Guide: How to Format USB Flash Drive Using CMD

Jean updated on Sep 27, 2020 to Partition Master | How-to Articles

Steps to Format USB using CMD:

Format USB via cmd

  1. 1. Plug USB in your computer, open Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. 2. Write the command lines and hit Enter to execute the command:
  3. diskpart
  4. list disk
  5. select disk #
  6. format fs=ntfs or fat32 quick
  7. exit
  • Q 1. How do I format a USB flash drive to NTFS file system?
  • Q 2. How do I format a USB on Windows 10?
  • Q 3. How can I format my USB to FAT32?

If you are having the same questions as listed here, follow this page and you'll get all answers and practical solutions to format USB with ease.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Format USB Using CMD Type cmd in the search box and enter the Command Prompt > Run as administrator > Type commands...Full steps
2. Format USB Using Software Download and launch EaseUS USB formatter > Right-click on the USB drive and choose Format...Full steps

Why Do You Need to Format USB Flash Drive

Usually, HDDs and SSDs are widely used for OS installation and data storage and the removable storage devices like USB flash drives are more used for data transferring and storage.

Due to its portability, flexibility, opportune storage size, with a reasonable price, USB flash drive is still the No.1 external storage device around the world. 

While using USB for data transferring or storage, problems about USB flash drive also increase. Formatting USB flash drive is one of the top issues.

Here is a list of reasons why do you and other USB users need to format the flash drive:

  1. 1. Invalid or unrecognized file system: USB becomes RAW, USB is unrecognized by PC.
  2. 2. Corruption or virus-infected: USB flash drive becomes inaccessible or corrupted, USB is write-protected.
  3. 3. Change file system for specific usage: Covert USB to NTFS, FAT32 or Ext 2/3/4 by formatting.

This page mainly illustrates how to format a USB flash drive using Windows inbuilt Command Prompt, and the following is the detailed guide you should strictly follow.

As the formatting process will remove all saved data on the USB drive, make sure that you have backed up or saved valuable USB data to another secure location in advance. 

How to Format USB Flash Drive Using Command Prompt

Applies to: Format USB to FAT32/NTFS, format RAW USB, repair corrupted USB, etc.

# Advantages of Using CMD

Do you know why we would recommend you using CMD instead of other ways to format a USB flash drive? Here are the advantages of this method: 

Advantages Disadvantages
  • 100% free
  • Flexible in changing the file system to NTFS or FAT32(Disk Management or right-click formatting only support NTFS)
  • Resolve specific cases, such as Windows was unable to complete the format, RAW drive, etc.
  • Complex for some new users
  • Can't format USB to Ext2, Ext3

# Steps to Format USB to NTFS or FAT32 with CMD

Altogether, you'll walk through the whole formatting process in eight steps, and the time spent will depend on the USB flash drive capacity and used space on it. (The following steps are applicable on Windows 10/8/7 PC.)

Step 1: Plug USB in your computer and open command prompt as an Administrator.

Type cmd in the search box, then you can get the best match called Command Prompt. Right-click on it and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 2: On the Command Prompt window, type diskpart and press "Enter".

type diskpart to format usb flash drive using cmd

Step 3: Type list disk and press "Enter". According to the list disk information, check which disk is your USB flash drive. For example, disk 2.

type list disk to format usb flash drive using cmd

Step 4: Now type select disk 2 and press "Enter".

type select disk 2 to format usb flash drive using cmd

Step 5: Type format fs=ntfs or fat32 quick and press "Enter".

If you prefer other file system formats, change the command NTFS to the desired one, such as format fs=fat32.

type format fs=ntfs to format usb flash drive using cmd

Step 6: Type exit and hit Enter to close the window.

As Linux file system Ext2/3 is not compatible with Windows OS, you can refer to a UBS format tool in Part 2 for help.

After this, exit DiskPart and you save data to your USB flash drive again. 

# Fix Errors While Using DiskPart Format Command

If you get errors while using CMD to format USB flash drives or other devices, don't worry. We've collected two common errors that occur in formatting, and you can follow the provided solutions to resolve them:

  • Error 1: Diskpart format fs=ntfs stuck at 0, 10, 11, 12...

If the formatting process gets stuck in DiskPart, as the shown message, don't worry. Just wait for the process to complete.

  • Error 2: Diskpart has encountered an error: Access is denied. See the System Event Log for more information.

If you come across this issue, refer to this link and get rid of Diskpart has encountered an access denied error.

CMD Alternative - Best Free USB Format Tool for Windows

Applies to: Format corrupted USB, format USB to Ext2, Ext3, format FAT32 USB to NTFS, format USB to FAT32, etc. on all Windows OS.

# Free USB Format Tool vs CMD

Although CMD is capable of formatting USB flash drive, it also has disadvantages. Importer operation may cause data loss on other storage devices.

We think that you might be interested in an easier and more secure USB format tool. A third-party free partition manager named as EaseUS Partition Master Free Edition can help.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

Here is a feature comparison between CMD and EaseUS Partition Master Free. You'll understand why is a perfect alternative to replace CMD for USB formatting:


Free USB Format Tool - 

EaseUS Partition Master Free

100% Free
Format USB to NTFS, FAT32, Ext2/3 ✘ (Only support to format USB to NTFS/FAT32)
Convert FAT32 to NTFS without formatting
Easy to Use 

✔ (4-step formatting: select USB > configure format task > confirm > execute operation)

✘ (At least 8 steps as shown in Part 1)

# 2. Tutorial - Format USB via CMD Alternative in 3 Steps

With an easy-to-use interface and precise operation in EaseUS Partition Master, you can execute a 100% free and secure USB formatting task on your own.

All levels of users can apply this tool and format USB to usable again with below 3 steps: 


Step 1: Launch EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the partition on your external hard drive/USB/SD card which you want to format and choose the "Format" option.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

Step 2: Assign a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

Step 3: In the Warning window, click "OK" to continue.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

Step 4: Click the "Execute Operation" button in the top-left corner to review the changes, then click "Apply" to start formatting your external hard drive/USB/SD card.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4

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