Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Formatting a USB drive

  1. #1

    Formatting a USB drive


    Hello, I bought a cheap 128 Gb USB drive on an auction site but I cannot format it in NTFS. I have tried it on Win7 and Win8 and it begins to format and completes over 90% but then it gives me the message that Windows cannot complete this format. I don't remember how to do it in a Command window. Maybe that would work. Any help would be appreciated.

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  2. #2


    I went ahead and remembered how to format by a command line and got the same results. Here is a picture of the results.

    Click image for larger version
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  3. #3


    Is this a hard drive or a flash drive?
    USB just refers to the interface.
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  4. #4


    Ah yes LMiller7. Thanks. My error. It is a flash drive.
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  5. #5


    I am not saying this is your problem but it needs to be considered:
    In recent years there has been a serious problem of "fake" flash drives. These are small drives (sometimes factory rejects) that have been altered to show a much larger capacity than they actually have. This is a particular problem with drives from outlets like eBay with sizes over 32 GB and from sellers in the orient. It has been estimated that the majority of such drives are fake. The packaging of such drives is often very convincing.

    See this for more information:
    All About Fake Flash Drives 2013 | eBay
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  6. #6


    Forever West
    Posts : 591
    WinVista, Win7, Win8.1, Win10, Mac OS X 10.10, Linux Mint 17.1


    I've not yet see a USB Thumb/Flash drive formatted as NTFS, have all come formatted as FAT32. The only downside to FAT32 is the largest single file it will accept is 1 Byte less than 4GB [GigaByte], need NTFS for larger single files.
    A couple of references:
    What is the maximum file size FAT, FAT32 & NTFS file systems - Microsoft Community
    Maximum Size of a FAT-32 Partition | techcosupport.com
    What is maximum partition you can partition FAT32
    That last page mentions 32GB as the largest partition that WinXP can format although it can use larger.
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  7. #7


    Hi LMiller7, that could be. I have over 900 successful transactions on eBay and have not been cheated yet but there is always the first time.

    Hi Berton, That's useful information. Thanks. I tried to format with FAT32 and here us what I got:
    Click image for larger version
    Any ideas about what to try next? I'm going to use this drive for backing up.
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  8. #8


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    Try this Tool
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  9. #9


    Forever West
    Posts : 591
    WinVista, Win7, Win8.1, Win10, Mac OS X 10.10, Linux Mint 17.1


    Quote Originally Posted by okrobie View Post
    Hi LMiller7, that could be. I have over 900 successful transactions on eBay and have not been cheated yet but there is always the first time.

    Hi Berton, That's useful information. Thanks. I tried to format with FAT32 and here us what I got:
    Click image for larger version
    Any ideas about what to try next? I'm going to use this drive for backing up.
    Sometimes Windows and DOS have problems with partitions over that 127GB or maybe 132GB. However, Windows can work with larger partitions if formatted by something else like the bootable GPARTED or even a bootable Linux Live CD/DVD. I'm going to hitch a ride on the 'bad drive' vehicle.
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  10. #10


    By design Windows will not format a FAT 32 drive over 32 GB but it will work with one up to 2 TB (the limit for FAT 32) if it has been formatted by a third party utility. Flash drives are rarely sold formatted as NTFS but they will work if this is done.

    Typically a fake drive will format with no issues (at least with FAT 32). Formatting with NTFS will be more troublesome but you there may not be any immediate symptoms. Typically a FAT32 formatted drive will work until the real capacity is reached, after which the symptoms will depend on the details of the drive. Finding the real capacity can only be done with special software.

    If a new drive fails to format as NTFS it would seem likely that it is either bad or fake.

    A good tip off for fakes is the price. If the price is much lower then 20% below advertised price for new drives it is likely fake. The profit margin is too low to allow a legitimate seller to make a profit at such prices.

    If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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