For all Linux users, work with usb drives, is really easy, and share data with Windows users through it, is also easy.
At least before you need to format the usb drive for any reason, if you format it using Linux ext3 or any other Linux mode, you will not be able (at least not easily) to share data with Windows users. What you need is to format the usb drive using FAT32 file system.
Install dosfstools package
The package you need to install in your Linux PC to be able to format disk using FAT32 file system is:
Install dosfstools in Debian / Ubuntu
apt-get install dosfstools
Install dosfstools in Arch Linux
pacman -Sy dosfstools
Install dosfstools in Slackware
slackpkg install dosfstools
Format usb drive with FAT32
Now that you have the right tools installed, it is time to use it, so to format a usb drive using FAT32 first insert your usb drive in the usb slot of your computer, and check with
You will see something like this:
Disk /dev/sda: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disk identifier: 0xed1f86f7 Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System /dev/sda1 * 1 1135 9116856 7 HPFS/NTFS /dev/sda2 1136 9141 64308195 5 Extended Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary. /dev/sda3 9142 9729 4717440 12 Compaq diagnostics Partition 3 does not end on cylinder boundary. /dev/sda5 1136 3047 15358108+ 83 Linux /dev/sda6 3048 3493 3580101 7 HPFS/NTFS /dev/sda7 3494 8809 42700738+ 83 Linux /dev/sda8 8810 9141 2666758+ 82 Linux swap Disk /dev/sdc: 8075 MB, 8075120640 bytes 154 heads, 36 sectors/track, 2844 cylinders Units = cylinders of 5544 * 512 = 2838528 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disk identifier: 0xb0bcd68e Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System /dev/sdc1 1 2845 7884836 83 Linux
As you can see
/dev/sdc is where my usb thumb drive was connected.
Now lets format it with:
mkdosfs -F 32 -I /dev/sdc1
WARNING: Be really careful before formating a disk, you will not be able to recover your data, double check that you are applying the command to the right device before you hit ENTER
Note: You are supposed to have a partition created on the disk, before you format it.