How to Format a USB Drive on Linux

USB drives are widely used for storing and transferring data between different devices. However, sometimes you may need to format a USB drive to change its file system or to erase its contents. If you’re using Linux, formatting a USB drive can be done easily through the command line. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to format a USB drive on Linux using the fdisk utility and the mkfs.vfat command.

Using mkfs.vfat

mkfs.vfat is a command-line utility used on Linux and other Unix-like operating systems to create a File Allocation Table (FAT) file system on a block device, typically a partition or a removable storage device such as a USB drive or SD card. FAT is a file system commonly used in Windows and other operating systems, and it is supported by many devices that use removable storage.

The “mkfs” part of the command stands for “make filesystem,” while the “.vfat” extension specifies that the utility should create a FAT file system. The syntax of the mkfs.vfat command typically includes the device name of the block device to be formatted and any additional options or parameters.

Step 1: Connect USB Drive

Connect the USB drive to your Linux computer’s USB port.

Step 2: Open Terminal

Open the terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T on your keyboard or by searching for it in the applications menu.

Step 3: Get Device Name

To list all the available storage devices on your system, run:


Note down the device name of your USB drive (e.g. /dev/sdb).

Step 4: Unmount USB Drive

To unmount the USB drive so that you can format it, run:

umount /dev/sdb

Step 5: Launch fdisk

To launch the fdisk utility, which you can use to create a new partition on your USB drive, run:

sudo fdisk /dev/sdb

Step 6: Display Partition Table

Type the letter p and press Enter to display the current partition table of your USB drive.

Step 7: Delete Existing Partitions

Type the letter d and press Enter to delete any existing partitions on your USB drive. If there are multiple partitions, you may need to repeat this step until all partitions are deleted.

Step 8: Create New Partition

Type the letter n and press Enter to create a new partition on your USB drive.

Step 9: Choose Partition Type

Choose the partition type by typing the letter p for primary partition, e for extended partition, or l for logical partition and press Enter.

Step 10: Assign Partition Number

Type 1 to assign the partition number and press Enter.

Step 11: Select Starting Sector

Press Enter to accept the default starting sector.

Step 12: Set Partition Size

Type +4G to set the partition size to 4 gigabytes (adjust this value according to your needs) and press Enter.

Step 13: Write Changes

Type the letter w and press Enter to write the changes to the partition table and exit fdisk.

Step 14: Format New Partition

sudo mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdb1

This will format the new partition on your USB drive as a FAT32 file system.

Step 15: Remove USB Drive

Once the formatting process is complete, run:

sudo eject /dev/sdb

This will safely remove your USB drive from your computer.


Formatting a USB drive on Linux is a straightforward process that can be done through the command line. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily format your USB drive and prepare it for storing or transferring your data. Always remember to back up any important data before formatting your USB drive, as formatting will erase all data on the drive. With a formatted USB drive, you’ll be ready to store and transfer your files with ease.

Please Leave Feedback and Corrections in the Comments

More to Explore

How to Dual Boot Linux and Windows

Dual-booting Linux with Windows, starting with an existing Windows installation, is a popular setup for those who need the versatility of both operating systems. This guide assumes you have already installed Windows and wish to add Linux for a dual-boot setup. If you are starting with an existing Linux installation,

Read More »

How to Dual Boot Windows and Linux

Dual-booting Windows with Linux, starting with an existing Linux installation, requires careful planning and execution. This guide assumes you have already installed Linux and wish to add Windows for a dual-boot setup. If you are starting with an existing Windows installation, then use this guide: How to Dual Boot Linux

Read More »

Table of Contents

Leave a Reply


We wish to inform our valued customers that, due to significant business growth and existing supply chain constraints, our laptop inventory is expected to be sold out this holiday season.

To secure a laptop for your personal or professional needs in anticipation of Christmas, we recommend placing your order at your earliest convenience.

Upon order placement, the estimated delivery date will be clearly indicated on the cart page, assuring the receipt of your purchase well ahead of the holiday festivities.

We appreciate your understanding and are dedicated to serving you with excellence.

What are you looking for?

Type in a question or keyword below

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are your prices so high?

Our pricing reflects the quality and class of our products. When you compare our Aon S1 laptop with similar models like the Dell XPS 13, Lenovo Thinkpad X1, and MacBook Pro, you’ll find our prices competitive. The Aon S1 stands out for its superior weight-to-performance ratio, user-upgradeability, serviceability, customizability, and support.

We also differentiate ourselves by building our laptops to order in the United States, allowing for a wider range of customization options than manufacturers like Dell, Lenovo, and Apple, all of whom conduct their final assembly in China. This approach does come at a higher cost, but it’s a key factor in our unique offering.

Our commitment to U.S.-based manufacturing not only supports local industry but also enables us to offer a level of customization unparalleled by our competitors. For instance, our Aon S1 offers 24,192 distinct configurations, and the Aon L1 boasts 32,256 possibilities, far exceeding the options provided by even the largest competitors, whose assembly processes in China limit their ability to offer such extensive customization.

Read More

Are all the parts soldered to the motherboard?

In many modern laptops, especially thin and light models (like Apple’s MacBook Air or Pro, Dell’s XPS 13, or many of Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon models), the memory, storage, battery, and wireless module are often soldered directly onto the motherboard. This is done to save space and allow the laptop to be thinner, but it means that the RAM and SSD are not user-upgradeable.

However, as part of our commitment to the Right to Repair Movement, the memory, storage, battery, and wireless module all MALIBAL laptops are user-upgradeable or user-replaceable.

Do any of your laptops support coreboot?

Coreboot is an open-source project aimed at replacing the proprietary BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) firmware found in most computers. BIOS firmware is the first piece of software that runs when a computer is turned on. It initializes the hardware and starts the operating system.

Coreboot is designed to perform only the minimum amount of hardware initialization necessary to load and run a modern 32-bit or 64-bit operating system. This minimalist approach not only reduces the complexity and potential attack surface of the firmware, but it can also speed up the system boot time significantly.

Coreboot can be used with payloads such as a Linux kernel, SeaBIOS, or UEFI firmware to provide a complete firmware solution. It’s appreciated by users who want to have more control over their hardware, value the transparency and security that come from open-source software, or have specialized requirements.

Coreboot with EDK II is supported on our Aon line of laptops.

Can your laptops be charged or powered via USB-C?

USB-C is revolutionizing the way we charge laptops. As a universal charging standard, USB-C has a number of advantages that make it particularly suited for this task.

First and foremost, it offers high power delivery capability – up to 100 watts – which is sufficient to charge even power-hungry laptops. This eliminates the need for proprietary laptop chargers and allows for charging via common adapters, power banks, or even other laptops.

Additionally, USB-C is a reversible connector, meaning it can be inserted either way, making it more user-friendly.

It also supports data transfer and display output, allowing for a single cable to provide power, transfer data, and connect to external monitors.

All MALIBAL laptops can be powered via the Thunderbolt 4 port.

MALIBAL is an innovative technology company that produces high-performance, custom linux laptops for developers and content creators; mobile workstations for engineers, scientists, video editors, 3D modelers, and animators; and mobile servers for enterprise applications. On our site, you will find information about the best linux laptops, such as our Aon S1 and Aon L1 models, our customers, new articles, latest news, guides, features, and more.
How do I get a quote?

If you need a quote for any reason, e.g., to submit to accounting for approval, before ordering, simply add the laptop(s) you want to purchase to the Cart, then click Checkout, and on the checkout page, click Convert Cart to Quote. We will email you a PDF of the quote with a link to make payment once you are ready to complete the order.

How do I cancel an order?

You may cancel an order any time up until it ships. After it ships, you will not be able to cancel it, but will instead have to use our return policy in order to return the laptop for a refund. To cancel an order, simply open a sales ticket or sales chat and give the representative your order information, and they will cancel the order for you and send you confirmation via email and text.


How do I make a change to my order?

You may make changes to your order up until it ships. To modify an order, simply open a sales ticket or sales chat and give the representative your order information and specify which changes you want to make.

When is my order shipping?

If all parts are in stock, the average build time for laptops is 5-7 business days. This means laptops will ship 5-7 business days after the order is placed. If a component is backordered, it will say which parts are backordered in your order confirmation email.

To see the estimated delivery date of your laptop, please check your order confirmation email for the Estimated Delivery Date. You can also see this information on your My Account > Order Details page. The estimated delivery date is the build time (plus backorder delay, if applicable) plus the shipping time.

Once your laptop ships out, we will email you the tracking information. An adult will need to be at the address to sign for the package when it arrives.

How do I track my order after it ships?

You can view your tracking status via the order details page in your account.