Easily Format A USB Flash Drive On Ubuntu 18.04 Using USB Stick Formatter

If you're looking for an easy, straightforward way of formatting an USB flash drive in Ubuntu or Debian, similar to the one available in Microsoft Windows, you can use the USB Stick Formatter utility.

USB Stick Formatter for Linux

USB Stick Formatter is part of the mintStick package available by default in Linux Mint starting with Linux Mint 16, and it can easily be installed in Ubuntu 18.04. It can format to:

  • Ext4
  • NTFS
  • FAT32

exFAT is also supported by USB Stick Formatter, but the option to format to exFAT is not present in the application filesystem type dropdown menu due to a bug that was already fixed, but not merged. This should be fixed with the next mintStick release.

mintStick also includes USB Image Writer, an utility to create a bootable USB stick from ISO or IMG files.

Using USB Stick Formatter is very straightforward and doesn't involve unmounting the stick, wiping the partition table and then creating a new one, then formatting it, and so on.

To use this tool to format an USB stick, select the USB drive (the tool only displays USB drives so you don't accidentally format your hard drive), choose the filesystem type, enter a volume label (the name of the flash drive which appears in the file manager) and click the Format button.

Related: bootiso: Easy ISO To Bootable USB Drive From The Command Line. This tool can format USB drives to vfat, exfat, ntfs, ext2, ext3, ext4 or f2fs.

Download mintStick

mintStick can be installed and used on any Linux distribution. I used Ubuntu 18.04 in the title because the Linux Mint mintStick DEB package can be used in Ubuntu 18.04 (any flavor, including Xubuntu / Xfce, Ubuntu MATE, and so on) without having to install external dependencies (xapps is required by mintStick) that may not be available in the repositories of the Linux distribution you're using.

On older Ubuntu versions you'll need to manually install the xapps dependency (you can use the gir1.2-xapp-1.0, xapps-common and libxapp1 packages from here - make sure you download the same version for all three) because it's not available in the repositories.

Download mintStick:

  • Ubuntu 18.04: download the latest mintStick DEB from here (get the latest version at the bottom). For older Ubuntu versions you'll need the xapps dependency - see comment above).
  • Linux Mint: mintStick is available by default in Linux Mint. To use it, search for USB Stick Formatter in the menu.
  • Arch Linux: mintStick is available on AUR.
  • Other Linux distributions: download the mintStick source (you'll also need xapps).