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Updated on October 2, 2012

Formatting Processes

Right-Click and select Format
Right-Click and select Format
You get a warning message and click OK to continue with the format
You get a warning message and click OK to continue with the format
Format in progress
Format in progress
If the Format is successful, a Format Complete message appears
If the Format is successful, a Format Complete message appears

What is Disk Formatting?

Disk Formatting refers to the preparation of a disk for new storage. This will involve erasing all the data in that drive. Flash disks get corrupted from viruses at times altering the document's format stored in them. Many people have also unknowingly formatted their disks resulting to data loss. Technology has made it possible to recover lost data through some data recovery programs. We shall look on how to format a flash disk on this topic. In the next hub we shall discuss on how to recover hidden data from a flash disk using the command prompt in Windows.

Steps in Formatting a Flash Disk - Method 1

  1. Before anything else, ensure that you have copied any important data in that flash drive to another location.
  2. Access your flash disk from My Computer. It should be indicated under "Devices with Removable Storage" that is if you have arranged the icons by 'show in groups'. The drive can also be recognized using the label as well as the drive letter. Be careful not to format the wrong drive if you have connected more than one flash drive to your computer.
  3. Right-Click on the drive and select Format. The disk size, file format as well as the label will be indicated on the formatting dialog box. If the disk is between 512MB and 2TB, use the FAT32 (File Allocation Table) file system. Most Flash drives fall under this category.
  4. Check the "Quick Format" box and then Click start for faster formatting otherwise just click on Start for low level formatting to start the format process.
  5. A warning message will appear about loosing all the data in the disk when you format. Click OK to continue formatting.
  6. The disk will indicate with "Format complete" if not damaged, otherwise if damaged it will indicated with an error message "Windows was unable to complete the format."
  7. To change the disk Label, right-click on it and choose rename, type the new name and press Enter. This is the name to be indicated besides the drive letter e.g. PAUL (E)
  8. The drive is now ready for data storage and you can now transfer back the data you had emptied from the flash drive if need be.

Steps in Formatting a Flash Disk - Method 2 (Using Disk Management)

This is another advanced way of formatting disks in the computer. I have severally used this method to format flash drives which could not complete the format using the earlier explained method. You can also choose to change the drive letter from this method as well as changing the volume label.

  1. Plug the Flash drive to be formatted in your computer
  2. Right-click on My Computer and select "Manage" which should direct you to "Computer Management". You can also click on Start button>Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer Management.
  3. On the left pane click on Disk Management and the Logical Disk Manager will display the available storage disks on the right side.
  4. On the lower side, identify the drive you want to format and right click on it then select 'Format'.
  5. Change the Volume Label if need be, check the 'Perform a quick scan' box and click OK.
  6. You will get a warning message. Click OK to start the format process. This will be shown in percentage and during this time the drive keeps on flickering.
  7. If the format is successful, the drive will indicate as 'Healthy'
  8. The drive is now ready for use.

To avoiding damaging the disk, always use the 'Safely remove Hardware' to eject it. Never attempt to eject the drive when a program in that drive is running. To do this, right click on the green icon on the notification area and choose 'Safely Remove Hardware'. Unplug when you get the "Safe to Remove Hardware" message. Unplug your disk from the Computer when not in use for a sudden power loss can also easily damage the disk.


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    • Palnatech profile image

      Paul Njuguna 4 years ago from Nairobi

      Thanks a lot Josie. hoping you will keep tuned for more.

    • josiejossy profile image

      josiejossy 4 years ago from Nairobi Kenya

      Nice hub with easy steps to follow, thnx for sharing........cheers