How to reuse a balena-etched usb drive without destroing it?

already destroyed 3 USB drives by trying to re-format them after having them used with balena Images. I could not reactivate them, allthough I tried all options as described in the “how to recover broken usb drive” topic.
Now I have a new 64GB USB drive flashed with Balena Etcher, which works.
But I would like to bring it back to default state and format it with FAT32 - without destroying it.

What’s a save way?


Hi @mab . I think the answer will depend on what OS your laptop is running, but there should be a number of tools to format usb drives to FAT32. I think one that comes up often for windows is Rufus:

Hi shaun,

I got Windows, Debian and OSX.
I already tried it on all systems with the advices on your hp.

I already tried it with rufus on windows for another broken usb device, which was not recoverable for me.

That’s why I’m afraid to destroy this new device too.

Which one would you prefer?




Hi @mab

You should very easily be able to format a USB stick to FAT32 on macOS (OSX) by using the built in Disk Utility tool (Applications->Utilities->Disk Utility).

Once loaded, insert the USB stick you want to format and then select it in the list of ‘External’ media in the left hand panel (it will be called ‘flash-boot’ if it previously had a balenaOS image flashed to it). Once selected, go to the ‘Erase’ icon at the top of the Disk Utility pane, and then select MS-DOS (FAT) as the disk type. Give it a name, if you require. Finally, select ‘Erase’.

This will format the USB stick as FAT32.

Best regards,