How To Format USB Drive in Linux Command Line

Formatting a USB drive in Ubuntu using Terminal commands is much easier as formatting it in Windows systems. Some of the Ubuntu users are not familiar with terminal commands. This tutorial will help Ubuntu (Linux) users with the simple steps of USB flash drive formatting via command line.

Step 1 – Attach USB to System
Insert a USB drive into your system and identify your USB drive correctly. This is the step you need to take care, because you may format the wrong disk if not correctly identify your disk.

df -h 
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1       28G    24G  2.3G  92% /
udev            1.4G   12K  1.4G   1% /dev
tmpfs           277M  1.2M  276M   1% /run
none            5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
none            1.4G   34M  1.4G   3% /run/shm
/dev/sdc1      14.8G  1.4G  13.4G  10% /media/tecadmin

Now, You can see that the USD drive is attached as /dev/sdc1 device. Which is mounted on /media/tecadmin.

Step 2 – Format USB Drive in Linux
Whenever we attach a USB drive in Ubuntu, it automatically mounted to the system. We can not format any disk on Linux systems which are already mounted. So first un-mount /dev/sdc1 USB drive on your system.

sudo umount /dev/sdc1 

Now, Use one of the following commands as per the file system you want. To format a USB drive, most of the users prefer VFAT and NTFS file systems because they can be easily used on the Windows operating system.

Format with vFat File System

sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdc1 

Format with NTFS File System

sudo mkfs.ntfs /dev/sdc1 

Format with EXT4 File System

sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdc1 

Similarly, you can format USB Flash drive with any required file system.


In this tutorial, you have learned to format USB drive on Linux system via command line interface.

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