When I go to delete/create/modify a file from a flash drive that is formatted with ExFat when Windows says the drive needs to be checked for errors, I cannot delete any files.

Why can't I delete/create/modify without using chkdsk first on ExFat, yet I can on NTFS and FAT32? How can I get around this as some computers I use don't allow us to access chkdsk or even the Safely Eject taskbar icon?

  • Its because of the Group Policy that my school uses, they block all taskbar icons.
    – Spideynn
    Apr 15, 2015 at 23:58
  • Then your school admins are a bunch of idiots and you should tell them to fix it. You can not safely use removable media without safely ejecting it.
    – psusi
    Apr 15, 2015 at 23:59

1 Answer 1


Open an elevated Command Prompt and run:

fsutil dirty query X:

Where X: is the drive letter of the flash drive.

If it is 'dirty', then you have only 2 options - either you run the chkdsk or you save your files and reformat the flash drive.

Another (theoretical) option is to clear the dirty bit with a hex editor. But that is pretty tricky and I have not yet seen a solution for exFat - only for NTFS, Fat32 and Fat16.

  • Is there any reason why I cannot write to the drive when ExFat formatted and it has the dirty bit? I'm able to write to an FAT32 and NTFS drive with the dirty bit, why not ExFat?
    – Spideynn
    Apr 15, 2015 at 23:43
  • Yeah right, exFat seems to be special but I do not know the reason why.
    – whs
    Apr 15, 2015 at 23:54
  • 3
    I found this article that helps explain it: social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/… I found out over the internet - this type of file system has a kind of auto protection against corruption, so it blocks further changes by adding a dirty state to a volume and read only attributes to all files - what can't be changed through a classic permission properties in windows like NTFS.
    – Spideynn
    Apr 16, 2015 at 0:26

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