“Failed to format USB drive on Ubuntu” is what we are solving today. However, these same steps can be used for Lubuntu.

The error while formatting a USB drive on Ubuntu or Lubuntu is most common with USB drives that have been made bootable with either Windows OS or Linux.

In this guide, we are going to use GParted, a Gnome partition editing software. GParted is used for creation, deletion, formatting, resizing, as well as changing file systems.

So lets get started with the process of fixing the failed to format USB drive.

Read also: USB drive showing less size fixed

Install GParted on Ubuntu

The first step you got to do is to install GParted on your PC. GParted can be installed through a number of ways but we shall use the easiest, which is through the Ubuntu terminal.

Open the Terminal from either the main application menu or by clicking by Ctrl + Alt + T at the same time.

Enter the following command in the Terminal and press Enter

sudo apt-get install gparted

If you havent gained root access, you will be required to enter your password to continue with the installation. After entering your password, press Enter

Be patient while GParted is being installed. The installation will take a few seconds.

Open GParted to format the USB drive.

You can open GParted by either entering a command in the terminal or by searching for “GParted” through the Applications menu.

To open GParted from the terminal, enter the following command and press Enter


Click on the GParted label at the top left corner. Under devices, select the USB drive. (It would be better if you remove all the other external storage devices to avoid confusion when choosing the drive to format).

Another way to open the USB drive in GParted is by clicking on the drop-down button located at the top right corner and then selecting the USB drive.

select USB drive partition

After selecting the USB drive to format, right click on the device and click on Unmount

unmount USB drive partition

Select the device again and then click on the Partion located on the top menu.

From the options, select Format to. This lists the various file systems that the partition can be configured with.

If you don’t plan to use the USB drive with any other Operating System then choose ext4.

However, if you can to use the USB drive on other Operating systems as well, then choose fat32

select file system for USB drive

You’ll be prompted to confirm the operation. After confirming, it will be a pending operation until you click on the Apply button. So go ahead and click on Apply.

apply the operations

The process will take a few seconds and then will display a success message.

Create a Partition Table

Read also: Fix damaged USB drive with Diskpart

If the previous steps don’t work for you, then you will need to create a new partition table for the USB drive.

Click on the Device and then choose to create partition table

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create partition table

Select new partition table style as msdos and then click Apply

select msdos as partition table style

At this point, The partition will be displayed as unallocated space. Right Click on the partition and select new

create partition with new partition table

Under creat as, choose Primary partition. For label, enter a label you like. Under file system, choose ext4 if you only intend to use the USB drive on Linux. However, if you hope to use it on other Operating systems as well then choose fat32.

Leave the other fields as default and then click Add

create new partition

Click Apply in the top section to confirm the operations and wait for a few seconds while the USB drive is being formatted.

A success message will be displayed on completion of the process, and then you’re good to go.

If after trying out all these steps you’re unable to fix the USB drive, then it’s probably damaged and may want to replace it with a new one.

Enock Lubowa
A technologist who writes for both the geeks and non-geeks. I am an entrepreneur and software developer with a Computer Science background. Discuss complicated stuff with me via my social handles below.