How to Program a Flash Drive

by Damarious Page
flash drive image by Antonio Oquias from

USB flash drives are small memory drives that plug into your computer's USB port. A USB flash drive is similar in nature to the hard drive in your computer, except that it's designed to be easily portable. Before a hard drive can be used on your computer as storage, it needs to be formatted. In the same vein, USB flash drives must also be programmed, or formatted, to be recognized by your computer. Please understand that formatting is a volatile action that will erase all data on your USB flash drive, and may not be reversible.

How to Program a Flash Drive

Step 1

Insert the USB flash drive. Plug the USB flash drive into a free USB port on your computer. Allow Windows to recognize and register your drive. You will usually hear sounds and see pop-ups indicating that actions are taking place.

Step 2

Access Computer Management. Click on the "Start" button, usually in the bottom left corner of your screen. Click "Control Panel." Either in the resulting menu or window, select the following sequence: "System and Maintenance," "Administrative Tools" and "Computer Management." In the Navigation pane, under Storage, click "Disk Management."

Begin formatting. Identify your USB flash drive in Disk Management. For example, it may be labeled as "(D:) USB Flash Drive," which means your USB flash drive is recognized on the "D:" drive, whereas your primary partition is the "C:" drive. Under the "Volume" column, right-click on the drive name that indicates your USB flash drive, and then select "Format." In the Format dialog box, click "OK," and then "OK" again. Depending on the size of your memory, formatting times will vary.


  • According to Microsoft, "formatting erases any existing files on a hard disk. If you format a hard disk that has files on it, the files will be deleted."


  • These steps on formatting a USB flash drive may vary based on how you may have configured your menus and programs. For example, your Control Panel may open as a menu or pop-up window.
  • You may try using the "Windows Search" feature, which searches your computer for files and programs you are having difficulty locating.


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About the Author

Damarious Page is a financial transcriptionist specializing in corporate quarterly earnings and financial results. Page holds a medical transcription certificate and has participated in an extensive career analysis and outplacement group workshop through Right Management. The West Corporation trained and certified him to handle customer support for home appliance clients.

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