How to Format a USB Flash Drive to FAT32

By Ruri Ranbe

Windows allows users to format flash drives in the FAT16, FAT32 and--with a few additional steps--NTFS file systems. While FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS each have their advantages and disadvantages, FAT32 wastes less space and can prolong the life of the flash drive. To prepare a flash drive for use, change the file system, or clear from it any malicious infections, use Windows' Format Removable Disk tool to format your flash drive with the FAT32 file system.

Step 1

Hold down the "Windows" key and "E" to open Windows Explorer. Click "Computer." Insert your flash drive into a USB port located on the rear or side of your computer.

Step 2

Close AutoPlay. Right-click the drive that appeared in Windows Explorer after connecting your USB flash drive to your PC.

Step 3

Choose "Format the drive" from the contextual menu. Select "FAT32" from the "File system" menu.

Step 4

Click "Start" to format the flash drive with the FAT32 file system.

Tips & Warnings

  • Back up any files on the flash drive before formatting it.