How to Format a USB Drive With FAT32 File System in Debian or It’s Derivatives

It’s not like FAT32 is superior to EXT4 or something. But the thing is, you cannot easily use EXT4 file system in Windows. That’s why, when you have to work cross-operating system, you would better go with FAT32; at least for now. Maybe EXT4 or later version would be the de facto file system in future for both world.

However, to format a USB device in FAT32 file system format, insert the USB drive, open terminal window and execute the following command:


This would show you all the block devices for your system. Find your USB device from the list, based on either the name or size, or both. Find it anyway. In my case, my USB device was in /dev/sdc. So I executed the following command in terminal:

sudo mkfs.fat -F 32 -I /dev/sdc

This did the job for me. If your device is located in /dev/sdXX, then execute the command accordingly.

For mkfs.fat to work, you need dosfstools to be installed in your system. dosfstools come pre-installed in Debian. If your Debian derivative distro doesn’t come with dosfstools pre-installed, which is unlikely, then execute the following command to install it first, and then execute the previous command to format your USB device.

sudo apt-get install dosfstools

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