In the process of formatting a flash drive on a Windows or Mac computer, there is nothing complicated, and many users have repeatedly performed this operation. However, there are a number of nuances that can create certain difficulties, for example, removing write protection, choosing a file system and cluster size, as well as data recovery.
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It should be borne in mind that using formatting, you can not only delete all files, but also debug the device if there are problems in its operation.
You can format a USB flash drive (USB flash drive) in Windows as follows:
1. Run the system formatting tool.
Plug in the USB drive, then go to “My computer“. Right-click on the flash drive icon that appears and select “Format“.
2. Set the desired parameters.
When choosing a file system, the user indicates the type of data organization on the drive.
There are three different options available:
1. FAT32. This type guarantees compatibility with Windows OS, macOS and most USB-compatible devices, such as game consoles, media players, etc. At the same time, the volume of the recorded file should not exceed 4 GB. FAT32 is perhaps the best option for collaboration between Windows and macOS.
2. exFAT. If you select this option, the flash drive will be compatible with Windows, starting with version XP SP2, as well as Mac OS X Snow Leopard and later. This type of file system allows you to write files of any size, but the flash drive may not work on some devices.
3. NTFS. Selecting this type, the user will receive a fully compatible with Windows USB-drive. At the same time, on macOS, you can only view files without being able to overwrite them. NTFS also allows you to download files of any size.
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Having decided on the type of file system, you must specify the cluster size, that is, the distribution unit. In this case, the user needs to select the minimum amount of memory allocated by the device for one file.
If you specify a cluster size of 64 KB, then even smaller files will occupy a minimum of 64 KB of memory. It makes sense to specify the cluster size small if it is assumed that a lot of small files, for example, text documents, will be stored on a flash drive. This way you can save free space, but the speed of the USB drive will decrease. If the user intends to store large files on the USB flash drive, then the value should be specified more. In any case, you can always leave the default value.
In field “Volume label»You can rename the drive.
Do not forget to check “Quick (clear the table of contents)“. If you select this option, you can save time on cleaning, however, if you uncheck the box, the system will check the drive for errors, which may come in handy when debugging, although the process itself will take a little longer.
After completing the selection of options, click “To begin»To start the formatting process.
All the procedures described above can be repeated by formatting the flash drive again.
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How to format on a secure flash drive
Formatting may not be available due to write protection enabled. It can be disabled using the registry editor. To do this, follow these steps:
1. Go to the registry editor using the key combination Windows + R and paste in the line that appears regeditthen press Enter.
2. Follow the following path in the folder tree: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE → SYSTEM → CurrentControlSet → Control → StorageDevicePolicies (the last directory may be missing).
3. In the folder StorageDevicePolicies open option Writeprotect and change the value from 1 on the 0then press “Save”.
4. Unplug the USB flash drive and restart the computer.
Some flash drives have physical write protection in the form of a switch. In this case, you just need to move the switch to a different position.
In the absence of a catalog StorageDevicePolicies it needs to be created. To do this, right-click on the directory Control and select “Create“→”Section“. Indicate the name StorageDevicePolicies.
Next, right-click on the section StorageDevicePolicies, and then “Create“→”DWORD Parameter” or “QWORD parameter“.
Specify the parameter name Writeprotect and make sure its value is equal 0.
Then close the registry editor, disconnect the USB flash drive and restart the computer.
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What to do if you can’t format the USB flash drive
Sometimes Windows may report that formatting is not possible. The cause of this phenomenon may be a malfunction in the work of both the flash drive itself and the computer.
In such a situation, you can try to use special software to restore normal operation. This software is often located on the website of the manufacturer of the flash drive. For example, for drives manufactured by Transcend, JetFlash Online Recovery is available, and for ADATA, USB Flash Drive Online Recovery is available.
In addition, universal programs are available on the Internet that are suitable for flash drives from any manufacturer, such as the USB Disk Storage Format Tool.
If you tried all the methods described above, but you still can’t format the drive, it may be faulty and needs to be replaced or repaired.
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How to erase and format a USB flash drive or external drive on a Mac?
If you use one or more external drives to store data outside the main Mac drive, you definitely need to know how to handle it in macOS. Further in this material we will tell. how to properly erase and format USB sticks or external drives connected to a computer using the standard macOS toolkit, as well as third-party utilities.
macOS is a self-contained OS. Apple programmers have introduced advanced utilities in it for comfortable operation of the system right out of the box. To solve problems associated with managing internal or external disks, there is a standard application “Disk utility“. With its help, the user can not only erase the disk, but also format it in a format that is understandable for Windows computers or for using Boot Camp.
1. Open “Disk utility»In any way convenient for you (via Dock, Launchpad, Explorer Finder (Programs → Utilities), or Spotlight search).
2. In the left side menu, select the external drive of interest connected to the Mac (it will be displayed in the “External“).
Please note that in the structure of the left side menu both disks and partitions are displayed. A disk can contain several separate partitions (their names appear slightly to the right of the disk name). Erasing a partition, you only destroy files that are stored directly on it. When formatting a disk, all partitions and all data that is on this disk are erased. Be careful!
3. Press the buttonErase“. Specify a name for the partition or disk and select the format of interest:
- APFS – The standard macOS file system, introduced in 2016, is used in macOS 10.13 and later;
- APFS (encrypted) – file system with additional volume encryption;
- APFS (case sensitive) – the file system defines, for example, folders with the names “Yablik” and “Yablok” as two completely different folders;
- APFS (case sensitive, encrypted) – combined file system with all the nuances of the formats described above;
- Mac OS Extended (Journaled) – The standard macOS file system, used in macOS 10.12 and earlier;
- Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted) – file system with additional volume encryption;
- Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled) – the file system defines, for example, folders with the names “Yablik” and “Yablok” as two completely different folders;
- Mac OS Extended (case sensitive, journaled, encrypted) – combined file system with all the nuances of the formats described above;
- MS-DOS (FAT) – used on a PC running Windows with disks of 32 GB or less;
- Exfat – Used on Windows PCs with disks larger than 32 GB. Use this method if you need to format to NTFS format.
Typically, Mac users format external drives (internal, especially) to the Mac OS Extended format (journaled). Formatting in MS-DOS (FAT) or ExFAT is ideal if you are going to use a USB flash drive or an external drive with both macOS and Windows computers.
ATTENTION! Choosing the encryption option you will need to come up with a password and remember it. If you forget the password, then you will not be able to decrypt the drive and receive data in any way.
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4. If you format an external drive as a whole with several partitions, then in the “Scheme»Select a layout (in detail):
- GUID Partition Scheme – select this option to use drives with Mac computers based on Intel processors;
- Master Boot Record (or “fdisk”) – use this scheme if you intend to use the disk as a secondary drive from Windows to Mac installed through Boot Camp;
- Apple Partition Scheme – Compatible with PowerPC Mac computers with macOS 10.4 or earlier.
5. Optionally, you can specify the encryption settings. The simpler the protection, the faster the drive will work, but it will be less protected from third parties.
6. Press the buttonErase»And wait until the formatting process is complete. When the disk icon disappears from the desktop, do not worry. After formatting is complete, everything will be displayed again.
7. After the formatting process is completed, click the “Done“And exit”Disk utility“.
To correctly eject a disk in the Finder Explorer, move the mouse cursor over the name of the disk and on the right click on the special icon. On the desktop, right-click on the disk and select “Extract “disc name”“.
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How to write data to a USB flash drive formatted in NTFS on Mac
Many users in the process of using Mac computers are faced with a situation where it is impossible to write data (read-only) to a USB flash drive or external drive. In this case, you must either use the above instructions and format the disk, for example, in MS-DOS (FAT) or ExFAT format (it will be readable on both Mac and Windows), or install the Paragon NTFS for Mac driver.