Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 23:08

This tutorial explains step by step to format a USB Flash Drive with GPT technology on Ubuntu. You do not need to install additional software thanks to the built-in Disk Utility tool. Not only to flash drive, you can also apply this tutorial to hard disk and other storage media drives. I hope this could be useful for you!

(Ubuntu Disk Utility after formatting a GPT flash disk drive)


  • 1. Insert Disk
  • 2. Run Disk Utility
  • 3. Select Drive
  • 4. Format Drive as GPT
  • 5. Create New Partition
  • 6. Finish

What is GPT?

If you already know GPT, skip this to step 1 below.

GUID Partition Table or GPT is technology successor to Master Boot Record or MBR. For a very long time, all personal computers were with MBR technology. Today, particularly after 2011, almost all new personal computers are already with GPT. If you have laptops from before 2011, big chance they would still with MBR. But if you have laptops after 2011, particularly if it comes with Windows 10 preinstalled, you can be sure it is with GPT.

What are MBR and GPT? They are technologies to layout partitions inside storage disk drive. To make it short, MBR technology limits us to have only maximum 4 primary partitions in a hard disk, while GPT technology unlocks the limitations into unlimited number of primary partitions. Not only that, MBR can only be used for hard disk below 2TB capacity while GPT supports 2TB hard disk or more. However, if you want to use a hard disk, either with GPT or MBR, you must format it.

Why do you need GPT? You will need it when you (1) have hard disk with >=2TB capacity (2) want more than four primary partitions (3) need to install operating system with GPT technology or (4) just want to try it.

For more clarity I suggest you to read HowToGeek's article on this.

1. Insert

Plug your flash drive in.

2. Run Disk Utility

Open Disk Utility program. Don't forget to know at least 3 important spots on the application as illustrated below.

(Red: list of disk drives detected | Yellow: menu button | Green: gear button)

3. Select Drive

Choose correctly the flash disk drive you want to format.

4. Format it as GPT

  • Click menu button
  • Select Format...
  • Appears a dialog with two options Erase: and Partitioning:.
  • Set Erase=Quick.
  • Set Partitioning=GPT.
  • Click Format.
  • Appears a dialog titled "Are You Sure?".
  • Read carefully and make sure it is the correct flash disk drive you want to format. If it is not, click Cancel. If it is correct, go further.
  • Click OK.
  • Formatting process takes place a while.
  • Formatting finished.
  • Successful formatting displays Partitioning=GUID Partition Table description above Volumes section. 

5. Create New Volume

Since GPT is new technology, the disk you want to format can have 2TeraByte size capacity or more. This leads to choices between FAT filesystem and NTFS filesystem for the volume. Either way here are the steps:

  • Make sure the GPT flash disk drive selected.
  • Click plus button.
  • Appears a dialog displaying three options: Erase, Type, Name.
  • Set Erase=Quick.
  • Set Type=FAT if it is smaller than 32GB but set Type=NTFS if it is more than 32GB.
  • Set Name=MYKITTEN.
  • Click Format.
  • Formatting process takes place a while.
  • Formatting finished.
  • Successfully formatted volume displays two things, GUID Partition Table on top and FAT / NTFS on bottom
(Successfully GPT-formatted flash disk drive displayed on Disk Utility)

5. Finish

Now the flash disk drive is ready to use. Open it with file manager and happy working!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.