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How to Format USB Using CMD in Windows | 2021 Guide

Updated by Brithny on Apr 16, 2021
Written by Jean

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

On this page, you'll learn how to format USB using CMD or an easier CMD alternative in Windows 10/8/7 successfully. Pick up the suitable USB format tool for help now:

USB Format Tool Pros 
1. Format USB Using CMD
  • Format to NTFS/FAT32
  • For professional users
2. Format USB Via CMD Alternative
  • Format to NTFS/FAT32/exFAT/EXT4/3/2
  • Convert FAT32 to NTFS without formatting
  • For all levels of users, beginners' best choice

As formatting will remove all saved data on the USB drive, if your USB is accessible, make sure to back up valuable USB data to another secure location in advance. If you prefer an easy and quick way to format USB or you need to format to Ext 4/3/2, pick up CMD alternative format tool for help.

Format USB Using CMD

Let's start to format your USB using CMD or its alternative tool and make the RAW, inaccessible, unreadable, and even corrupted USB flash drive, pen drive, memory stick work normally again. 

Part 1. How to Format USB Using CMD (Command Prompt)

USB flash drive is worldwide used for storing data and transferring files. However, sometimes, USB may corrupt or become inaccessible due to RAW or invalid file system, bad sector, or other errors. A quick way to resolve these problems is to formatting USB using CMD.

The following are two detailed guides, illustrating how to format a USB flash drive from Windows Command Prompt that you should strictly follow.

Steps to Format USB (to NTFS or FAT32) Using CMD

#1. Format USB using CMD in Windows 10:

Step 1. Connect USB to your PC and press Windows + R keys.

Step 2. Type cmd in the Search box and hit Enter to bring up Command Prompt.

Step 3. Type the following command lines one by one and hit Enter each time:

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk + number (Replace 2 with the number of your USB drive.)
  • list volume
  • select volume + number (Replace 10 with the volume number of your USB flash drive.)
  • format fs=ntfs quick (You can also replace NTFS with FAT32 or exFAT.)
  • exit

Format USB using cmd

CMD also works to fix Windows was unable to complete the format error in your computer hard drive, USB, or other storage devices.

#2. Format USB flash drive using Command Prompt in Windows 8/7:

If you are using a Windows 8/7 system, enter Command Prompt and type the following command lines one by one, and hit Enter each time: 

  •  diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk 2 ( Replace 2 with the number of your USB drive.)
  • clean
  • create partition primary
  • format fs=ntfs
  • assign  

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

Part 2. Format USB Flash Drive Using CMD Alternative in Windows

Although you can format a USB from cmd, however, it's not user-friendly for most Windows beginners. Also, any improper operation may cause data loss on other storage devices. Here, we would like to recommend you try third-party CMD alternative software - EaseUS free partition manager

EaseUS Partition Master Free Edition is a perfect CMD alternative tool for USB formatting. With an easy-to-use interface and precise operation, you can use it to format USB easily in only a few clicks. All levels of users can apply this tool to format USB. Here are the detailed steps: 

  • 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), and Cluster size, then click "OK".
  • Click "OK" to continue.
  • Click the "Execute Operation" button and click "Apply" to format the hard drive partition.

Part 3. Fix Existing Errors While Formatting USB from Command Prompt

According to some USB users, they reported that they encountered some errors while formatting USB from CMD.

Here, we've collected two common errors in formatting USB using CMD, if you get the same errors, don't worry. You can follow the provided solutions to resolve them:

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

CMD format error - stuck at 0 percent completed

If the formatting process gets stuck in DiskPart, as the shown message, don't worry. You have two ways to go:

  1. #1. Just wait for the formatting process to complete.
  2. #2. Close CMD, turn to EaseUS Partition Master in Part 2 to format your drive.

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

CMD format error - access is denied

If you come across this issue, click the link below to get rid of the problem:

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Diskpart Has Encountered An Access Denied Error

Data Recovery is not a challenge anymore. EaseUS serves as a dependable data recovery application to retrieve lost data within simple clicks.

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The End Line

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

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

On this page, we included two USB formatting tools to help you format USB using CMD or CMD alternative - EaseUS Partition Master. You may pick up a suitable tool and follow the respective tutorial guide to make your USB flash drive work normally. 

For an easy and free formatting resolution, take EaseUS Partition Master as your first choice. It's a perfect CMD alternative tool that can help you anytime.

People Also Ask About Format USB Using CMD

Some of you may have more questions about formatting USB. Here we collected some top concerned questions and listed answers below. If you have the same doubts, check out the answers now.

1. Why do you need to format USB flash drive?

Usually, HDDs and SSDs are widely used for OS installation and data storage and removable storage devices like USB flash drives are more used for data transferring and storage. But the USB flash drive may become inaccessible, and you'll need to format it so as to make it work again.

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

  1. 1. RAW, invalid, or unrecognized USB file system
  2. 2. USB flash drive corruption
  3. 3. Virus infection
  4. 3. USB is write-protected
  5. 3. Change USB file system to NTFS, FAT32, or Ext 2/3/4 by formatting

2. How to format bootable USB using cmd?

The process of formatting a bootable USB flash drive is almost the same as the process shown on this page. You can apply CMD to format it with the listed steps here:

  1. Step 1. Connect the bootable USB drive to your PC.
  2. Step 2. Open Command Prompt.
  3. Step 3. Type diskpart and hit Enter.
  4. Step 4. Type list disk and hit Enter.
  5. Step 5.Type select disk + number and hit Enter. (Replace 2 with the number of your USB drive.)
  6. Step 6. Type list volume and hit Enter.
  7. Step 7. select volume + number and hit Enter. (Replace 10 with the volume number of your USB flash drive.)
  8. Step 8. Type format fs=ntfs quick and hit Enter. (You can also replace NTFS with FAT32 or exFAT.)
  9. Step 9. Type exit and hit Enter.

3. How to format write-protected USB using cmd?

Here are the steps that you can follow to format a write-protected (read-only) USB using the command lines below:

  1. Step 1. Press "Win + R", type cmd to open "Command Prompt".
  2. Step 2. Type diskpart and hit Enter.
  3. Step 3. Type list disk and hit Enter.
  4. Step 4. Type select disk 2 and hit Enter. (Replace 2 with the write-protected device number) and hit Enter.
  5. Step 5. Type attributes disk clear readonly and hit Enter.
  6. Step 6. Type exit to close the diskpart window.

Once the write protection removing process completes, you can format the USB drive again. You can either apply EaseUS Partition Master, Windows File Explorer, or even the CMD command as shown in Part 2 to format the USB drive.

4. Windows was unable to complete the format, how to fix it?

When you use File Explorer to format the USB flash drive, it warns you that 'Windows was unable to complete the format', don't worry. Here are 7 ways that you can try to fix this error:

  1. #1. Use EaseUS Partition Master
  2. #2. Use Diskpart Command
  3. #3. Use Disk Management
  4. #4. Clear Virus and Complete the Format
  5. #5. Remove Write Protection and Complete the Format
  6. #6. Fix Disk Errors and Complete the Format
  7. #7. Repair Bad Sectors and Complete the Format

Note that you can try the above two tutorials to format your USB flash drive and resolve this issue. 

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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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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