I just bought a brand new USB flash drive and want to format it, but what does Allocation Unit Size mean?

It is an 8GB USB memory stick.

There are a few default folders on it and other software that I do not want so I want to format it but it comes up with Allocation Unit Size then a drop down box with loads of sizes.

What does it mean and which one should I pick?

512 bytes

1024 b

2048 b

4096 b

8192 b

16 kilobytes

32 kb

64 kb

3 Answers

  • Favourite answer

    Data is allocated to your disk in "clusters". How the large the clusters are depends on the Allocation Unit Size. For example, if you have a 24kb file and your A.U.S. was 4096b, the file would be stored in 6 clusters of 4096b (4kb).

    If your A.U.S. was 16kb, it would be stored in 2 clusters of 16kb. Because a cluster can't be used by more than one file simultaneously, 8kb of disk space would be wasted in this example.

    The larger the cluster size, the faster the performance as your computer has fewer clusters to retrieve a file from but the flip side is that more disk space is wasted as explained above. The best compromise between speed and space for normal usage is probably 4096b.

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  • Bomber
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    it's referring to sector size in a ntfs file system the default is 4096 kb but flash drives are usually formatted as fat for compatibility other o/s's but as yours is an 8gb you should format it fat32 because fat can only support up to 2gig but if you only intend to use it on xp or vista machines a ntfs file system will be ok

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