USB flash drives are delicate storage devices often misbehave especially when not used in the right way. One of the most common issues is the USB flash drive showing less size. This is nothing to blame on the manufacturer. All USB drives need to be used in the appropriate way.
Most of the reasons why flash drives get damaged are;
- Damage by viruses.
- Disrupting or unplugging a flash drive while it is being formatted.
- A flash drive that has recently been as a bootable device.
- Sudden unplugging of the USB flash drive from the system.
I recently bought a USB flash drive of 8GB capacity. I wanted to use it for a windows installation. I did all the operations well, I made it bootable with the Windows Operating System and then completed the installation pretty well.
Now the problem came when is formatted the flash drive after the installation. The previously 8GB flash drive was now showing 2GB available space. So I tried formatting the flash drive the usual way but it didn’t work out.
If you have the same problem I had, this a guide for you. USB flash drives have a default file system, this system might be changed during the process of making the device bootable. So after a long research, I actually discovered two solutions. These solutions will guide you on how to fix a USB flash drive showing less size.
How to clean a USB flash drive showing less size using powerISO
PowerISO is a free windows tool that performs a variety of operations related to disk management. Download PowerISO from their official site and follow these steps to restore the original size of your USB drive.
- Insert the flash drive into one of the USB ports.
- After installation, run powerISO as an administrator. To do this, right-click on the powerISO desktop shortcut and click on Run as administrator. A confirmation dialog that says “Do you want this app to make changes to your device” will be displayed. Click Yes to continue.
- When powerISO is opened, wait for 5 seconds and click on continue unregistered.
- From the navigation bar, open Tools and click on clean USB drive…
- Select the USB flash drive with the space issues. If the drive is not listed, click on the refresh icon and check the list again
- Then click on clean USB drive.
- The cleaning is completed successfully, but at this point, the USB drive will not show its size.
- To complete the process, right-click on the flash drive from the file explorer and click format.
- In the file system section, select FAT32, mark quick format and click OK.
- The flash drive will be formatted successfully and the original drive size will be restored.
How to clean a USB flash drive showing less size using Diskpart
Diskpart is a command-line Windows utility that performs disk management operations. Follow the steps below to restore the original size of a USB flash drive showing less size.
Warning: Dispart operations cannot be undone. Its why I recommend you to back up any data you might need from the USB flash drive.
- Open the Run command by pressing Windows key + R.
- Enter the “cmd” command to open the command-line tool.
- From the command-line window, type diskpart and press Enter. This command opens the diskpart utility either in the same command-line window or in a new command-line window.
- Type list disk and press Enter. This command lists all the disks currently connected to the system. From this list identify the flash drive by confirming its disk number.
- To confirm the disk number of a USB flash drive, search for disk management in the search menu. From the disk management window, locate the flash drive described as online in the bottom left. Right-click>properties > volumes and note the disk number.
- Back in the diskpart command-line window type select disk <number> (for example “select disk 1”). This command selects the disk as the subject to the next operations.
- Once the disk is selected, type clean and press Enter. A message that says ” Diskpart succeeded in cleaning the disk ” will be displayed.
- At this point, the space of the USB flash drive will be restored to original.