How to Format a USB Flash Drive in Ubuntu

by Ruri Ranbe

Formatting a universal serial bus flash drive is the same as formatting a hard disk drive; the process clears all data from the device and installs a filesystem, used to structure files on the drive. In Ubuntu, the supported filesystem is extended file system; in Windows, it's file allocation table or new technology file system. You can format a flash drive in Disk Utility or GParted -- two of the most popular programs used to manage disks in Ubuntu -- and install any of these filesystems on the device.

Using GParted

Press "Alt-F2." Enter "sudo apt-get install gparted" -- without quotes -- into the dialog box.

Select "Run in Terminal" and then click "Run." Type your password, when prompted, and then press "Enter" to install GParted to Ubuntu.

Click "System." Point to "Administration" and then click "GParted." Enter your administrative credentials and then click "OK."

Select your USB flash drive from the drop-down menu. Right-click the unallocated space and then click "New."

Select from the File System drop-down menu "FAT" or "NTFS" to use the drive with Windows; select "EXT3" or "EXT4" to use the drive with Linux.

Name the new partition. Enter the desired size for the partition into the New Size field, if desired, or use the entire disk.

Click "Add." Click the green checkmark and then click "Apply" to format the USB Flash Drive.

Click "Close" when the message "All Operations Successfully Completed" appears.

Using Disk Utility

Click "System." Point to "Administration." Click "Disk Utility."

Select the USB flash drive from the left pane. Select "Format Volume" from the right pane.

Select "FAT" or "NTFS" to format the volume for use with Windows. Select "EXT3" or "EXT4" to format the volume for use with Linux.

Name the new volume and then click "Format" to format the flash drive.

Tips

  • You can also open Terminal by clicking "Applications," "Accessories," then "Terminal," or by opening Dash, typing "Terminal," and then selecting "Terminal" from the results.
  • You can also access Disk Utility by opening Dash, typing "disk" and then selecting "Disk Utility" from the results.

About the Author

Ruri Ranbe has been working as a writer since 2008. She received an A.A. in English literature from Valencia College and is completing a B.S. in computer science at the University of Central Florida. Ranbe also has more than six years of professional information-technology experience, specializing in computer architecture, operating systems, networking, server administration, virtualization and Web design.

Photo Credits

  • Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images