May 18, 2022

How to Format a USB Drive or Memory Card on Chromebook

Chromebooks allow plugging in external storage such as flash drives and microSD cards. Normally, the first thing you do when you plug external storage into your laptop is format it. Formatting a flash disk, portable drive, or memory card makes it usable by your computer.

Before formatting your flash drive, you need to decide which file system you want to format your storage device in. However, the standard for microSD cards is FAT32 while flash drives and portable drives are usually formatted in exFAT Where NTFS. FAT32 can only support up to 32 GB of partition in most operating systems and a single file can only support up to 4GB. exFAT and NTFS are much more powerful than FAT32.

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Read more: exFAT, FAT32 or NTFS: which should you use to format your USB flash drive?

Before formatting your external storage device on your Chromebook, start by backup all the valuable data about it. This is because everything in it is going to be completely erased.

Now, to format your USB drive or portable drive, plug it in through a compatible port. For example, if it’s the large rectangular standard USB-A port, plug it in through one of the USB-A ports. If it’s the smaller reversible oval-shaped USB-C port, use that instead.

You may receive a system tray notification prompting you to open the flash disk on the Files app. You can just open the Files app. In the bottom left panel, click USB key. Now click on the menu icon (3 vertical dots) in the Files app and then click on Format device.

You can enter the name you want to give to your storage device and select the file system format. I recommend selecting FAT 32 for the microSD card or flash drive and NTFS if you have an external hard drive or larger portable SSD drive.

Enter device name and select file system format

Chrome OS will now start formatting the external storage device. It usually takes between 1 and 3 minutes depending on the size of your device. You can now copy and move files to and from the USB drive using the Files app.

You can now make the external storage device available to apps. From Settingsclick on Device > Storage Management > External Storage Preferences then enable and disable access.


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