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How to Low Level Format USB Drive? Follow and Learn How-To [2023 Guide]

Updated by Tracy King on Dec 08, 2022

When the storage space on your USB drive is up, you might want to format it. The downside to this is that this process wipes all information. But the plus side is that you get all the extra space required.

Also, if you need to give away your drive, erasing all the data so that no one can access it seems a viable option.

But before you start formatting, you need to understand the proper method, especially whether you need to low-level format your USB drive or high-level format it.

low level format usb

Therefore, in this article, we will explain what low-level format is and how to low level format USB drives in detail. So, keep reading to do this successfully on your own!

What Is Low-Level Format

Low-Level Format, also known as LLF, refers to the type of formatting that completely erases your disk and creates new sectors and tracks on it.

If you perform a low-level format on your hard drive or USB drive, it will reset them to their factory settings, making recovery almost impossible.

When and Why Do I Need to Low-Level Format USB Drive

You might need to low-level format your USB drives in the following cases:

  • If you have essential data on your USB drive and want to give it away, you will need a low-level format to erase the data so that no one accesses your personal information.
  • You might need a low-level format to free up space or capacity in your USB drive.
  • If there were some bad tracks or sectors on your USB drive and you tried to remove them using conventional methods, but it did not work out for you. Then it would be best if you had a low level-format.

The advantages of executing low-level formatting on USB drives are as follows:

  • Low-level formatting removes the deposited viruses in the boot sector. Such viruses are pretty tricky to eliminate otherwise.
  • Fixing bugs
  • It erases all sorts of data, making it impossible to recover if you want to give away your drive.
  • Resetting damaged drive sectors.

USB Low-Level Format Tool Free Download on Windows

Even with all the advantages low-level formatting has, there is one limitation. Modern operating systems and storage devices no longer have it, and people need to turn to third-party tools to help them with low-level formatting.

And that is why we are listing 3 low-level format tools in this article for USB users. But before opting for any of them, remember that you need to back up your valuable data, as we have mentioned already that this process will erase everything!

So, here are the USB low-level format tools:

  1. #1. EaseUS Partition Master
  2. #2. USB Low Level Format Tool
  3. #3. HDD Low Level Format Tool

To make them easier for you to understand, we have compared all three of them in a table:

Parameters EaseUS Partition Master USB Low Level Format Tool HDD Low Level Format Tool
Supported Storage Devices
  • HDD
  • SDD
  • Large Capacity Hard Disk (GPT and MBR Disk)
  • USB 1.0/2.0/3.0
  • flash drive
  • memory card
  • memory stick
USB drives of any capacity
  • Big drives (LBA-48) 
  • FLASH cards (SD, MMC, MemoryStick, and CompactFlash)
Supported Operating Systems Windows 11/10/8/7 Windows Vista, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, XP, 11, 2000 MS Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Server 2003, 2008, 2008R2
Latest Update 17.5 version (Windows 11 update available) July 15, 2022 September 8, 2021
Price
  • Professional: $59 .95
  • Server: $259
  • Unlimited: $499
  • Technician: $699
Free
  • $3.3 for personal/home use 
  • $27 per seat for commercial or professional use

Among these tools, we recommend downloading and trying EaseUS Partition Master as its wipe data feature is a secure solution for low-level formatting of the USB drive without causing physical damage.

Guide 1. Low Level Format USB Drive with EaseUS Partition Master

So, the first tool we are introducing to low-level format your USB drive is EaseUS Partition Master. The wipe feature of Partition Master works precisely the same as low-level formatting. Let us explain it to you in a bit more detail.

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This feature wipes all the existing data and partitions in your USB drive, restoring it to its default state. The data is not recoverable, and it won't cause any damage to the USB drive.

So, you should download this software and use it in low-level formatting your USB drive.

You may follow these steps to learn how to format USB drive.

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

Guide 2. Low Level Format USB with USB Low Level Format

USB Low-Level Format is a great software to low level format USB drives as it performs zero-fills for USB devices. It wipes all flags, data, and settings in a USB.

The prominent features of this software are:

  • The tool thoroughly erases all data from USB drives, followed by restoring them to their original state to get the lost capacity back and make them back to normal.
  • It supports more than 20 USB drive controller brands, such as Intel, Samsung, Micron, Phison, SMI, Marvell, Toshiba, and Silicon Motion, among others.
  • USB Low-Level Format offers 9 industrial-strength data wipe options to wipe data securely.
  • The software supports the initialization of USB drives of any capacity to popular file systems, including NTFS, FAT32, FAT, and exFAT.

Here is how to low level format USB drive with USB Low-Level Format tool:

Step 1. Download and install USB Low-Level Format software.

download and install

Step 2. Select the destination folder.

select folder

Step 3. Select the USB Device you want to format and click "Start". It will low-level format your USB.

select usb drive

Guide 3. Low Level Format USB with HDD Low Level Format Tool

HDD Low Level Format Tool is an excellent utility for low-level drive formatting. It has two purposes, to erase all data and to fill all the storage space on the drive with zeros.

The features include:

  • The software allows partition formatting and reinstalling the operating system easily.
  • The supported interfaces include S-ATA (SATA), IDE (E-IDE), SCSI, SAS, USB, and FIREWIRE.
  • Speed is capped at 180 GB per hour, which is 50 MB per second.

Here are the steps to low-level format your USB Drive via HDD Low Level Format Tool:

Step 1. Download and install HDD Low Level Format Tool.

install hdd low level

Step 2. After downloading the software, select the USB drive you want to format and click "Continue".

choose usb drive

Step 3. In the next window, you should select "Low level format". A warning will appear stating that all data will be deleted. Then click on "Format this device".

click low level format

Step 4. You will get another warning box. To continue, click "Yes" and the formatting process will start. It will take some time.

formatting process

Step 5. Now if you go into My PC/File Explorer, you won't see the formatted drive in the list. Hence, you need to create a partition. For this, right click on the Start Menu and go to Disk Management.

open disk manager

Step 6. Create a new simple volume.

create a new volume

Step 7. Select the Volume Label and File System. Now click "OK".

select volume

Conclusion

This article explained low-level formatting in detail and how to do it for USB drives with 3 different tools. You can use EaseUS Partition Master, USB Low Level Format Tool, or HDD Low Level Format Tool.

Among these, EaseUS Partition Master is the most reliable software to low level format USB drives, as it wipes out all existing data. So, download this software and give it a try!

Free Download 

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FAQs about Low Level Format USB

In case you are still confused, we have listed some frequently asked questions that users mostly have with their answers below.

1. What is the best low-level format tool for USB?

The best low-level format tools for USB include:

  • HDD Low-Level Format Tool
  • USB Low Level Format
  • EaseUS Partition Master
  • Kingston USB Format Utility

Among these, EaseUS Partition Master is the most reliable software to low-level format USBs.

2. Can you low-level format a USB drive?

Yes, you can. Modern operating systems and storage devices no longer have built-in low-level formatting features, so you will need to download third-party tools for low-level formatting your USB drives.

3. Does low-level format erase all data?

Yes, a low-level format will erase all data contained, making it unrecoverable.

4. Which is better; NTFS or FAT32 for USB?

It depends on what you want to use your USB for. NTFS is the best option if you need the USB for a Windows-only environment.

On the other hand, if you need to exchange files with a non-Windows system like Mac or Linux, FAT32 will be a better option, as long as your file sizes are smaller than 4GB.

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About the Author

Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 9 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management, data transfer, Windows update issues, etc.

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