How to format USB drive using only Command Prompt - Quick guide

by skywalker

Is your USB device showing less storage than usual and you are unable to format it right?

Using USB devices is a must in modern electronic ecosystems, but sometimes they get corrupted, unusable and you can't even format them properly...It is very common that the USB shows lower capacity, no matter how big storage really is. In addition, Windows is unable to format it and neither are other formatting tools.This article will show you how to do that in just less than a minute without any additional software. Good old DOS will do the trick!

This procedure will also help format USB drive that has been corrupted in any other way. Well, any but physical...

USB Drive
USB Drive
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Warning: I am not a PC expert and I am writing based on my personal experience... I will not be responsible If anything is broken during the process...

Run cmd from Start menu as Administrator

To be able to format corrupted USB device you should follow the simple procedure in cmd (DOS), but you need administrator permissions.

Go to Start menu and type cmd, but don't click (you need to run this in Administrator mode). While cmd is highlighted, hold Ctrl+Shift and hit Enter. This is keyboard shortcut to run any program as Administrator, which can also be done with right click to the cmd icon and click Run as Administrator.

Find cmd in Start menu
Find cmd in Start menu

Opened cmd should look like this:

cmd in Administrator mode
cmd in Administrator mode

DISKPART command

Type: diskpart

After entering diskpart command and hitting Enter, you should get the output marked green in the picture below.

diskpart command
diskpart command

LIST DISK command

Type: list disk

This command will list all your hard disks. You should get the output as shown in the picture below (marked green).

Notice the one showing your USB device (the easiest way to find it is by its capacity). Check again as defining the right disk is VERY important.

list disk
list disk


Type: select disk X

This command will select the disk you want to format (in my case that was Disk 2).Replace X with the number of disk you want to format. Your output should look like shown in the picture below marked with green.

***Be very careful when selecting the disk, as all the information from disk selected will be permanently deleted after the next step!!! Look again to make sure you selected the right one!

select disk command - USE WITH CAUTION
select disk command - USE WITH CAUTION

CLEAN command

Type: clean

This command will wipe out all the data from the disk you selected. That is why it is very important to be sure that you selected the right disk before hitting ENTER!!!

clean command
clean command

When you are ready, hit ENTER.

After that you should get confirmation that your disk has been cleaned.

Now your disk is unallocated space and has no partitions, so you need to make one.

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Close cmd!

Now right click to My Computer, right click and select ManageGo to Disk Management and select your USB drive. It should be clearly visible that the entire USB capacity is actually just Unallocated space. Right click to USB drive and select New simple partition. Select the letter and a name (you don’t have to) and confirm. This will create a new partition and your USB drive should work just fine now.

creating partitoin
creating partitoin
Updated: 07/22/2017, skywalker
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