What’s the Best Allocation Unit Size when Formatting a USB Flash Drive?

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The short answer

It doesn’t really matter anymore, because computers are very fast. These settings would impact performance in earlier years of computing where the processors were slower.


Extra knowledge tip: Allocation Unit is simply the block size when storing data/files on the NTFS file system (i.e. in Windows).


A more analytical and little bit different answer

Windows 10, by default, when choosing to format a USB flash drive, propose as the Allocation Unit Size the value of 4096 bytes. If you are a standard Windows user then the proposed allocation unit size of 4096 bytes sounds good. This covers many scenarios, especially when working with many small-sized files.

If however you work with large files, i.e. with large databases (yes I know, why would anyone want to store a database on a USB flash drive? 🙂 well, this is just an example of a large file), then you should consider using a large Allocation Unit Size (for example 64K).


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About Artemakis Artemiou 27 Articles
Artemakis Artemiou is a Senior SQL Server and Software Architect, Author, and a former Microsoft Data Platform MVP (2009-2018). He has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry in various roles. Artemakis is the founder of SQLNetHub and TechHowTos.com. Artemakis is the creator of the well-known software tools Snippets Generator and DBA Security Advisor. Also, he is the author of many eBooks on SQL Server. Artemakis currently serves as the President of the Cyprus .NET User Group (CDNUG) and the International .NET Association Country Leader for Cyprus (INETA).