7 Best Methods To Fix Can’t Format USB Drive Error

USB drives are continually inserted into numerous computers, and they are renowned for being prone to viruses and malware. We may need to format the disk more frequently than usual, but what if the “can’t format USB” issue occurs. In this post, we’ll look at some of the options available to you.

7 Best Methods To Fix Can't Format USB Drive Issue Windows

You may see this problem when attempting to format an SD card, USB flash drive, pen drive, external hard drive, or another storage device. This error can be frightening since it prohibits you from formatting the drive and prevents you from accessing it.

What Is the “Windows Was Unable To Complete The Format” issue?

Windows was unable to complete the format” is an error message that appears in a window to inform users that the Windows operating system is unable to do the formatting operation on your target devices to modify the file system and restore usability.

If you’re having trouble formatting an SD card, USB drive, external hard disc, or another device on your Windows PC, be cool. You should first look into the reasons behind the error. Then, completing the format, you may apply the appropriate fix and refer to the guiding steps to remove the “Windows was unable to complete the format” issue from your device.

Why Can’t Format USB Or A Flash Drive?

Although the “Can’t Format USB” error message displayed by Windows when formatting cannot be completed to essential information, this problem could be caused by several factors.

Bad Sectors 

A bad sector on a storage device has been damaged and no longer responds to read or write requests. Bad sectors can occur on a standard hard drive, SSD, USB flash drive, memory card, pen drive, micro SD card, and other devices. 

The formatting of a hard drive that has faulty sectors cannot be performed in Windows.

Physical damage

Compared to internal hard drives, removable discs are more likely to be physically damaged. For example, if you drop it on the floor, do not handle it with care, do not place it in a favorable atmosphere, and so on. If your storage device is physically damaged, the solutions in this article will not repair it.

Write-protection

The method that prohibits users from making modifications to the drive, such as formatting or deleting data, writes protection. On SD cards and flash drives, there are commonly two types of protection: hardware-based and software-based. 

Inadequate permissions

On occasion, administrator access to your computer is required to complete the format. Formatting the disc with Command Prompt or Disk Management is a simple fix.

Virus/malware

Viruses and malware can seriously harm individuals and organizations. Your sensitive data could be stolen or compromised, data could be deleted, the hardware could be entirely fried, and so on if your device is infected with a virus or malware. 

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When you attach an SD card, USB drive, or another device to a computer that does not have an antivirus installed, you are likely to infect it with a virus.

How To Fix The “Windows Can’t Format Flash Drive” Issue?

  1. Format Partition In Windows Disk Management
  2. Complete The Format Via Diskpart
  3. Check And Fix Bad Sectors
  4. Clean Up Virus/Malware In USB Drive
  5. Disable Write Protection Attribute In USB Flash Drive
  6. Install USB And Check And Repair Errors
  7. Create Disk Partition

1. Format Partition In Windows Disk Management

Disk Management is a built-in utility in Windows that allows users to manage disks and partitions connected to their computer. You can now attempt to format the partition in Disk Management to fix “Can’t Format USB”:

  • Disk Management will be launched. Select Disk Management from the Windows 10 Start menu by right-clicking on it.
Disk Management
  • Right-click the partition you desire to format and select Format from the drop-down menu. When Windows questions you, select Yes to erase all data on the partition.
select Format from the drop-down menu
  • Choose a file system type, select the “Perform a fast format” box, and click OK.
  • Another dialogue box will appear, warning that formatting this drive would destroy all data on it and that you should backup your data. 
warning formatting
  • Click OK, and Windows will immediately begin formatting the partition.
  • Now, check if the “can’t format USB” issue is fixed or not in Windows System.

2. Complete The Format Via Diskpart

  • As an administrator, open Command Prompt.
  • To find Command Prompt, type cmd into the Windows search box, right-click it and select Run as administrator.
  • In Command Prompt, write diskpart and hit Enter.
Complete The Format Via Diskpart
  • Continue to run the commands below to finish the format. After each command, press the Enter key.
    • List Volume
    • Select volume 1 (replace 1 with the volume you are going to format)
    • Format fs=FAT32 quick (replace FAT32 with NTFS, exFAT, etc., if you need to format the partition to another file system.)
Format fs=FAT32 quick
  • Now, check if the “can’t format USB” issue is fixed or not in Windows System.

3. Check And Fix Bad Sectors On Pendrive

The smallest unit for data storage, Sectors are found on flash drives and other storage devices. Discontinuous sectors are frequently occupied by the files stored on them.

The term “bad sectors” refers to sectors that have been damaged and cannot be read or written, causing the formatting process to be disturbed. The CHKDSK.exe utility can be utilized to check for and repair faulty sectors and fix “Can’t Format USB” issue.

  • To open the Command Prompt window, click the “Win+ R” keys on your keyboard to open the “Run” dialogue, type “cmd,” and hit Enter.
  • Type “chkdsk g: /f /r /x” into the command prompt and press Enter to run this command.
chkdsk g: /f /r /x
  • Replace g with your flash drive’s drive letter.
  • Now, check if the “can’t format USB” issue is fixed or not in Windows System.

4. Clean Up Virus/Malware In USB Drive

USB flash drives are small and easily linked to a computer to backup or transfer data. Many people carry them around and use them on several computers, making it easier for viruses to infect them. In this scenario, a reliable anti-virus tool can eliminate the malware or virus and fix Can’t Format USB.

  • In the search box to the right side of the Windows logo on the computer screen, type Window Security.
  • Select the Virus & Threat protection icon after clicking on Virus & Threat protection.
Clean Up Virus/Malware In USB Drive
  • “Scan Options” can now be found beneath “Current Threats.” When you select the Scan option, four distinct scan options will show for you to choose from.
  • The Full Scan option might be a decent choice if you’re doing it for the first bit and just want to look over everything.
  • Click the “Scan Now” button after selecting the radio button next to “Full Scan.”
Scan Now" button
  • This will begin a full system scan, and Window Security will display the results as a progress bar.
  • When the scan is finished, the findings will be displayed. If everything is fine, it may notify you with the text “No current threats.”
  • If Microsoft Defender detects any threats, you’ll receive a notice that says “Threats Found,” along with a list of the infected files.
  • Click the “Start Actions” button to remove the risks from your computer. Microsoft Defender will now remove the threats.
  • Go down the scan results and click “Protection History” to examine the results and see which threats were discovered on the device.
  • Now, check if the “can’t format USB” issue is fixed or not in Windows System.
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5. Disable Write Protection Attribute In USB Flash Drive

Windows will not be capable of formatting a write-protected flash device. However, the flash drive can become write-protected for various reasons, including physical lock, read-only mode, incorrect registry settings, or a corrupted file system. Diverse reasons necessitate different responses.

1. Look For A Physical Switch.

Look For A Physical Switch.

First, check your flash drive for a physical lock switch on the side. If there is one, slide it to the unlock position. After that, connect it to your computer and format it as needed. To disable the write protection, move the lock switch. Now, check if the “can’t format USB” issue is fixed or not in Windows System.

2. Use The Diskpart Tool To Remove Read-Only Properties.

  • First, connect your flash drive to your computer and verify that it can be detected.
  • Press “Windows” + “R” on your keyboard to launch the Run dialogue.
  • Then, in the Run dialogue box, type “diskpart” and click “OK” to launch the Diskpart Command Prompt.
  • When you type “list disc” and hit “Enter,” a list of all the discs attached to the computer will appear.
  • Type “select disc n,” where n denotes your flash drive’s drive letter. Then, to continue hit “Enter.”
  • Diskpart will update your USB drive settings so that it is no longer read-only if you type “attributes disc clean read-only.”
  • After that, you can format the flash drive according to your requirements.
  • Now, check if the “can’t format USB” issue is fixed or not in Windows System.

3. By Editing The Registry, You Can Disable Write Protection.

First, connect your flash drive to your computer and verify that it can be detected.

  • To access the Registry Editor, open the Run dialogue, type “regedit,” and press Enter or click “OK.”
  • The following path can be accessed:
    • “Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies”
  • Change the value of “WriteProtect” from 1 to 0 by double-clicking it.
  • Restart your computer after closing Regedit. If you reconnect your USB drive, you should correctly format it.
  • Now, check if the “can’t format USB” issue is fixed or not in Windows System.

6. Install USB And Check And Repair Errors For The Drive

Disk checking is another useful Windows feature that allows users to examine their drives for file system issues. Follow the instructions outlined here to run a disc check on the drive.

  • Select Properties from the right-click menu of the partition that Windows cannot format.
  • Pick the Tools tab and, under Error Checking, click the Check button. Then, on the pop-up box, select Scan and Repair Drive and wait for the process to complete.
click the Check button
  • You won’t access the drive until Windows has identified and corrected any issues. You may require to restart your computer if this takes a long time.
  • Now, check if the “can’t format USB” issue is fixed or not in Windows System.
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7. Create Disk Partition

Create using Disk Management

Disk Management is another excellent tool for managing partitions and discs on Windows machines. You can build a new volume on the removable disc that Windows cannot format with a few simple clicks.

  • To open Disk Management, right-click “My Computer,” pick “Manage,” and then “Disk Management,” or execute “DISKMGMT.MSC.”
DISKMGMT.MSC
  • Then right-click on the removable disc and select “New Simple Volume” from the context menu.
  • To finalize partition formation, follow the instructions in the new window to specify the volume size, assign a drive letter, and format partition.

To Create, Use The Command Line

The command line is another reliable way to create a Windows partition. This strategy appears to be difficult to the untrained eye, although this is not always the case.

  • Run “Diskpart” from the Windows Start menu.
  • Enter the following commands in the command prompt window in the following order (each command should conclude with the Enter key):
    • list disk

(enter)

  • select disk n where n is the disk number of the Flash drive disk;
  • clean
  • create partition primary
  • format FS=FAT32 quick” or “format FS=NTFS quick
  • assign letter N, where N: can be another drive letter not used currently;
  • exit
  • The detachable disc can generally be used after completing any three solutions.
  • Now, check if the “can’t format USB” issue is fixed or not in Windows System.

Conclusion

Sometimes the issue is straightforward. The situation can be tricky at times. Something more serious may be causing the “can’t format USB” issues. To resolve the “can’t format USB” issue, follow the steps outlined in this guide.

FAQs

How Do I Force A USB Drive To Format?

Choose “Format” from the context menu of the external device or USB you want to format. Click “OK” after selecting the Partition label, File system (NTFS/FAT32/exFAT), and Cluster size. To proceed, click “OK.” To format the hard drive partition, click “Execute Operation” and then “Apply.”

How Can Format USB Drive In Cmd?

Connect your PC to the bootable USB drive. Open the Command Prompt window. Enter diskpart in the search box. Enter the command list disc. Hit Enter after typing select disc + number. Hit Enter after typing list volume. Press Enter after selecting volume + number.

How Can I Format a USB Drive?

A USB disc should be inserted into a USB port. Open the File Explorer program. From the left pane, select This PC. Right-click the flash drive in the “Devices and drives” section and choose the Format option. Select the Quick format option from the “Format options” box. To begin, press the Start button. Select the Yes option. The USB flash drive will be ready to store documents, images, videos, and other information after the formatting is completed.

How Can I Format USB On Mac?

Connect a USB drive to your computer’s USB port. Disk Utility may be found in Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. From the list on the left, select the USB drive. At the top, click “Erase.” Select a “Format” for the drive after giving it a “Name” (file system). “Erase” is the option. Select “Done” after you’re finished. The USB flash drive will be ready to store documents, images, videos, and other information after the formatting is completed.