How to easily reformat an ext4 / Umbrel drive

During the installation of umbrelOS, such as when you plug in your MicroSD card to your Raspberry Pi 4, the connected storage drive is formatted automatically in the ext4 file format

If there is ever a catastrophic failure due to something like a power loss/surge, or you simply want to free up the SSD/HDD you’re currently using and are making changes then you may want to reformat the drive to use it again, or for a clean install

You can mount the drive in another linux installation to read the ext4 drive manually, and then execute all the commands to reformat but this can get a little technical and may not be as easy as simply using a Mac or Windows machine you already have access to

There are two user-friendly programs you can use for Mac and Windows respectively to read and wipe your drive

For Mac:

The Mac program is a little tricker just because most Mac programs that read ext4 are paid, but this one you can get a ~10 day trial to use when you need it, it’s from Paragon Software and is called extFS for Mac, you can download it here

Once you unplug your SSD/HDD from your Raspberry Pi 4, or wherever it currently may be, you can plug it into your Mac, it may not immediately be detected (if you’re having issues with this as you continue you can switch from a USB 3.0 port you may be using to USB 2.0)

Once you’ve launched the program and connected the drive you’ll now see your ext4 drive on your Mac:

You can erase it first and format in FAT32, you’ll need to give it a volume name and then you can also click mount on the top

You can then see it in your Disk Utility program on Mac easily and format it however you’d like for whatever system you’d like. You can format it for the Mac or you can completely wipe drive/delete all partitions if you want to use it again for an Umbrel,


As a note, you can wipe the disk using most file formats as long as you clear all partitions that may be in use so there is no data left on the drive, if you intend to use it again for an Umbrel, umbrelOS will automatically format again in ext4 on a new installation

For Windows:

A free program you can use for Windows is called AOMEI Partition Assistant to detect and manage ext4 disks, you can download it here

Once you launch it you’ll see it detects your ext4 drive:

You can click on it and Wipe the Partition:


Sometimes it’s not clear it completed the task, because you must take this next step where you’ll see the changes you’ve made pending in the top left, you must click this top left button:


Then you’ll see your pending operation:


Then you must click proceed on the bottom right:


Now your drive should be completely clear or “unallocated” as shown below and available to use again however you’d like:


You can choose to format now in any file type you’d like, if you see any lingering partitions or data here you may want to delete these partitions as well, now you will also be able to manage it normally in your Windows’ Disk Management Tool

If you have any issues still feel free to hop into the Umbrel Telegram Help & Support channel for real-time assistance!