How to format a pendrive in FAT, NTFS or exFAT format

How to format a pendrive in FAT, NTFS or exFAT format

NTFS, FAT32, exFAT… can you use all the format on a USB flash drive?

Generally it is these three types of format that you can use under Windows for a USB flash drive. Let’s see what each of them consists of:

FAT32 format

It is one of the oldest, and in fact it is the oldest of those currently used, since its creation dates from the time of Windows 95 when it replaced the previous FAT16. One of the advantages of this format is that it is compatible , and practically any device supports it.

The bad part is that it has many limitations, and the most important of them is that it does not support file storage of more than 4 GB , and also the pendrives or storage units with this format no more than 8 days , Well, they really can be over, but not FAT32 partitions.

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Therefore, we will only have to format our pendrives in FAT32 when we want them to be compatible with the maximum possible number of devices, but making sure that they will not have files larger than 4 GB (more than anything because we cannot put them inside).

NTFS format

This type of format is exclusive to Windows, since it was developed by Microsoft precisely to replace FAT32. Eliminate the limitations of the previous one , so we can use it for files of the size we want, and with partitions with no size limit. In addition, it includes a series of improvements, such as the ability to configure file permissions, keep a change log, instant backups and the most interesting, it supports encryption.

The disadvantage of this format is that, being Microsoft, it is not compatible with all devices. Without going any further, for MacOS or Linux systems we will need third-party tools to write on a pen drive with NTFS format. In any case, this format is the most ideal if we are going to use large pendrives and exclusively on Windows systems,

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ExFAT format

This third type of format, less known and used, is a modern version of FAT32 (although its creation dates back to 2006). It is specific for external units, and proposes a middle ground between FAT32 and NTFS: it eliminates size limitations, but lacks the advanced features of NTFS in terms of security and encryption.

The recommended us of this type of format is for external drives where we are going to save files larger than 4 GB and we want it to be compatible with the maximum number of disposable items,

How to format a pendrive in Windows

The easiest way to format a USB flash drive in Windows is to open a file browser window, right-click on the drive we want to format, and click on “Format …”.

A new window will appear in which we can select the capacity, the file system (type of format), size of the allocation unit (it is recommended to leave it with the default value), the label (name of the unit) and if we want to format quickly or completely.

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Once the desired parameters are selected, click on Start and in a few seconds we will have the formatted and empty pendrive in the type that we have selected.


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