By Emily / Last Updated March 10, 2022

When need to format USB drive using Command Prompt?

USB drive is a popular portable storage device that helps you to save valuable files. But it needs formatting from time to time for various purposes including freeing up disk space, deleting all data on the drive, removing write-protection from the USB, etc.

HP USB Flash Drive

Most users would perform the formatting task in a traditional way: right-click on the drive in the File Explorer and select the “Format” option. Quite easy and effective! However, sometimes the formatting process gets stuck in the middle and throws weird error messages like “Windows was unable to complete the format”. In this situation, you can try formatting the USB drive in Command Prompt.

How to format USB using CMD Windows 7, 8, 10?

Command Prompt (also called CMD) is a command-line interface in Windows. It can execute every entered valid command. To format pen drive using Command Prompt, do as below:

Warning: Ensure you have backed up any necessary files from the USB drive already because the steps below will delete all data from it.

Step 1. Connect the USB drive to your Windows 7 computer and make sure it is recognized successfully.

Step 2. Search for “cmd” in the “start” menu, right-click on Command Prompt and select “Run as Administrator.”

Step 3. In the Command Prompt window, type the “diskpart” command and press “Enter” to run the Diskpart tool, and execute the following commands in order: to format USB drive.

•list disk: list all the disks in your system.

•select disk #: replace # with your USB drive disk number. Ensure you select the correct disk number.

•clean: delete all partitions on the USB drive

•create partition primary

•format fs=ntfs quick: format your USB drive to NTFS. Also, you can replace “ntfs” with “fat32” or “exfat” to format it to FAT32 or exFAT.

Format Drive CMD

The steps of how to format USB using CMD Windows 7 can be applied to format corrupted or damaged hard drives. But if you need to format a write-protected USB, you have to add the command “attributes disk clear readonly” between “select disk” and “clean” commands in order to first remove the read-only property.

Alternative to CMD: format USB in Windows 7 with 3 clicks

Command Prompt is a great choice when you cannot format a USB drive in File Explorer, but there will be times when it fails. For example, when you try to format a large hard drive, which is over 32GB in size, the formatting process won’t continue, and the error message “The volume is too big for FAT32” will pop out. Besides, without a clean graphical user interface, there is always a risk that you type a wrong disk number and lose important data.

So, you might be searching for an alternative to Command Prompt, which can format pen drive more effectively. Here we recommend AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. This free partition manager works well on all versions of Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista. With an intuitive interface, you can easily choose the right hard drive to format. Besides, it is able to format 32GB+ hard drive to FAT32. Moreover, it can format a write-protected disk if it is read-only because of the damaged file system. Only 3 steps can make things done.

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Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant, right-click the USB drive, and choose “Format Partition”.

Format Partitoin

Step 2. In this window, choose a file system from the File System drop-down and click “OK”.


Step 3. Back to the main interface, click “Apply” to actually formatting the USB drive.


See, within three clicks and steps, you can format a USB drive. Apart from formatting USB drive to NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, it is also capable of formatting USB to Ext2/Ext3/Ext4 in Windows environment.


If you don't know how to format a USB drive using CMD in Windows 7/8/10, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant. Apart from formatting partitions, this software also allows you to clone/merge/move/wipe partitions, among other things. You can upgrade to the AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional Edition for more great features including allocating free space from one partition to another, recovering missing partitions, and securely erasing SSD disks.