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Restore any deleted or corrupted file from NTFS, FAT32/exFAT/FAT, APFS, etc.
Last updated: Jun 27, 2023

Best USB Format Tool 2024 (Top 9 Utility Comparison)

There are quite several programs that allow you to format a USB drive – to delete everything in the drive – and probably add new files to the device. But when you looking for the best one to use, you should choose from a streamlined list.

Here, we're compiling a ranking of the top Windows-compatible USB format tools. Both free and paid software applications for formatting USB drives are included in this list. When a USB drive becomes corrupt or you need to set up a new file system, formatting the disk may be the best option to get it running again.

What is a USB format Tool & What Does It Do?

Universal Serial Bus devices, shortened as USB devices, are portable external devices that can be connected to a wide range of systems and devices like PCs, desktops, mobile phones, media players, cameras, and other devices.

The FAT32 file system is the default file system on most USB devices since they are pre-formatted with it. Now, in order to be able to save your data on a new USB drive, you might need to re-format it to a certain file system depending on your computer system or device.

Formatting is the technical process of deleting everything stored on a storage media/drive/device to change the file system format, add new partitions, or return it to a default state. When a drive is formatted, everything inside is deleted – to get back the formatted data, you will need a professional data recovery program.

A USB format tool is a software app or program that allows you to format a USB device successfully. USB format tools can be used to format any type of USB device, including corrupted ones. So, if you have a problematic USB drive, you can use any of these USB formatting tools (listed below) to try fixing the drive.

USB Format Problems

Although formatting a USB drive may seem simple, it's actually not that simple. If a USB disk is not formatted correctly, it will likely become irreparably destroyed. Also, some USB devices that are "write-protected" can prevent you from correctly formatting them. These are some typical problems you could run across while attempting to format a USB device.

1. Write Protection

Write protection is used to protect the files saved into a particular drive or disc. A write-protected drive cannot be formatted, neither can the files in the drive be copied/transferred to another storage. So, if the USB drive is write-protected, it can’t be formatted; you will need to disable the write-protection before proceeding.

2. Incomplete Formatting

Some people are usually tempted to cancel a formatting process if it’s taking too long, but this is a bad practice. If you intercept a formatting process, the USB drive could get logically damaged and such scenarios may result in permanent data loss.

So, how to fix a corrupted external hard drive without formatting?

2023 Best USB Format Tools for Windows 11/10/8/7/XP Users

1. DiskInternals Uneraser Format and Recovery Tool

Uneraser is not primarily a USB format tool, instead, it is a data recovery tool that helps you recover files from USB devices, irrespective of the drive’s file system. DiskInternals Uneraser supports all known file system formats and can easily recover your file. After the recovery, Uneraser sets your USB drive to its default file system.

This app comes in handy when you forget to back up the files and data stored on your USB drive before proceeding to format it. So, with DiskInternals Uneraser, you can recover files from a formatted USB drive, then backup the files, and probably re-format the USB drive to your preferred file system.

DiskInternals Uneraser is intuitive and easy to use; it features an integrated recovery wizard and the interface looks much similar to that of Windows File Explorer, hence, any Windows OS user can operate this software.

2. HP USB Disk Storage Format tool

The HP USB Disk Storage Format tool is a free application for computers running Windows OS 7 or newer versions. It is quite easy to use and can help you to format any type of storage disk (internal and external). Ignore the name, this tool works even on non-HP systems.

This tool supports FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS file systems, and comes in handy when you’re unable to successfully format a USB drive using the Windows default format tool. More so, this tool lets you create bootable USB drives with its “Create a DOS startup disk” feature.

3. IM-Magic Partition Resizer

This tool is a multi-feature program for handling external drives. It helps you to format or resize USB drive partitions. IM-Magic Partition Resizer is free to download and use because it is freeware – but if you need to use it on Windows Server OS, you will have to purchase the premium version.

IM-Magic Partition Resizer can successfully format your problematic USB drive. It flaunts a simple-to-understand interface and supports many file system formats; it also lets you create bootable media and manage multiple storage drives from a single platform. You can use this USB format tool that works on Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, and 2000.

4. Rufus

Rufus is a multi-feature utility that works for many actions, which include formatting USB drives and creating bootable USB flash drives. It is a software program you can run on different operating systems: Windows, Linux, UEFI, and others. With all the features packed into the program, Rufus is lightweight.

The Rufus app runs on Windows 7 or later versions and can format flash drives, pen drives, and memory cards. Rufus is typically fast in formatting drives, so it is the preferred choice of many people. However, the interface of this app is not so friendly like the other ones listed here.

5. HDD Low-Level Format Tool

This USB format tool is no different from the other ones on this list. It is a handy utility you can use to format USB drives and set them to another file system as needed. Asides from formatting USB drives, HDD Low-Level Format Tool can be used to format SATA, SAS, IDE, SSD, and SCSI drives.

More interestingly, this tool is available for free and can run on the normal Windows OS and Windows Server OS. HDD Low-Level Format Tool is fast and reliable; it is recommended for individual users and small businesses.

6. Authorsoft USB Disk Storage Format Tool

The Authorsoft USB Disk Storage Format Tool is another one to consider when looking for a good USB formatting utility to use. It is a freeware, which means you don’t have to pay to use it, and it can format right about any USB disk. This tool supports FAT, FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS file systems.

You can use this formatting tool to format any USB disk and other external devices such as SD cards, pen/thumb drives, and external hard drives. During the formatting process, this tool will fix any corrupt partition on the USB drive.

7. Kingston USB Format Tool

If your computer runs on Windows OS 7 or newer versions, then you can use this utility tool to format your problematic USB drives and other storage media. Kingston USB Format Tool is tested with various types of USB drives, so it will definitely work with your selected USB drive.

The interface might not be the best out there, but it’s quite easily understandable, which makes the software easy to use by anyone, including newbie PC operators. Kingston USB Format Tool will format your USB flash drive even when the flash is not being recognized by the PC – it uses minimal system resources.

8. Martik USB Disk Formatter

Martik USB Disk Formatter is a notable USB format tool for Windows. However, it is recommended to log in to the “Administrator” account on your computer system to run this app. This tool can format USB drives to FAT32 or NTFS file systems, and it can also be used to change drive names.

If your USB drive is in NTFS file format, you can use the “Enable Compression” feature on this tool to further compress the USB storage, if need be. Sadly, this tool only supports FAT and NTFS file systems.

Note: This USB format tool has not been updated since 2014. It may contain some bugs that need to be fixed.

9. SmartDisk FAT32 Format Utility

SmartDisk FAT32 Format Utility is available for free, you are not paying for anything, yet it can help you format any USB flash drive you have. This formatting tool only works to format USB drives in the FAT32 file system; so, if you’re looking to change your USB drive’s file system, this may not be the right tool to use.

Nevertheless, SmartDisk FAT32 Format Utility works great and it’s quite fast too. Also, using this tool, you can modify your USB drive’s Volume Label, but then, there are not many customization options available. Overall, this is just a basic USB format utility with no extensive features or add-on functions.

Windows Command Line Formatter

You can format USB drives and regular internal drives using the Windows command line utility. This is an advanced option and should be carried out carefully to avoid permanent data loss from the USB drive. Also, you must be logged in on the administrator account on the computer before you can use CMD to format. But, overall, the process is straightforward and pretty fast.

How to Format Flash Drive in Command Prompt:

Note: If you’re using a guest account on the computer, you will need admin access to launch the command prompt and format your drive. Hereunder are the steps to follow:

  • Ensure the USB drive is connected to the computer and showing on File Explorer
  • Right-click on the Start icon and select “Command Prompt (Admin)” or “PowerShell (Admin).”
  • Type the following command: format :
  • Wait for the command to process and run successfully, then you can close the CMD prompt and check if your USB drive has been formatted.

Windows Disk Management

If you don’t wish to use a third-party application to format your hard drive, Windows OS has built-in utilities that can help you format your drives, whether internal or external drives. One of those utilities is Windows Disk Management, which supports exFAT, FAT32, and NTFS file systems. In other words, it is ideal for formatting virtually any USB drive.

Windows Disk Management, of course, is completely free to use, and it is easy too. This tool is available on all Windows OS computers regardless of the Windows version you’re running on the system. Hereunder is the detailed guide you need to format a USB drive using Windows Disk Management Utility.

How to Format USB Drives Using Windows Disk Management

  • Ensure the USB drive is connected to the computer and showing on File Explorer
  • Right-click on the Start icon and select “Disk Management.”
  • Select the USB drive you want to format; right-click on the drive and select “Format.” 
  • Select any settings you’d want to have done on the formatted USB drive, such as the drive letter, volume, etc.
  • Wait for the formatting to run successfully, then close Disk Management – your USB drive has been formatted.


This article lists the best USB formatting tools, as well as explains the different ways to format your USB drive. DiskInternals Uneraser can help you recover your files from a problematic USB drive, and also help you back up the files as disk images.


How do I format a USB drive?

You can format a USB drive using the following steps:

  • Insert the USB drive into your computer's USB port.
  • Open File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac) and locate the USB drive.
  • Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) on the USB drive and select "Format" from the context menu. Alternatively, you can select the USB drive and then click on "Format" from the toolbar at the top of the window.
  • Choose the file system you want to use for the USB drive. For Windows, it's usually NTFS, while for Mac, it's usually macOS Extended (Journaled) or exFAT. If you're not sure, you can use the default file system.
  • Name the USB drive and select any other formatting options you want, such as allocation unit size. The default options are usually fine.
  • Click on "Start" to begin the formatting process. Depending on the size of the USB drive and the file system you chose, this may take a few minutes.
  • Once the formatting process is complete, you can eject the USB drive from your computer and start using it.

It's important to note that formatting a USB drive will erase all the data on it, so make sure to back up any important files before you format it. Additionally, if you're formatting a USB drive that you plan to use on both Windows and Mac computers, it's best to use the exFAT file system, as it's compatible with both operating systems.

What happens when you format a USB?

When you format a USB drive, the formatting process will erase all data and files that are stored on the drive, including the file system used to organize the data. The formatting process will then create a new file system on the drive, which determines how the data is organized, stored, and accessed on the drive.

USB format tool FAT32, how to format usb to FAT32 on Windows 10/11?

There are several ways to format a USB drive to the FAT32 file system on Windows 10/11. Here are three methods:

Method 1: Use the built-in Windows Disk Management tool

  • Insert the USB drive into your computer's USB port.
  • Open Disk Management by pressing Windows key + X and selecting "Disk Management" from the menu.
  • Locate the USB drive in the list of disks and right-click on it.
  • Select "Format" from the context menu.
  • Choose "FAT32" as the file system and give the USB drive a name.
  • Click "OK" to start the formatting process.

Method 2: Use the Command Prompt

  • Insert the USB drive into your computer's USB port.
  • Press Windows key + X and select "Command Prompt (Admin)" from the menu.
  • Type "diskpart" and press Enter.
  • Type "list disk" and press Enter to see a list of disks.
  • Identify the disk number of your USB drive.
  • Type "select disk X" (where X is the disk number of your USB drive) and press Enter.
  • Type "clean" and press Enter to erase the USB drive.
  • Type "create partition primary" and press Enter to create a new primary partition on the USB drive.
  • Type "format fs=FAT32 quick" and press Enter to format the USB drive to the FAT32 file system.

How to format SSD for Windows 10?

To format an SSD for Windows 10, you can use the built-in Windows Disk Management tool. Here are the steps:

  • Press the Windows key + X on your keyboard and select "Disk Management" from the menu.
  • Locate the SSD that you want to format in the list of drives. It should be labeled as "Disk X" with the size of the drive listed next to it.
  • Right-click on the SSD and select "Format" from the context menu.
  • In the Format window, select the file system you want to use for the SSD. NTFS is recommended for most users, but you can also choose exFAT or FAT32.
  • Give the SSD a name in the "Volume Label" field.
  • Check the box next to "Perform a quick format" to speed up the formatting process.
  • Click on the "OK" button to start the formatting process.
  • Wait for the formatting process to complete. This may take a few minutes depending on the size of the SSD.

After the formatting process is complete, you can use the SSD as a data storage device for your Windows 10 computer. It's important to note that formatting an SSD will erase all data on it, so make sure to back up any important files before formatting.

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