USB Flash Disk Format Explained

Today I am going to discuss a little about some formats that available when you plugged in USB Flash drive to one of your server or laptop (basically using Linux). In this case you are going to copy over backup files more than 100 GB to that Flash Disk. So what we can do?

If you are using common format disk FAT32, you won’t be able to copy all that 100 GB files to that Flash disk. That’s because maximum file size that able to be copied over FAT32 format is only 4GB. So you need to reformat this USB stick to something else bigger.

Firstable, we need to locate which driver that our USB stick connected in. You just need to use this command and see the actual size represent your USB stick.

$ lsblk

Please take a note that these commands below need ROOT user or at least super user (sudo).


One of option you can also use NTFS which introduced in Windows platform as their default format extension disk. By using NTFS then you should able to copy more bigger size than 4 GB.

How do I format NTFS? Assuming your USB stick is /dev/sdc1 then :

$ mkfs.ntfs /dev/sdc1

A process will be running to reformat the disk. This should take 1-3 minutes depends how big size of your USB stick is.

Use ext4

Another alternative that I can recommend is using ext4. This format extension is very well known on Linux partitions. Yes, assuming use ext4 you should able to copy file more than 4GB.

$ mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdc1

It does not take more than 1 minute to format ext4 extension.

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