To format your USB flash drive in FAT32 format, open File Explorer or Disk Management, right-click your drive, choose “Format”, select “FAT32” under “File System” and choose “Start” or “OK”. To do this from Command Prompt or PowerShell, run the command “format /FS:FAT32 X:” replacing “X” with your drive letter.
Formatting your USB flash drive with the FAT32 file system is as easy as selecting a few options or running a command on your Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC. We’ll show you both ways to accomplish the task, so that your drive is formatted in your format. favorite.
Warning: Formatting your drive with any file system erases all data stored on the drive. Make sure you have backed up your important files before proceeding to reformat your drive.
Should you format your USB flash drive with FAT32?
There are many reasons to format your drive in FAT32 format. The most common is that your drive will work with many more devices than if it were formatted in another file format, say NTFS. Almost all devices support FAT32.
A good example here is that you can add data to your drive from your Mac machine if your drive was formatted in FAT32. You can’t do that with an NTFS formatted drive.
While there are advantages to using the FAT32 format, there are also some disadvantages. You cannot store a single file larger than 4 GB on a FAT32 formatted drive. Also, the built-in graphical formatting options in Windows only allow you to format your drives to FAT32 if they have a storage capacity of 32 GB or less. (However, there is a command-line method and third-party application to format drives larger than 32 GB in FAT32 format.)
How to format your USB stick to FAT32
Formatting a USB drive to FAT32 is as easy as selecting a few options in File Explorer or Disk Management, or running a few commands from Command Prompt or PowerShell. We will show you all these methods below.
Using File Explorer
To format a drive in FAT32 format using File Explorer, first, connect your drive to your Windows PC. Then open File Explorer by pressing Windows + E.
In File Explorer, right-click your drive and choose “Format.”
A “Format” window opens. Here, click the “File System” dropdown menu and choose “FAT32.” Optionally, set other options. Then click “Start”.
When your drive is formatted, it will be in FAT32 format.
RELATED: How to format a hard drive or SSD in Windows 11
With disk management
Disk Management is another graphical tool that you can use to format your drives. To use it for your USB flash drive, right-click the “Start” menu icon and select “Disk Management.”
In the main Disk Management window, right-click your USB drive and choose “Format”.
In the “Format” window, select the “File System” drop-down menu and choose “FAT32”. Then click “OK” to start formatting your drive.
Disk Management will display a message when your drive is formatted.
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Using the Command Prompt
If you like running commands, there is a command you can use at the command prompt to format your drive in FAT32 format.
To do that, first, open the “Start” menu, search for “Command Prompt” and select “Run as administrator”. At the “User Account Control” prompt, choose “Yes.”
In the command prompt window, type the following command replacing
X with the letter of your USB stick. Then press Enter.
Warning: Make sure you enter the correct drive letter or you will end up formatting another drive on your PC.
format /FS:FAT32 X:
When your drive is formatted, close the command prompt.
RELATED: How to format a USB drive in Linux that works with Windows
With Windows PowerShell
PowerShell is another way to run commands on your Windows PC. You can also use this tool to format your drives.
To do this, open the “Start” menu, search for “PowerShell” and click “Run as administrator”. At the “User Account Control” prompt, choose “Yes.”
In PowerShell, type the following command replacing
X with your drive letter. Then press Enter.
Warning: Make sure the drive letter is correct or you will end up erasing the contents of another drive.
format /FS:FAT32 X:
When your drive is formatted, close the PowerShell window.
Your USB flash drive is now ready to use in the FAT32 file format. Enjoy!
RELATED: How to format USB drives larger than 32 GB with FAT32 in Windows