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Easy Ways to Format USB without Losing Data

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jul 17, 2024 • Filed to: USB Recovery • Proven solutions

Will formatting a USB completely loses all of its data? Interesting question right? Many of your answers will be yes. But interestingly it won't. In this world of technology, nothing becomes impossible. Even after completely formatting all the files from an exFAT or FAT32 USB flash drive we can completely recover it or even we can repair the damaged data.

Here we explain it in such a way that each one of you can format USB drive without losing data.

Part 1: What Does Format Flash Drive Mean?

When we buy a new USB drive, we all make sure that the complete space available in the flash drive is empty. So what happens when we start adding files to the same? We know space starts to get occupied by the files.

But what happens if it is filled and we want to use it again in a fresh manner. There we use the technique called formatting which means we completely erase all the data and files inside the flash drive. So let us see how this works:

When we add data to a USB flash drive it creates a filing system that organizes the data while allowing you to store the most files possible. This virtual filing cupboard organizes your files in a way that makes your USB flash drive perform at its best.

Part 2: Will Formatting Flash Drive Erase Data?

The answer to this question is a simple yes. Let us have a quick look at how it happens. Here we talked about organizing files. Files are allocated by certain systems that determine how and where your files are digitally stored. There are mainly 4 types of file systems for storage devices: FAT, FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS.

NTFS uses less fragmentation and therefore manages space more effectively. It also excels at transferring files larger than 4GB. However, this system is not always optimal for USB flash drives unless you need to transfer extra-large files.

FAT and FAT32 are supported by nearly every operating system, use less memory, and work faster. The file system exFAT combines the best of both NTFS and FAT for flash drives by reading and writing larger files at a faster speed. See: 5 Ways to Convert FAT32 to NTFS on Windows Without Losing Data

Here is the method to format. Formatting is not complex either. If you have your flash drive and computer system, you already have all the tools you need.

  1. Right-click on your flash drive under My Computer and select Format.
  2. Choose from the drop-down menu for the File System to change it to its desired format. The default is generally FAT 32.
  3. Uncheck Quick Format if needed.
  4. Then, click Start and click OK to bypass the deletion warning.

Part 3: How to Format USB Drive without Losing Data?

Step 1. Recover and Backup Data from USB Drive Before Formatting

To recover files, first, you have to launch Recoverit on your computer. To make Recoverit Data Recovery run on a Windows computer, you have to double click the "Wondershare Recoverit" icon on the Desktop. If it is not available on the Desktop, you can enter "Recoverit" in the search box on your Windows computer. And then click on the App or Choose to "Open" it.

deleted data recovery

Recoverit Data Recovery - The Best File Recovery Software

  • Ability to recover all files like photos, videos, documents, etc.
  • Can retrieve data from all data loss scenarios.
  • Ability to restore data from all storage devices (internal and external) and crashed windows system.
  • Video repair tool that can repair corrupted videos under different scenarios.

Step 1: Connect the external device

Before getting Recoverit started, you need to connect the external device to your computer. Make sure that it can be recognized or detected.

Step 2: Select the external device

To recover lost or deleted files from the removable storage media, please select the device as the target location. And then hit on the "Start" button. Even though the partition on the device has got lost, you can still use Recoverit to bring the lost data back.

recoverit interface

Step 3: Scan the external device

An all-around scan will be launched on the external storage media. Wait a few minutes to finish the scanning. During the process, you can locate the targeted files, as well as pause or stop it.

operations during scanning

Step 4: Preview and recover files

Once the scanning ends, you can preview the files from the scanning result. To get the files back, click "Recover" and save them into another safe location.

preview recovered photos

Step 2. 3 Ways to Format USB without Losing Data

Here are several ways to format the USB drive. We will show you how to use the Windows File Explorer, Windows Disk Management, Command Prompt to format the USB drives effectively.

Method 1. Format USB Using Windows Explorer

Follow this way to format your USB device using Windows Explorer:

  1. Connect the USB device to your computer.
  2. Go to This PC/My Computer.
  3. Find the USB device, and right-click on it->click Format.
  4. Select one file system for the USB device, and click Start->OK to get the process started.

format usb from file explorer

Method 2. Using Command Prompt

To format USB using Command Prompt, follow this way:

  1. Press Win+S. Type Command Prompt in the search box.
  2. Right-click Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator.
  3. In the Command windows, type the following commands one by one, and press Enter each time:
    list disk
    select disk X(Xrefers to the number of the USB device)
    create partition primary
    format fs=ntfs

format usb using command prompt

Method 3. Using Disk Management

Another Windows tool you can use to format USB without losing data is Disk Management.

  1. Right-click the Start menu->Disk Management.
  2. Find the USB drive and right-click on it->Format.

format usb using disk management

After the formatting process, you can transfer the data you just recovered and saved with Recoverit to the USB drive again. If you find the USB device becomes raw, you can follow this guide to fix the raw usb device.


When you have lost files, the primary thing you would like to see is whether or not you've got a backup on your computer or other storage media. Just attend the backup and restore all of your files. Regularly creating a backup is extremely important and useful, it can assist you to save longer to recover files from USB drive when data got lost, and otherwise you should get the Recoverit USB Data Recovery software to recover your data back.

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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