What is USB formatting? How to quickly and safely format USB on Windows 10, 11, and Macbook

What is USB formatting? It is a solution that allows you to restore your USB to its default state. So how do you format a USB? In this article, FPT Shop will guide you on how to format your USB device on Windows 10/11 and MacBook in a simple, fast, and safe way.


USB is a popular and convenient storage device used to copy, transfer, store, and share data between different devices. However, during use, USB may encounter some errors such as not being recognized, being attacked by viruses, being damaged, losing data, or not functioning properly.

In that case, you need to format the USB to fix these errors. So what is formatting USB and how to format USB on a computer? In the following article, FPT Shop will answer these questions for you.

What is formatting USB?

Formatting USB, also known as formatting USB, is an action that restores USB to its original state, making the device function normally like a new USB. The USB formatting process will erase all the data inside the USB and reset the parameters such as capacity, format, name, etc. for the USB. Formatting USB also helps remove viruses, malware, and harmful software that can be harmful to your USB and computer/laptop.

What is formatting USB?

Formatting USB on a desktop is simple and quick. You can format USB using the Disk Management tool of Windows or use some third-party software that supports USB formatting.

Why do you need to format USB?

After learning about formatting USB, we will find out why formatting USB is necessary and useful in many cases, when your USB shows the following “strange” symptoms:

  • When the USB is not recognized on a computer or displays an error message that requires formatting.
  • When the USB is infected with viruses, malware, or malicious software that make it unable to function normally or pose a danger to the computer.
  • When the USB is full or loses data due to hardware or software errors.
  • When you want to clean up the data on the USB for other purposes such as installing the operating system, running data recovery tools, partitioning the drive, etc.
  • When you want to change the format of the USB to make it compatible with different devices.

Common USB formats today

File formatting is a standard way to encode information for data storage and access. If the file system is not supported or compatible with the operating system, you will have problems accessing the data on the USB. Therefore, when formatting the USB, you need to choose an appropriate file system for your device, as the standard format will determine which data can be read or written on the USB.

On Windows 10, the commonly used file systems are FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS, while on macOS, they are APFS and HFS+. Choosing the appropriate file system format for your USB will help ensure that the storage and data reading are compatible with different devices and operating systems.

How to format USB on a Macbook

Step 1: Plug the USB into the USB port of the Macbook. Select the Go text.

Step 2: Open the Disk Utility application from the Applications folder > Utilities.

Step 3: Select the USB from the list on the left side of the Disk Utility window. For example, I will choose this USB Toshiba.

Step 4: Click the Erase button at the top of the window.

Step 5: Enter a name for the USB and choose the desired format. You can choose exFAT, FAT32, or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) depending on your needs. To choose this option, double-click the Format box to select the format.

If you want to use the USB for both Windows and Mac, you should choose exFAT or FAT32. If you only use the USB for Mac, you should choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

Step 6: Click the Erase button again to confirm. The formatting process will start and may take a few minutes depending on the capacity of the USB.

Step 7: After the formatting is complete, click the Done button and remove the USB from the computer.

How to format USB on Windows 10, 11

To format USB on a Windows 10/11 computer, you can use one of the following three methods:

Method 1: Using File Explorer

This is the simplest and most common method to format USB on a computer. You can follow these steps:

Step 1: Plug the USB into the computer and open File Explorer by pressing the Windows + E key combination.

Step 2: Click on the This PC item to view the drives on the computer,

Step 3: Find the desired USB drive.

Step 4: Right-click on the USB drive you want to format and select the Format command.

Step 5: The Format window appears, where you can change parameters such as File system, Allocation unit size, Volume label, etc.

Step 6: You should choose Quick Format to format quickly and without checking errors on the USB. Then, click Start to start the formatting process.

Step 7: A warning window will appear, informing you that the formatting process will erase all the data on the USB. Make sure you have backed up your important data before clicking Start. Otherwise, you can click Close to cancel the formatting process.

Step 7: After the formatting process is completed, you will receive a Format Complete notification. Click OK to close the formatting window. Now, your USB has been successfully formatted and can be used normally.

Method 2: Using CMD

This is a method of formatting USB using command lines in the Command Prompt (CMD) window. You can follow these steps:

Step 1: Plug the USB into the computer and open the Run window by pressing the Windows + R key combination. Enter the command cmd and press OK to open the Command Prompt window. Enter the command diskpart and press Enter to switch to disk management mode.

Step 2: Enter the command list disk and press Enter to view the list of drives on the computer, including the USB. Remember the number of the USB you want to format, for example, Disk 1. Then, enter the command select disk 1 (replace the number 1 with the number of the USB you want to format) and press Enter to select the USB.

Step 3: Enter the command clean and press Enter to delete all partitions on the USB. Then, enter the command create partition primary and press Enter to create a new primary partition on the USB.

Step 4: Enter the command format fs=ntfs quick (you can change ntfs to fat32 or exfat depending on the format you want) and press Enter to format the USB with the selected format. Then, enter the command assign and press Enter to assign a drive letter to the USB. Finally, enter the command exit and press Enter to exit the Command Prompt.

Now, your USB has been successfully formatted and can be used normally.

Method 3: Using third-party software

In addition to formatting USB using the Windows Disk Management tool, you can also use some third-party software that supports USB formatting to perform this task. Some popular and free software that you can refer to are:

  • HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool: This is a tool provided by HP that allows you to format USB with more options than the Windows Disk Management tool. You can choose the FAT32, NTFS, or FAT file system, select the cluster size, name the drive, and perform quick format or full format for the drive.
  • Rufus: This is a tool that not only helps you format USB but also helps you create a bootable USB to install the operating system or run bootable applications. You can choose the FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, UDF, or ReFS file system, select the cluster size, name the drive, and perform quick format or check disk for errors.
  • EaseUS Partition Master: This is a comprehensive disk partition management tool that allows you to not only format USB but also perform many other operations such as create, delete, merge, split, copy, move, check, recover partitions. In addition, the software allows you to choose the FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, EXT2, EXT3, or EXT4 file system.


In this article, you have learned more about “what is formatting USB?” and the necessary steps to format USB quickly. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments below.