How to Wipe USB Drives

by Eric Pederson

USB drives provide the ability to transport and use your personal files on the go. Saving files to a USB drive takes just a few clicks and you're ready to go. Since USB drives have a limited amount of space, there comes a time when they need to be emptied to make room for more files. Wiping a USB drive will delete everything stored on it and rest the drive to factory settings. Once it is cleared, it is completely empty and ready for use again.

Wipe with the Format Option

Insert the USB drive into your computer.

Open the "My Computer" folder and right-click on the USB drive to bring up a drop down menu.

Select the "Format" option to open a new window.

Select "Quick Format" if you want to have the drive erased in a short period of time.

Select "Start" to start the format process.

Manually Wipe the USB Drive

Insert the USB drive into your computer.

Open the "My Computer" folder and double-click on the USB drive to open it.

Highlight all of the files in the USB folder by clicking and dragging the mouse over all of the files. Keyboard shortcut: Click anywhere in the folder and press Ctrl+A.

Drag all of the files to the Recycle Bin and empty the trash by right-clicking and selecting "Empty Trash".


  • close Wiping your USB drive will erase all of the information on it, so back-up any files you don't want to lose.
  • close Formatting is irreversable.

Items you will need

About the Author

Eric Pederson has been professionally writing stories, poetry and technology review articles since 2008. He won two national young authors awards and has been published in the online poetry magazine The Sketchbook. He received his Bachelor of Science in secondary English education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera usb flash drive image by Bosko Martinovic from