I have recently purchased a SanDisk 128GB drive and it came with FAT32. Though, I want exFAT to support large files. Is it enough to perform a Quick Format into exFAT or do I need to perform a full format?


P.S. I have already did a quick format and tested the drive with h2testw and it said the drive did not have any issues.

  • In theory you would never want to perform a full format of a SSD or flash drive. If the OS does not recognize that NAND flash is involved, then (1) one erase/write cycle is expended on each block of the entire drive, and (2) every sector of free clusters would be incorrectly marked "in-use" by the flash translation layer (instead of "unused"), and cause unneeded write-amplification and poor write performance later on. – sawdust Jan 27 at 2:24

Quick format should be just fine in your case as the drive is new and, presumably, has no errors. The only time you really need to do a "full" format is when there's a bad or corrupted area on the disk/drive that you need to have overwritten and corrected.

A short explanation for what goes on in a quick format vs a full format is that there's a lookup table of sorts in a specific area of each disk/drive that lets the computer know where all the files are. A full format wipes that lookup table and all the rest of the files on the drive. A quick format simply wipes/changes the format of that lookup table without changing the actual data on the drive. Of course, the computer doesn't really care that there's still data on the drive after the quick format as the lookup table shows that it's just free space, and the computer will overwrite the old data as you go along.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks for the info. – jamana Jan 16 at 17:31

You don't need to full format a new device. When you choose to run a full format on a volume, files are removed from the volume that you are formatting and the device is scanned for bad sectors. The USB flash drive that you are formatting is a new drive that probably doesn't have any files on it or bad sectors, so quick formatting it is all you need to do.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks for the information. Too bad I cannot select more than one answer. – jamana Jan 16 at 17:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.