Learn How to fix ‘Windows was unable to complete the format’ issue. This guide contains all methods with verified steps to help you to fix problem.
One might think a formatting a SD card, USB flash drive, pen drive, hard drive or SSD is quite an easy process. However sometimes we face a strange issue. Sometimes when we try to format a memory drive, the ‘Windows was unable to complete the format’ error is prompted on the screen. It can be caused due to a variety of reasons. The most probable ones can be virus infection, bad sectors, storage device damage, disk write protection, etc.
Before we move forward with the methods to fix the ‘Windows is unable to complete Format’ error, let’s learn a little more about what causes the error. In case you are here just for the fix itself, feel free to skip to the ‘How to’ section.
- 1 What causes this error in Windows 10, 8, 7
- 2 How to fix Windows was Unable to Complete the Format error
- 3 Final Take!
What causes this error in Windows 10, 8, 7
There may be several possible reasons for why your computer is failing to complete the format. We have tried to compile the most probable ones for you.
1. The Drive Is Write Protected
Formatting is nothing but a kind of writing operation. If in case you have the concerned drive under drive protection, you will need to remove the write protection before formatting it. Well, now how to know if your drive is write protected? Its simple. All you need to do is to try and copy something to it. If your drive is write protected, you shall see the following message: “The disk is write protected. Remove the write protection or use another disk”.
2. The Drive Has Bad Sectors
Files are stored in sectors on the hard drive. Sectors are nothing but the smallest units for data storage. Its very easy to understand this how a damaged sector is cannot be read or written. Such a sector is called a bad sector. Bad sector can not only affect formatting operations but also prevent data recovery operation. Bad quality drive, excessive defragmentation, or falsely unplug the USB drive, etc are some of the causes of bad sectors.
3. The Drive Is Physically Damaged
Drives are unresponsive to formatting, or any other operation if it has been subjected to any kind of physical damage. Only Professional repair center can come to aid but generally people tend to replace the hard drive all together rather than getting it repaired.
4. The drive Suffers from Virus Infection
Probably the first reason which comes to almost anyone’s mind are computer viruses. USB drives affected by viruses if connected to a computers, can get virus infection to spread to other hard drives which can be causing the error.
5. The Drive Is Empty
Probably the silliest but more often than imagined reason for Windows to be unable to format removable disk is that there is no partition on the hard drive.
Now, that we have somewhat of an idea regarding the possible causes of the error, let us jump straight to the solutions without any further ado.
How to fix Windows was Unable to Complete the Format error
In order to fix Windows Unable to Complete the Format error, try out the following methods one-by-one, steps to the word and you would be good to go.
Method 1. Disk Management
- Open Windows Menu.
- Navigate to Disk Management.
- Right-click on the hard disk or USB drive that shows an error.
- Choose Format
- Now, select ‘Ok’.
Method 2. Using Command Prompt
- Navigate to the Windows menu.
- Launch Command Prompt
- Type: format C: /fs:ntfs
- Press Enter Key
- Format drive “C”, with “ntfs” file system.
- To choose an alternative drive letter (Eg: ‘J’), enter: format J: /fs:FAT32.
Method 3. Using Third-Party Tools
(1). EaseUs Partition Master
EaseUs Partition Master is an easy-to-use application. It can deal with almost any issue that you might experience when trying to format a drive.
- Install and Launch EaseUS Partition Master.
- Select a disk
- Right-click on the sected disk
- Choose Format.
- In the new window, set the Partition label, File system to (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3)
- Now cluster size for the partition which is supposed to be formatted.
- Click “OK”.
- Again click “OK” on the warning window to continue.
- Click on “Execute Operation” button. You will find it in the top-left corner to review the changes.
- Click “Apply” to start formatting the partition on your hard drive.
(2). AOMEI Partition Assistant
- Launch AOMEI Partition Assistant.
- Select a partition.
- Right-click to access the drop-down menu.
- Choose Advanced
- Select Check partition
- Fix errors in this partition using chkdsk.exe
- Click OK.