Reformat a USB Drive

Modified on Fri, 10 Nov 2023 at 01:40 PM


Erase and reformat a storage device in Disk Utility on Mac:

In Disk Utility on Mac, you can erase and reformat storage devices to use with your Mac. Erasing a storage device deletes everything on it.

A Disk Utility window showing two storage devices in Show All Devices view.

  1. If you have any files you want to save, copy them to another storage device.
  2. Open the Disk Utility app  on your Mac using one of the following methods, depending on the type of disk or volume you want to erase:
    • If you want to erase your startup disk: Start up your computer in macOS Recovery, then choose Disk Utility in the Recovery app. To learn how to start up your computer in macOS Recovery, see Intro to macOS Recovery.

Note: If you want to get your Mac ready to trade in, sell, or give away, and your computer is a Mac with Apple silicon or an Intel-based Mac with an Apple T2 Security Chip, use Erase Assistant.

  • If you want to erase any other type of storage device: Double-click Disk Utility in the /Applications/Utilities folder.
  1. Choose View > Show All Devices.
  2. In the sidebar, select the storage device you want to erase, then click the Erase button
  3. Click the Scheme pop-up menu, then choose GUID Partition Map.

If the Scheme pop-up menu isn’t available, make sure you select the storage device you want to erase—it’s at the top of the hierarchy.

  1. Click the Format pop-up menu, then choose a file system format.
  2. Enter a name.
  3. (Optional) If available, click Security Options, use the slider to choose how many times to write over the erased data, then click OK.

Secure erase options are available only for some types of storage devices. If the Security Options button is not available, Disk Utility cannot perform a secure erase on the storage device.

  1. Click Erase, then click Done.


To format a USB flash drive from File Explorer on Windows 10, use these steps: 

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on This PC from the left pane.
  3. Under the "Devices and drives" section, right-click the flash drive and select the Format option. Use the "File system" drop-down menu and select the NTFS option
  1. Use the default selection in the "Allocation unit size" drop-down menu.
  2. In the "Volume label" field, confirm a drive name that will appear in File Explorer. For example, workUSB.
  1. Under the "Format options" section, select the Quick format option.
  2. Click the Start button.
  1. Click the Yes button.

Once you complete the steps, the flash drive will be ready to store documents, pictures, videos, and other files.


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