How to format USB drive like exFAT on Ubuntu and other Linux

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In short: This tutorial teaches you how to format a USB drive to exFAT format on Linux systems. The GUI and command line methods were discussed.

For a long time LARGE was the default file system choice for formatting drives. It is compatible with just about all major operating systems.

The only major problem with the FAT file system is that you cannot transfer a file larger than 4 GB. This means that even if your USB drive has 32 GB of free space, if you try to transfer an ISO image or other file larger than 4 GB, the transfer will fail.

This creates a problem in situations like when you are creating a bootable Windows USB drive in Linux. You cannot use NTFS and the FAT file system has size restrictions of 4 GB.

To overcome the limitations of the FAT file system, Microsoft proposed exFAT file system. And in this tutorial, I will show you how to format USB drive in exFAT file system.

Method 1: Format the drive to exFAT using GNOME Disk Tool

Formatting a drive using GNOME disks is a simple job. It is preinstalled in a number of Linux distributions.

Plug in your external USB drive. Now find Disks in the menu and open the GNOME Disks app. First, choose the drive you want to format and follow the steps with me.

Warning: be careful which drive you choose to format. Do not format your primary drive accidentally.

GNOME disks for formatting disks in Linux

Commonly used file systems like Ext4, NTFS, FAT will appear first. To use exFAT, choose “Other»Then click on«following“.

Formatting the drive as ExFAT drives in Linux

Last step: choose exFAT file system on this screen and then click Create. Accomplished job!

Formatting the drive as ExFAT drives in Linux

See how easy it was to graphically create an exFAT drive in Linux? Now let me show you the terminal method as well.

Method 2: Format the disk as exFAT in Linux command line (for advanced users)

fdisk is a dialog-driven command line utility that creates and manipulates partition tables and partitions on a hard disk. In fact, it is considered to be one of the best partitioning tools for Linux.

Connect your external hard drive then type the following command in the terminal:

sudo fdisk -l
using fidks to list disks

This will list all the hard drives and partitions on your computer. Identify the partition you want to format on your external hard drive. The size of the disks should give you a clue. For me the USB drive was labeled / dev / sdb1.

Once you have identified your USB drive, format it as exfat using the command below. Replace / dev / sdXn with the device ID of your disk. LABEL is basically whatever name you want to give your drive like Data, MyUSB, etc.

sudo mkfs.exfat -n LABEL /dev/sdXn
Use fdisk to format USB as exfat in Linux command line

Optional, run fsck check to make sure the formatting was done correctly.

sudo fsck.exfat /dev/sdXn

That’s it. Enjoy the exFAT disk.

Did you successfully create an exFAT disk?

Hope you find this tutorial fairly straightforward and a step forward in building a solid knowledge base on partitioning.

Sometimes simple and easy tips and tricks will help you become a better Linux in the long run. Our avid readers know this firsthand, but if you’ve recently discovered It’s FOSS, you might want to take the opportunity to explore our hands-on tutorials.

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