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Clear/Reformat/Erase/Wipe SD Card & USB Flash Drive

Updated by Roxanne on Sep 22, 2022
Written by Jean

Differences between erasing and formatting a memory card/USB drive

In many cases, you should clear or reformat an SD card, USB flash drive, pen drive, or hard drive for certain reasons. Both of the operations will wipe all your data on the device but they are usually done for a different purpose.

You may clear or wipe an SD card/USB flash drive to:

  • Gain more device when the SD card or USB drive is full
  • Erase all the data on the SD card, USB flash drive before selling
  • Remove unknown virus or malware on SD card or USB flash drive

You may reformat an SD card/USB flash drive to:

  • Clean SD card, USB flash drive, hard drive and delete its partitions when the devices are not working properly
  • Change RAW to FAT32, NTFS or other file systems to fix a RAW issue
  • Restore SD card to full capacity when SD card does not show full capacity
  • Restore USB drive back to full capacity when flash drive shows the wrong capacity
  • Change the file system to use the SD card, USB flash drive, hard drive in different devices, for example, format PS4 hard drive for PC

After learning the differences between erasing and formatting an SD card/USB drive, you can choose the right method that works best to fix your issue. Here EaseUS free partition software that fully is compatible with Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista can help you wipe SD card in the easiest and most efficient way. Now, you can connect the SD card or USB drive to PC and try the step-by-step tutorial to format/clear a SD card with ease. 

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How to clear, erase or wipe SD card/USB flash drive

Here list three ways to clear SD card/USB flash drive. Now, you can try the detailed steps based on your needs. We put the most straightforward way in the first position.

How to wipe a flash drive with USB eraser

Step 1. Connect the external devices to the PC. Then, right-click the external device, and choose "Wipe Disk".

Select to wipe disk

Step 2. Set the number of times to wipe data. (You can set to 10 at most.) Then click "OK".

select the times

Step 3. Click "Execute 1 Task(s)" and then click "Apply".

click ok

How to wipe SD card/USB flash drive via Diskpart

For users who choose to erase SD card with Diskpart, you must use this method carefully. If you pick the wrong disk, your data will go permanently.

Step 1. Press Windows + R, input Diskpart, and press Enter. (Run Diskpart as administrator.)

Step 2. Use the Clean All function to erase SD card.

1. Input list disk > Enter. (Your SD card will listed on it.)

2. Run select disk* > Enter. (* represents the disk number the SD card.)

3. Run Clean All >Enter

erase sd card

Notice:
 The Clean All function will do the SD secure erase, which can remove all data on the SD card. 

How to erase SD card/USB flash drive with Disk Management

For users who do not want to use the SD card/USB eraser or the Diskpart, you can try the Windows built-in tool - Disk Management. 

Step 1. Press Windows + X and choose Disk Management.

Step 2. Format SD card.

1. Choose partition on the SD card.

2. Right-click the partition and select Format.

disk management format

3. Set the Volume label, File System, Allocation unit size.

format usb using disk management

4. Click OK to wipe/erase SD card.

Tip
(Quick Format VS Full Format) 
The quick format will not really erase all data, which marks the partition as formatted and delete the journal file. So the data is still on the hard drive. If you face the wrong operation, the data recovery software is ready.
However, the Full Format will completely clear data. No chance to recover data.

How to format & partition SD card/USB flash drive

  • Right-click the external drive or USB you intend to format and choose "Format".
  • Set the Partition label, File system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3/EXT4/exFAT), and Cluster size, then click "OK".
  • Click "Yes" to continue.
  • Click the "Execute 1 Task(s)" button and click "Apply" to format the hard drive partition.

You can read this post to completely format SD card/USB flash drive: How to format SD card on Windows 10.

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About the Author

Updated by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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Written by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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Product Reviews

Product Reviews

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  • I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy.

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  • Partition Master Free can Resize, Move, Merge, Migrate, and Copy disks or partitions; convert to local, change label, defragment, check and explore partition; and much more. A premium upgrade adds free tech support and the ability to resize dynamic volumes.

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  • It won't hot image your drives or align them, but since it's coupled with a partition manager, it allows you do perform many tasks at once, instead of just cloning drives. You can move partitions around, resize them, defragment, and more, along with the other tools you'd expect from a cloning tool.

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