How To Force Format An SD Card Or USB Drive in Windows 7

In this tutorial, we will see how to force format an SD card, pen drive, USB drive, etc. on Windows 7. No need to install third-party software to format your data storage devices, you can use instead the Windows built-in utility called Disk Management.

Before we start, you have to know that this tutorial is also applicable on other Windows operating systems like Windows Vista and XP. You have to use also this tutorial whenever you are not able to delete files from a data storage device, especially when it is full of viruses.

Warning: Formatting a data storage device means you will lose all data stored on that device, so back up your important data before applying this tutorial.

Get Started

1. Open the Start menu, type "diskmgmt.msc" without quotes in the search box and press Enter.

2. Disk Management will display all mounted drives on your computer.

3. Right-click on the device (SD card, USB flash drive, etc) you want to force format and select "Format".

4. In the pop-up window select the desired file system (FAT32, FAT, exFAT, NTFS, etc), allocation unit size (the "Default" option is recommended), leave the "Perform a quick format" option selected, then click OK.

To format an SD card, you have to select FAT32 for the file system and 512 for allocation unit size.

5. A warning message will pop-up, click OK to start formatting your device.

That's it! You now have a clean and healthy drive. Another tutorial showing how to force format a USB flash drive via the command line can be checked here.

2 Responses to “How To Force Format An SD Card Or USB Drive in Windows 7”

Rhyknowscerious said...
January 27, 2012 at 10:38 AM

There's no "Format" option.

Tim Hitchcock said...
April 3, 2012 at 10:32 AM

unable to format usb drive using your instructions.


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