Start menu and type Disk Management 

Or press Windows key + R to open Run and then type diskmgmt.msc

2.     Click on the top result which is Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions.

3.     Right click the USB flash drive and click the Delete Volume option and then Click Yes.

Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions.

4.      Right-click on the Unallocated space and click New Simple Volume option.

Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions.

5.      Click the Next.

6.     Use the drop-down menu to select an available letter.

7.     Click Next again.

8.    Select the Assign the following drive letter.

Assign the following drive letter option

9.     Click the Next.

10.   Select the Format this volume with the following settings option.

11.   Use the "File system" drop down menu and select the FAT32 option.

12.   In the "Allocation unit size" drop down menu use the default selection.

13.    In the "Volume label" field, type a label whatever you want. For example, My Drive.

14.   Select the Perform a quick format option.

Perform a quick format in Disk Management

15. Click the Next button.

16.Click the Finish button.

If you are unable to format the USB Flash Drive using the steps above, it's most likely that the removable flash drive is physically damaged.

How to Format USB to FAT32 Using PowerShell

Similar to Command Prompt and Disk Management, there are two options to format a removable flash drive using PowerShell which are:

Option 1: format the drive to rebuild the file system table and erase its content.

Option 2: format the drive to start fresh with a new partition and file system table which helps to fix problems with storage.

Option 1: Formatting Flash Drive

To format a USB drive with the help of PowerShell, follow the steps shown below:

1.     Click Start menu and type PowerShell.

  • DriveLetter with the correct drive letter that represents the flash drive you are trying to format.
  • FileSystem with FAT32. If you prefer other file system formats, use NTFS instead of FAT32.

2.     Right Click on the top result, which is Windows PowerShell, select the Run as administrator option.

3.     Make a Quick or Full formatting

A.   To Quickly Format USB flash drive, Type the following command and press Enter:

Format-Volume -DriveLetter DriveLetter -FileSystem FileSystem

Note: In the above command, replace

For Example, USB Flash drive E, with File System FAT32, can be quickly formatted using the following command:

Format-Volume -DriveLetter E -FileSystem FAT32

How to Format USB Using PowerShell

B.   To Completely Format USB flash drive, Type the following command and press Enter:

Format-Volume -DriveLetter DriveLetter -FileSystem FileSystem -Full -Force

For Example, the following command fully formats Drive E with FAT32 file system. 

Format-Volume -DriveLetter E -FileSystem FAT32 -Full -Force

Option 2: Cleaning and Formatting Flash Drive

If you're facing common problems with a flash drive, data corruption and other problems, you can use the following steps to clean the USB flash drive, create a new partition, and configure a new file system.

1.      Click Start menu and type PowerShell.

2.     Right Click on the top result, which is Windows PowerShell, select the Run as administrator option.

3.     Type Get-Disk and press Enter.

4.    Type the following command to delete the flash drive and press Enter:

Get-Disk DiskNumber | Clear-Disk -RemoveData

Note: In the above command, replace DiskNumber with the correct number that represents the flash drive you are trying to format. For Example, the following command selects and cleans disk number 1:

Get-Disk 1 | Clear-Disk -RemoveData

5.      Type Y to confirm the action and press Enter.

6.     Type the following command to create a new partition and press Enter:

New-Partition -DiskNumber DiskNumber -UseMaximumSize

Note: In the command, change DiskNumber with the correct number that represents the flash drive you are trying to format. For Example, the following command creates a new partition using the entire space available on drive number 1:

New-Partition -DiskNumber 1 -UseMaximumSize

7.      Then, Type the following command to perform a quick format and assign a drive name you want your drive to have, and press Enter:

Get-Partition -DiskNumber DiskNumber | Format-Volume -FileSystem FileSytem -NewFileSystemLabel DriveName

Note: In the above command, replace

  • DiskNumber with the correct number that represents the flash drive you are trying to format.
  • FileSystem with FAT32. If you prefer other file system formats, use NTFS instead of FAT32.
  • DriveName with the name you want the drive to have. For Example: MyDrive

For Example, the following command formats drive number 1 using the FAT32 file system by assigning a drive name MyDrive. 

Get-Partition -DiskNumber 1 | Format-Volume -FileSystem FAT32 -NewFileSystemLabel MyDrive

8.      Type the following command to assign a new letter to the drive and press Enter:

Get-Partition -DiskNumber DiskNumber | Set-Partition -NewDriveLetter DriveLetter

Note: In the command, change DiskNumber with the correct number that represents the flash drive you are trying to format and DriveLetter with the correct drive letter that represents the flash drive you are trying to format.

For Example, the following command sets E as the drive letter for disk number 1:

Get-Partition -DiskNumber 1 | Set-Partition -NewDriveLetter E

If you are unable to format the USB Flash Drive using the steps above, it's most likely that the removable flash drive is physically damaged. 


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