So I made this linux live usb and I'm having trooble returning it to being a regular storage drive. I'm using windows 7, by using compmgmt.msc I can see the drive but I can't format it. usually when right clicking you can format but here I can only click on "help", chich does not help by the way.

compmgmt dot msc

what could I do?


  • Any different if you just right click > Format in Explorer?
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 4, 2015 at 13:44
  • she does not appear in the explorer, and I can't assign it a letter in the disk manager Jan 4, 2015 at 13:45

5 Answers 5


Use another formatting tool, Windows sucks at this part. As it seems you have partitioned this drive. Use this http://www.pendrivelinux.com/restoring-your-usb-key-partition/

After having tooled around with a USB Linux version using your image overwritten or multi partitioned flash pen drive, you might find it necessary to revert it back to a single fat partition (restore the flash pen drive to it's original state) that can again be read by all computers.

Also giving this a try would be a nice experience.

  • thanks, this easeUs worked perfectly, never had any trouble with windows up until now. Jan 4, 2015 at 13:51
  • DISKPART could be used from the command line to do this without installing additional software as explained in other answers. Jul 24, 2017 at 1:36
  • Thanks, this instruction is working as magic.
    – bim
    Jun 14, 2022 at 19:33

You can use the utilities that come with Windows to do this without downloading anything else. DISKPART from the command line as Administrative user will do what you need.
Once inside of the diskpart utility type in list disk, select the USB disk by typing select disk (x) and then clean, this should now wipe the USB stick, you can now create a new partition and format the UBS stick. To create a new partition table on the USB type in create partition primary, then select partition 1, then format fs=fat32 quick. Your USB stick should now be ready to use.

  • 1
    +1. I had to use "select disk <number>" instead of "disk select", but this worked great. I also just did a "clean" and then formatted the disk using the windows GUI disk management tool instead of the command-line formatting.
    – TylerW
    Jan 10, 2016 at 23:01
  • 2
    This doesn't work for me, after clean I get the error: DiskPart has encountered an error: Access is denied. See the System Event Log for more information. and yes, I am running diskpart as administrator... Evet Viewer says: Cannot zero sectors on disk \\?\PhysicalDrive2. Error code: 5@0101000F
    – mFeinstein
    Nov 29, 2019 at 7:42
  • +1 worked a treat, thank you for excellent notes
    – Kathy Reid
    Nov 28, 2023 at 23:26

For Windows users: (Without any third-party application)

  1. Open Run and type Cmd to open Command Prompt or if you are familiar with Windows, then open the Command Prompt Run as Administrator.

  2. On Command Prompt type diskpart and press Enter. ( Grant the UAC permission if asked).

  3. Type list disk and press Enter. It will show you all available disks.

  4. Now select your disk with select disk N, here N is the disk number.

enter image description here

  1. Now create a partition for your USB flash device by using create partition primary command.

  2. Now select your partition by using select partition N, here N is the partition/disk number. You can check the partition/disk by checking again the list disk command.

  3. Now format your Flash/USB device by using format fs=fat32 quick command. Here quick refers to quick format.

For more details visit https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/300415.


I did not have luck with the other methods (diskpart got stuck in the "On computer" part for some reason) mentioned here, but this program worked perfectly and fast:

SD Card Formatter (which, despite the name, works for USB sticks too): https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/

It took all of 5 seconds to format it back to normal state after having a bootable Linux on it, which I created in Linux Mint.

The steps:

  1. Install the program
  2. Select the drive of the USB stick
  3. Keep the default "Quick Format" option selected
  4. Click "Format" in the program
  5. Done!

enter image description here

I found the program in the same guide mentioned in TechLife's answer: https://www.pendrivelinux.com/restoring-your-usb-key-partition/

enter image description here


In Windows: Go to Disk Management. Find your disk. It should be a blue and black partition (just like your image). On the BLUE partition, right-click and delete partition. After that, the deleted partition will merge with the black partition and it will be UNPARTITIONED. You should be able to format the unpartitioned space to whatever system you like.

  • This is what the original poster was trying to do.
    – ScrappyDev
    Sep 18, 2023 at 23:05

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