How to Format USB Flash Drive in DOS

A USB flash drive cannot be used to store information until it has been formatted. You have a few methods to choose from when it comes to formatting. You can use FAT, FAT32 or NTFS formatting types by formatting the drive in Windows Explorer. Alternatively, you can format the drive using DOS if you like to work with the command prompt or if you have difficulty formatting the drive using the graphical interface.

Turquoise USB flash drive about to connect to laptop, close-up
USB flash drive
credit: Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Step

Plug your flash drive into an empty USB port on your computer.

Step

Click "Start," "All Programs," "Accessories" and "Command Prompt" to open the DOS command prompt window.

Step

Type "diskpart" after the command prompt to start the Disk Partition utility. This should result in a DISKPART command prompt.

Step

Type each of the following commands, one at a time, after the DISKPART prompt, pressing "Enter" after each:

Step

list disk select disk # clean create partition primary select partition1 active format FS=NTFS assign exit

Step

Close the command prompt window. Your USB drive is now formatted.