How to Format a Thumb Drive From Command Prompt

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Thumb drives, sometimes known as flash drives, are small, self-powered drives that connect directly to computers through an available USB port. They are generally used for storage, transferring data and backup but can also hold and run applications specifically built for flash drives, such as web browsers. Since they are read as external drives, it is possible to format them from the command prompt with a simple command. The most common format is FAT32, and using the command prompt will format a thumb drive quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Administrative access
  • Turn on your computer and log in to your administrative account. Insert your thumb drive into an available USB port.

  • Open "My Computer" and wait for it to refresh if necessary. Find out which drive letter your thumb drive is attached to. If you have trouble or your computer doesn't show the drive, plug a working device, such as a camera or external hard drive, into the same slot and see what letter it corresponds to. Plug your thumb drive back in when you have found it.

  • Click "Start," then "Run." Type "cmd" into the input box, then press "OK."

  • Type "format /FS:FAT32 X:" at the prompt, replacing "X" with the letter that corresponds to your thumb drive, then press "Enter." Command prompt will then format your thumb drive to the FAT32 format, allowing it to be read and modified by any computer you plug it into.

References

  • Photo Credit Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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