USB flash drives have become really handy in storing different files of various sizes including, backups, personal documents, music, pictures, portable applications and more. Flash drives turned out to be so convenient that people start pouring in files of any kind without sorting them.
Because of these habits, flash drives end up getting real messy quickly and it becomes difficult to figure out how to clear up disk space to accommodate more files.
Deleting unnecessary files is a good solution, but can be tough to do when files aren’t properly organized. If you want to clear up disk space the fastest way possible, the best problem solver to this is by formatting your USB flash drive directly.
The advantages of doing this is that your flash drive is wiped completely clean, removing all files regardless of their attributes (including hidden files). Here are the basic steps in reformatting your USB flash drive:
Backup your data
Formatting your USB flash disk doesn’t leave any files behind so make sure you copy your most important files to a temporary location. If you plan to put these files back after formatting, organize the folder structure so you can better manage your disk next time you have disk space issues.
Reformatting your drive in Windows
Open up your “My Computer” (or “Computer” in Vista) from the Start Menu and look for the drive that has a “Removable Disk” icon. This is usually assigned to the last drive letter and may show multiple drives if multiple devices are plugged in. Right-click on the device you wish to format and select “Format”.
A dialog should open up showing several options; leave all the options alone unless you want to change the volume label. You can leave the “Quick Format” option unchecked to make sure everything is deleted without errors and doesn’t take too much time to begin with. Click the “Start” button on the dialog and wait for the device to fully format. You should end up with a clean flash disk that is ready to accept more files.
Reformatting your drive in Mac OS X
Mac OS X users can format a flash disk by loading the “Disk Utility” program located in the Utilities folder that is inside the Applications folder. Your flash drive should be in the list showing a white drive icon. Click that icon and select the “Erase” tab on the main window. Select the “MS-DOS (FAT)” option if you wish to make the drive compatible with Windows operating systems and give it a volume name. The format will begin when you click the “Erase” button below.
Formatting is a rather easy task so next time you feel the need of freeing up disk space or removing a nasty virus, you can format the device without nagging your techie friends and relatives in doing it for you. Just keep in mind that it is close to impossible to recover the data that you erased while formatting unless you have decent recovery tools so always double check your drive before you begin formatting.