How to Format USB Flash Drive to NTFS on Windows 10

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Sep 14, 2021 • Filed to: Windows Computer Solutions • Proven solutions

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USB Flash Drives are the new file briefcase in this world of technology. It allows you to store as many files you want within a little device. It makes files very compact, easily transportable, and organized. However, just like with a filing system used in paperwork, USB drives also make use of file systems. The most common file systems used are NTFS, exFAT, and FAT32.

If you’ve been using flash drives and other external storage devices for a long time, you may be already familiar with this. Each file system has its pros and cons. Many PC users are opting to format or change their file systems to NTFS. If you’re unfamiliar with the file system and have no idea why this needs to be done, keep on reading. In this article, we will provide you with three easy ways you can format your USB drive to NTFS.


Part 1. Why Do You Need to Format a USB Drive to NTFS?

The default format used by most USB flash drives and other external storage media is FAT32. Some people are fine with keeping this format. But for most users, they always find the need to convert or format their USB drive to NTFS. This is for many reasons. With a USB drive that uses the FAT32 file type, you can only copy or add files less than 4GB. This may be a hassle for some users who want to transport large files like movies, program installers, etc. Meanwhile, NTFS doesn’t have this limitation. You can copy or add files of any size and the partition sizes usually have a large capacity.


Part 2. What is NTFS?

NTFS is a type of file system. It stands for the NT File system and is also called the New Technology File System. It’s a way of organizing files within a flash drive. It’s a new improvement from previous file types like File Allocation Table (FAT) or Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) previously used by Microsoft Windows. Because it’s a relatively new file type, it has increased security from its new features like file permissions and encryptions. NTFS also has a Change Journal where the driver keeps track of the changes made within the drive. This means that if ever your PC unexpectedly shuts down or you experience a system crash, you can recover files that were lost during the event.


Part 3. How to Format USB Flash Drive to NTFS on Windows 10?

Here are 4 proven methods on how to format USB flash drive to NTFS in Windows 10.

Method 1. Format USB Flash drive to NTFS using Disk Management

Here’s a step-by-step guide to format USB flash drive to NTFS using disk management.

Step 1. Find My Computer/This PC in the Start menu or by typing it in the search bar. Right-click on it and click on Manage.
Step 2. Choose Disk Management and locate and right-tap on your USB flash drive and then choose Format.
Step 3. Set to NTFS file system, tick Quick Format and tap on Ok.

format-using-disk-management

Method 2. Format USB flash drive to NTFS using Command Prompt

Using Command Prompt, make sure to type in the exact commands to avoid unexpected errors.

Step 1. Launch Command Prompt by typing in cmd in the Run tool or typing Command Prompt in the search bar. Select Run as administrator.

Step 2. Type in the command:
convert G: /fs:NTFS

NOTE: In this command, we’re formatting drive G. Change this to whatever drive letter you’re trying to work with.

Method 3. Formatting your USB drive using Windows tools

You can easily format your USB drive with just the built-in features of your Windows computer. Follow the steps below to perform this:

Step 1. Plug the USB drive into the USB port of your computer or laptop.
Step 2. Go to My Computer and right-click on your USB drive. A drop-down menu will appear. Choose Format…

Step 3. The format window will open. Here you will see the device’s capacity, File System, and Allocation unit size. You can also rename the volume label. The Restore device defaults button will revert your drive’s settings to default. You can change the file system in NTFS or FAT and also assign the unit size.

Step 4. Select the Start button at the bottom of the window and click OK to begin the format and erase all the data contained in the drive.

Method 4. Format USB flash drive with PowerShell

PowerShell commands can also be used to format a USB flash drive to delete its contents. Follow the below steps to format a USB flash drive using PowerShell commands:

Step 1. Press the Start button.
Step 2. Type PowerShell into the search bar, right-click the top result and pick the Run as administrator function.
Step 3. To execute a quick format on the USB flash drive, enter the following command and click Enter:

Format-Volume -DriveLetter DRIVE-LETTER -FileSystem FILE-SYSTEM -NewFileSystemLabel DRIVE-NAME

Replace DRIVE-LETTER with the correct letter for the drive you want to format, FILE-SYSTEM with FAT32, exFAT, or NTFS, and DRIVE-NAME with the name you want the computer to appear in File Explorer with in the command.
Example: This below example performs a quick format of the "F" drive: Format-Volume -DriveLetter F -FileSystem NTFS -NewFileSystemLabel workFlash

format-usb-powershell

Step 4. To perform a full format of the USB flash drive, enter the following command and click Enter:

Format-Volume -DriveLetter DRIVE-LETTER -FileSystem FILE-SYSTEM -Full -Force

Replace DRIVE-LETTER with the correct letter for the drive you want to format, and FILE-SYSTEM with FAT32, exFAT, or NTFS, depending on the file system you want to use in the command. If you don't know and are running Windows 10, you might use NTFS. The Full option instructs the command to format fully, and the -Force option specifies the override switch.

Example: This below example performs a complete format of the "F" drive:

Format-Volume -DriveLetter F -FileSystem NTFS -Full -Force

When you finish the steps, PowerShell will format the removable storage with the settings you mentioned.


Conclusion:

Formatting your USB drive may seem intimidating at first. Formatting changes the file type of your drive and along with this, also wipes out all the data saved within. So it’s important to back up all the files to your computer or another drive before performing any format. With any of the methods previously mentioned above, you will be able to perform a format of your USB flash drive easily and quickly.

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