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The Best Ways to Format and Unformat Your Flash Drive

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 27, 2024 • Filed to: USB Recovery • Proven solutions

"I am having trouble storing any data on my USB flash drive, what is the most straightforward way to format a flash drive? Also, what to do if I accidentally formatted all my files without bakcup, is it possible to unformat the flash drive and recover the data?"

USB drives bring us tons of convenience in daily work and life. However, at such high frequency and intensity usage, flash drives tend to cause some problems to the drive, which may also result in the loss of data. If you intend to avoid any such inconvenience, stay with us and read through this article as we are going to discuss the simplest way to format and unformat flash drive.

Part 1: Everything about Formatting a USB:

In this section of the article, we will be showing you the different reasons that may force you to format the USB flash drive and whether or not formatting wipes the data inside the USB or not. We will also be discussing the single most comfortable method to reformat a flash drive that'll make it as right as new for you.

format flash drive 1

1.1. Reasons for Formatting a Flash Drive:

Errors within the flash drive or any storage device for that matter plays a pivotal role in forcing you to format the device and wipe all the data inside it for good. We tend to ignore the small warning signs and push past them until something disastrous occurs with our USB, and we have no other option than to do something drastic such as formatting the USB flash drive to fix the problem.

It is the reason why many experts advise the everyday user to keep creating the backup for every file they use on their computer or USB. In this portion of the editorial, we will show you the different reasons that may prompt you to format the flash drive, which should be the last resort to solve any USB-related issue. Below are some of the causes for which will derive your decision to format the drive finally.

  • If you frequently pull out your USB during file transfer, then such activity may corrupt the data, and you will not be able to open it.
  • The computer will fail to recognize or read the contents of the USB if the file-format of the drive becomes RAW. There's only one solution to fix such a problem, and it is to format the flash drive altogether.
  • If you have a habit of using your USB on multiple computers, then the probability suggests that it will get infected with some computer virus or malware at any time. It is essential to keep a reliable anti-virus on the PC at all times. Otherwise, you will have to format the USB.

1.2. How to Format a Flash Drive:

There is more than one method to format a USB storage disk, and it is not a hard thing to do. All you need is to connect the drive to a computer and know how to use the built-in features of the Windows operating system.

Under these circumstances, we highly suggest you avail the assistance of File Explorer or the Command Prompt utility of Windows and avoid using any third-party software program. In this part, we will discuss both methods that will show you how to reformat the USB flash drive with ease.

Format the Flash Drive with File Explorer:

    • Connect the USB with the computer and open "This PC" from the desktop.
    • From the display, locate the USB flash drive and right-click on it.
    • Once you see the drop-down menu, click on the "Format" option.

format flash drive 2

    • Click on "Start" and let the interface complete the scan. You will be able to use the USB drive again in no time.

format flash drive 3

Format the Flash Drive with Command Prompt:

    • Type cmd into the Windows' search bar and run "Command Prompt" as an administrator;

format flash drive 4

      • Enter Diskpart on the cmd interface;
      • Type list disk and enter;
      • Enter select disk 2 and type Clean;
      • Enter Create partition primary;
      • To end the process, just enter format fs=exfat

format flash drive 5

    • You have successfully formatted your USB flash drive!

1.3. Does Formatting a Flash Drive Erase Data?

Formatting a flash drive will virtually erase the data inside, and you can not access it unless you use other means to restore it. The data will remain in the backdoor of the memory location of the flash drive until you overwrite it with new files. The formatted data will gradually lose its place once you fill with new items over time!

Part 2. Everything about Unformatting a USB Flash Drive:

In this part, we will discuss the aftermaths of formatting a USB flash drive and the technique to unformat it with the help of Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery tool.

2.1. What is Unformatting?

Unformatting a storage device or a simple disk, for that matter, is the act of restoring the formatted data to its former glory. You can simply use the services of third-party recovery software and scan the newly formatted flash drive for erased data.

2.2. Why Could We Unformat a USB Flash Drive?

As mentioned earlier in the article, you are only able to unformat a flash drive until you do not overwrite the storage space of the USB with any additional or new files. This is the reason why recovery tools are successful in recovering your files with extreme efficiency and at a fast pace. If you accidentally overwrite the storage of the USB, then you won't be able to unformat the flash drive at all.

2.3. How to Unformat Flash Drive and Get Data Back?

Once you understand the concept of formatting and unformatting a USB flash drive, the next step in this journey is to perform the actual process to retrieve each and everything back to the source location or whatever folder you want. For this purpose, there is no better option than using the services of Recoverit that works well on both Windows and macOS. Here are some of the other unique characteristics of Recoverit:

Part 3. Recover Lost Data from Formatted USB Flash Drive

You can perform the easy three-step function stated below to unformat your USB flash drive:

Step 1. Select a location:

Connect your USB flash drive with the computer and launch Recoverit. Select the USB from the "External Devices" tab and hit "Start."

recoverit interface

Step 2. Scan the location:

Allow Recoverit to scan the USB, which will take some time to finish. You can pause or stop the search from checking the already recovered data midway. With a pop-up text, Recoverit will notify you that the scan is complete, and the recovered data is ready for preview. You can find the files under two categories "File Path" and "File Type." Such kind of separation allows you to easily distinguish between the file and pick which one you want to restore.

operations during scanning

Step 3. Preview and recover files:

Once you select the data through the preview section, all you are required to do is push the "Recover" tab and save the files to any destination you desire.

preview recovered photos


In some cases, formatting a flash drive is the only way to go to make the device workable again. The only thing one can do to avoid such circumstances is to handle the gadget carefully, keep an updated backup of the files, and install a reliable anti-virus program. In this article, we have successfully conducted two quick methods to format a USB flash drive along with the several causes that may prompt you to wipe the drive clean to stop any further damage.

However, once you format the USB, you can quickly unformat it with Recoverit under the condition that you do not overwrite the files before the recovery. If you know anyone in your family or friends who wish to format the USB, then you can help them by sharing this article!

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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