Wipe / Delete Everything on Your External USB Flash Disk Using Ubuntu 17.10 / 18.04

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If you want to completely wipe or delete everything on your external USB flash drive or memory stick, the steps below should be a great place to start. The steps below show students and new users how to format an external disk which erases everything on the disk and leaves the disk empty.

After you format the disk, you can then store new information on it. If you’re going to be using the disk on Windows, Mac OS and Linux computers then you should choose to format with FAT partition.

If you’re only going use it on Windows computer, then go with NTFS partition.

Formatting a disk is not a completely secure way of wiping all of its data. A formatted disk will not appear to have files on it, but it is possible that special recovery software could retrieve the files. If you need to securely delete the files, you will need to use a command-line utility, such as shred.

When you ready to format external drives on Ubuntu desktop, continue below:

Step 1: Insert the Disk

When you’re ready to format the disk, insert it into your Ubuntu desktop, then open the Activities Overview and search for Disk. Then select to open. select the disk you wish to format.

Make sure that you have selected the correct disk! If you choose the wrong disk, all of the files on the other disk will be deleted!

ubuntu format disk

In the toolbar underneath the Volumes section, click the menu button. Then click Format Partition

ubuntu fomat drive

Step 2: Format the Drive

On the next page, give the drive a new name after formatting. Again, if you’re going to be using the disk on Windows, Mac OS and Linux computers then you should choose to format with FAT partition. If you’re going to only use it on Windows computers then select NTFS.

format disk ubuntu

Click Next and continue. when you’re

When you’re sure that the drive you selected is the correct drive and ready to format, click the red Format button to complete the process.

ubuntu format disk

Depending on the speed of your machine and the size of the disk, this should be too long. Once the formatting has finished, click the eject icon to safely remove the disk. It should now be blank and ready to use again.

That’s it! This is how one formats external drive on Ubuntu desktops.


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  1. i have tried gparted and some other methods but failed. now my usb is not even recognised on my laptop. i use ubuntu 18.04

    1. If you don’t know about fsdisk look it up that might be a method to save you thumbdrive.

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