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Format USB Thumbdrive to NTFS

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Format USB Thumbdrive to NTFS

USB Thumb Drives come in various sizes from 128MB to 32GB but all of them are formatted as either FAT16 or FAT32

and on the surface there does not appear to be a method to format them with NTFS. - That's where this article comes in.

NOTE: Formatting your USB Thumb Drive to NTFS will delete ALL files, folders, and data from the drive.

  • The maximum single file size for FAT16 and FAT32 is 4 GiB - 1 byte (or volume size if smaller)
  • The maximum single file size for NTFS is 2^64 bytes (16 EiB) minus 1 KiB (basically unlimited for all practical purposes)
  • NTFS on some drives will be slower at writing than FAT16/32 but it allows SECURITY and single files in excess of 4GB.
  • Go to Device Manager, select your USB drive then properties and set the policy of the USB Stick device to "Optimize for Performance".
  • The default is to optimize for Quick Removal, which restricts you to the FAT and FAT32 filesystem.
  • Restart the computer and then see if the FORMAT option allows NTFS as an option
  • If not then you should be able to manually do it like this.
  • Click on START-RUN and type in
    and press the Enter key
  • This will put you in a DOS Prompt box where you can manually format the disk to NTFS

    1. Type the following and then press the ENTER key.
    2. FORMAT
      : /FS:NTFS /V:MyUSB /X

    3. WARNING!!
      Make sure you select the correct DRIVER LETTER of your USB drive or you will be formatting the wrong drive and lose all your data.

    4. Change
      : to the drive letter assigned to your USB thumb drive

    5. The /V switch is what LABEL name you want

    6. The /X switch simply tells it to dismount the drive if it needs to in order to format it.

NOTE! For those that do not want the U3 Launch pad operation of their drive and want to remove it and use the full capacity of the drive as a normal USB drive.

To completely remove the U3 Launch pad requires a utility from the MFG. You can probably use one of these from SanDisk.

The FORMAT settings and switches for those interested.

Formats a disk for use with Windows XP.

FORMAT volume [/FS:file-system] [/V:label] [/Q] [/A:size] [/C] [/X]

FORMAT volume [/V:label] [/Q] [/F:size]

FORMAT volume [/V:label] [/Q] [/T:tracks /N:sectors]

FORMAT volume [/V:label] [/Q]

FORMAT volume [/Q]

volume Specifies the drive letter (followed by a colon),

mount point, or volume name.

/FS:filesystem Specifies the type of the file system (FAT, FAT32, or NTFS).

/V:label Specifies the volume label.

/Q Performs a quick format.

/C NTFS only: Files created on the new volume will be compressed

by default.

/X Forces the volume to dismount first if necessary. All opened

handles to the volume would no longer be valid.

/A:size Overrides the default allocation unit size. Default settings

are strongly recommended for general use.

NTFS supports 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16K, 32K, 64K.

FAT supports 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16K, 32K, 64K,

(128K, 256K for sector size > 512 bytes).

FAT32 supports 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16K, 32K, 64K,

(128K, 256K for sector size > 512 bytes).

Note that the FAT and FAT32 files systems impose the

following restrictions on the number of clusters on a volume:

FAT: Number of clusters <= 65526

FAT32: 65526 < Number of clusters < 4177918

Format will immediately stop processing if it decides that

the above requirements cannot be met using the specified

cluster size.

NTFS compression is not supported for allocation unit sizes

above 4096.

/F:size Specifies the size of the floppy disk to format (1.44)

/T:tracks Specifies the number of tracks per disk side.

/N:sectors Specifies the number of sectors per track.

If you have questions please post in the PC Help forum and ask and we'll try to assist you.


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