How to Format USB or Hard Drives on Ubuntu

Ubuntu distribution consists of some utilities that format a USB or hard drive quickly. These tools are simple to use and can format any drive without requiring any external apps or services. You can use the Terminal or Disk Utility program to format your USB or hard drive. Here is how to use these programs.

How to format a USB drive in Ubuntu

These are the methods to format a USB drive. If you want to erase the data of a USB drive, then use the one you find comfortable.

Formatting a USB drive using Ubuntu’s Disks Utility

1.    Click on the ‘Dash’ button.

2.    Type ‘disks’ into the search and begin searching.

3.    Open the ‘Disks’ from the Application results. This opens the Disks window where you’ll see all the connected devices.

4.    Click and select the USB drive you want to format from the Disk Drives list.

5.    Select the volumes of the USB drives you can select as many as you want.

6.    Click the ‘Gear’ icon at the top in the volumes section.

7.    Select ‘Format’ in the pop-out menu.

8.    A small formatting options window will prompt, select a formatting option. If you want to clean out the drive thoroughly, then don’t use Quick format.

9.    Choose a file system. Select ‘FAT’ (FAT 32) to use the USB drive in other devices also. If the Flash drive is only for use in Linux, then you can select “ext3”.

10.    Click the ‘Format’ button.

Your USB Flash drive is being formatting, wait for it to be formatted.

Formatting a USB drive using Terminal in Ubuntu

Note: In place of “sbd#’ enter the drive’s partition label of your USB drive.

1.    Launch ‘Terminal.’

2.    Type “lsblk” command in the terminal window and press ‘Enter.’ This will show a list of all the storage devices connected to Ubuntu.

3.    Find the USB drive you want to format in the device list.

4.    Type “sudo unmount /dev/ sbd#” command to unmount the drive’s partition.

5.    To erase all the data of the drive, use the following commands according to your Ubuntu’s version.

•    “sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sbd# bs=4k && sync”

•    In Ubuntu 16.04 & newer: “sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sbd# bs=4k status=progress && sync”

6.    Now, type “sudo fdisk /dev/sbd#” command and press ‘Enter’ to make a new partition.

7.    Press the ‘O’ button to make an empty table and ‘N’ button to make a new partition.

8.    Enter the partition size.

9.    Use the ‘W’ button to edit or close the table.

10.    Again type “lsblk” command to view the newly created partition.

11.    Type “sudo mkfs . vfat /dev/sbd#” to format the volume in FAT32 format.

Your USB Flash drive is being formatting, wait for it to be formatted. Once the format completes, type “sudo eject /dev/sbd#” to eject the drive safely.

How to format Hard drive in Ubuntu

1.    Click on the ‘Dash’ button.

2.    Type ‘disks’ into the search and begin searching.

3.    Open the ‘Disks’ from the Application results.

4.    Select the drive to format from the Disk Drives list. Be careful while selecting the volume, as everything from the hard drive you choose will be deleted.

5.    Click the ‘Gear’ icon at the top in the volumes section.

6.    Select ‘Format Partition’ in the pop-out menu.

7.    Open the ‘Type’ drop down and choose a file system, FAT, Ext4, or NTFS.

8.    Type a name in the ‘Name:’ field.

9.    Open the ‘Erase’ dropdown and select a formatting option.

10.    Click the ‘Format’ button.

Clicking the ‘Format’ button may begin the formatting process, so check everything once more. Confirm you want to format, if prompted. The drive starts formatting, wait for it to be formatted. Once the formatting completes, click the ‘Mount’ button below the volumes graph to mount the drive.

Tips: If Disk utility fails to format the drive or to show an error, you can use ‘Gparted’ to format, resize partitions, or create a new partition.

Ellen Cooper  is a technology enthusiast who loves writing about new advancements and IT threats on a regular basis. Her work focuses on the latest advancements in the realm of technology, social media, and cyber security at norton.com/setup.

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