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How to format a pen drive in Ubuntu?
I have this pen drive which I made bootable using some other system (OS).
But I need to format it from my Ubuntu 12.04. Please guide me.

  • You can check this question. – Anwar Oct 9 '12 at 5:54
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    Follow these steps: sudo su fdisk -l fdisk /dev/sdb assuming sdb is ur device Type 'd' to delete partitions, Press 1 to select a partition and continue deleting all the partitions, if any. Now Type 'n' to make a partition. Type 'p' and enter. Type '1' and enter. Press enter twice. Type 'w' to save changes. Unmount using umount /dev/sdb1. Type mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdb1. That's it!!!. – Ramana Reddy Mar 27 '15 at 14:15

Method #1 (The Graphical Way)

Open Disks program from dash:

enter image description here

Then choose your device from left. Make sure you have selected at least one volume, and click on format as below:

enter image description here

Method #2 (The Command-Line Way)

In case you can't get your device formatted from Method #1 try this way.

  1. Open the Terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T)

  2. List your block storage devices by issuing the command lsblk
    Then identify your pen drive by it's SIZE. In my case its /dev/sdb

    enter image description here

  3. Erase everything in the pen drive (OPTIONAL):

    sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=4k && sync  

    Replace /dev/sdb with your corresponding device. This will take some time. It will pretend to stuck. Just be patient.

  4. Make a new partition table in the device:

    sudo fdisk /dev/sdb
    • Then press letter o to create a new empty DOS partition table.
  5. Make a new partition:

    • Press letter n to add a new partition. You will be prompted for the size of the partition. Making a primary partition when prompted, if you are not sure.

    • Then press letter w to write table to disk and exit.

  6. Format your new partition.

    • See what is your new partition with a command lsblk
      In my case it is /dev/sdb1

    enter image description here

    • Issue the command below to format the new volume:

      sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdb1  

      Please replace /dev/sdb1 with your corresponding device.

    • Eject the device:

       sudo eject /dev/sdb
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    i have this XENSERVER bootable setup in that pen drive so whenever i do format volume or format drive it says "An Error occurred while performing an operation on "Verbatim 0302"(Verbatim 0302):The device is busy – vipin8169 Oct 9 '12 at 5:41
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    Oh, sorry Karthika T.... Well, I'll vote your answer :D @ vipin8169 - You have to unmount the device before you format. – Naveen Oct 9 '12 at 14:24
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    No......... Y???? – Naveen Oct 10 '12 at 10:28
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    @Naveen - Thanks bro! Worked like a charm .... +1 for saving my memory card. I was about to throw out . I wish to give you one more +1 for the line "Just be patient." – trex Jun 5 '15 at 7:25
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    Coming back here in 2020 and it still works :) Thanks ! Also patient part is way too long in my slow laptop – Shashank Sep 5 '20 at 9:58

Can you try the application called "Disk Utility". Its a very handy utility which should let you format the disk, among other things. You can find it by pressing ALT + F2 and typing the name, or going (i think) System->Administration, or I guess typing the name in unity dash.

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