Reformatting an ESXi USB Stick

I debated on actually posting this little tool or not but I figured if I had to look around for an easy solution, it was probably worth the time for me to share what I did. Formatting a USB stick is a pretty basic task most days but with technology, sometimes it doesn’t work as intended.

I had a few USB sticks laying around and I stuck them in my home lab machines to play with. I installed ESXi 5.1 to them and all went well. Then I decided I wanted to use them inside my Windows box. I plugged them in and I was unable to format them within Disk Management. I just kept getting: “The system cannot find the file specified” error. I knew the USB stick worked just fine and it just needed to be reformatted. I tried everything.

I stumbled into a tool called “HDDGuru HDDWipe Tool” which is a Windows utility and is a freeware utility for low-level hard disk drive erasing.

  • Supported interfaces: S-ATA (SATA), IDE (E-IDE), SCSI, USB, FIREWIRE. Big drives (LBA-48) are supported.
  • Supported Manufacturers: Maxtor, Hitachi, Seagate, Samsung, Toshiba, Fujitsu, IBM, Quantum, Western Digital.
  • The program also supports low-level erasing of FLASH cards using a card-reader.

It fixed my issue and my USB stick was able to be reformatted without the need of a Linux LiveCD. Hope this helps if you ever run into that issue.

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6 Responses to Reformatting an ESXi USB Stick

  1. John Gullion says:

    Actually needed this. Got a couple of USB drives in this condition on my desk that I had all but given up on.

  2. Ryan Birk says:

    Excellent, glad somebody could use it. It’s possible to fix them with Linux LiveCDs, but I didn’t feel like grabbing one just yet. This tool fixed both of the sticks I had.

  3. EV_Simon says:

    Did you try diskpart under Windows?

    I had a couple of Ubuntu flash drives that a simple format wouldn’t sort out (only giving me a 100mb partition which had originally been the UEFI partition) but as soon as I ran diskpart, selected the correct drive and then cleaned that drive(run diskpart, li disk, sel disk # and then type clean) resulted in having a completely fresh drive again that I could format as required.

  4. Ryan Birk says:

    Simon, actually, I did try diskpart as well! Which is odd because I’ve had success with that in the past. In fact diskpart worked well on one of the sticks I was using. I chalked this one up to just being an oddball and not the norm. 🙂

  5. Pingback: TinkerTry IT @ home | Rufus let’s you quickly and easily reformat an ESXi USB flash drive back to full capacity

  6. craig says:

    thanks for posting this. needed to fix a usb drive for esxi, it was previously used for freenas, and was not working in windows. cheers

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