Are you having problems formatting your USB drive or an Unformattable USB Drive Error? This article looks at all the causes, whether a virus or a bug, and then gives you the necessary solutions.
The USB flash drive is a portable device that allows users to save, copy, and transfer documents and other media files via a natural and secure connection. However, the drive may also have some shortcomings.
Whenever you try to access your USB flash drive on Windows 10, you receive the message “Please insert a disk into the USB drive” or “Windows was unable to complete the format” during the formatting process.
In most cases, the drive’s data has been corrupted. In addition, the drive may have malfunctioned.
Why Do Unformattable USB Drive Errors Occur?
A USB flash drive can be connected repeatedly to Windows or other drives. You need to determine the cause of that issue before fixing it.
When your flash drive displays an Unformattable USB Drive error, it could be due to several factors. However, you do not need to go anywhere else since we have explained all the reasons below:
1. There Might Be Some Bad Sectors
Frequently using a USB flash drive can lead to developing bad sectors that need to be readable and writeable.
2. You Might Have A Virus On Your USB Drive
There is a risk that your USB flash drive may be infected with a virus if your computer was previously infected with a virus.
3. The Is A Power Surge
This tiny device’s critical circuit board, designed for a specific power range, can become utterly irresponsive due to a power abrupt of even a few nanoseconds if this power range is subjected to a sudden electrical spike.
4. Your Device Could Also Be Unplugged
Once the USB flash drive has been used, if it is ejected without following the instructions for safely removing it, it may display 0 bytes.
Best Fixes For An Unformattable USB Flash Drive
- Detect a Corrupted USB Drive
- Format the USB Drive
- Use Diskpart Command
- Scan and Repair USB Drive
- Use Command Prompt to Restore Data
- Use chkdsk/X /f Command
- Use Registry Editor to disable Write-Protection
- Scan USB Virus
1. Detect a Corrupted USB Drive
If your computer is still detecting your USB drive, you may want to determine whether the drive has been corrupted.
- Visit This PC and navigate to your USB drive.
- Select Properties by right-clicking on it.
- Select Hardware from the top menu.
- Click the Properties button below to view the properties of your USB drive.
- Your USB drive is safe if it displays the message, “This device is working properly.”
If you cannot view the USB drive folder, there is no need to worry. Follow the next few steps, and you can use the drive again in no time.
2. Format the USB Drive
When a USB flash drive shows an unformattable USB drive, it is very critical that you format your USB storage device. The steps for formatting a USB drive are as follows:
- Connect the flash drive to your PC and go to This PC to see the drive connected.
- Select the USB drive from the Devices and Drivers menu and right-click it to open it.
- Choose Format from the available options.
- From the File System menu, select the drop-down arrow.
- Select NTFS from the list of options. The New Technology File System, in short NTFS, is the default file system for most non-removable drives. It is compatible with most Windows versions).
- Choose the default option for Allocation unit size on the next menu.
- Choose Volume Label as the next option, and give your USB device a new name if you wish.
- Select the Quick Format option when formatting a drive from the Format Options menu. It will only delete the root folder, and the system file table, not the data Recoverit can recover.
- The Quick Format box may be unchecked if you have previously recovered data with Recoverit and wish to perform a full format of the USB flash drive.
- Finally, click the Start button below and confirm the USB drive’s formatting by clicking “Yes.”
3. Use Diskpart Command
A built-in option in Windows to format a USB drive erases everything. Using the command-line tool, you can resolve your unformattable USB drive problem if you no longer need the data on the removable media.
- Insert the USB drive into your computer’s USB port.
- Run the command prompt as an administrator on Windows 10 by clicking Window + R.
- Insert diskpart in the dialog box, then click Enter. Eventually, it will run a program called “Diskpart,” which is Microsoft’s partitioning utility.
- Then next to “Diskpart,” enter the “list disk.” Using this function, you can easily identify your USB drive by size.
- After this, type “select disk#.” Instead of #, insert the numerical value of the removable drive.
Note: Make sure you don’t accidentally choose your computer’s hard drive number, in this case, “0.”
4. Scan and Repair USB Drive
You can use this solution to repair an unformattable USB drive on your PC in the following manner:
- Connect the USB drive and open up This PC to view it.
- Right-click the icon of the USB drive and select Properties.
- Navigate to the Tools tab from the above menu.
- The Check button is under the first rectangular box of error-checking. Click on it.
- A scanning process for the USB flash drive should begin.
- The Window should be manually closed after the scan has been completed successfully.
- Lastly, right-click the USB drive icon below the Devices and drivers group to manually “eject” the drive.
5. Use Command Prompt to Restore Data
CMD is a command line program that allows users to retrieve files from external devices after the Recycle Bin clears the deleted files from the computer. Use this to fix the Unformattable USB Drive error.
- Plug in your USB flash drive and navigate to the Start menu taskbar icon.
- In the search box, type cmd and press Enter.
- After that cmd.exe file will open.
- Type the following command:
|attrib -h -r -s /s /d (The letter for the USB drive):\*.*|
- Click the Enter button to begin automatically recovering your USB drive files.
The Windows recovery process will be complete when all these steps are completed. You will be able to retrieve your lost files from your USB drive after a while.
6. Use chkdsk/X /f Command
If you are having problems with an unformattable USB drive, another option is to use the Windows command prompt method, which involves following the steps below:
- Connect your USB drive to your PC.
- Right next to the Start menu icon is a search box. Type “cmd” in it and press the Enter key.
- When you run it, the command prompt application should open with the following prompt: C:\Users\(your PC name)>
- Then you need to type the following command:
|chkdsk/X /f (Letter of your USB flash drive)|
By doing this, Windows will perform a default check on the USB flash drive, correcting the file system on the drive. A command prompt will inform you that the file system has been fixed with no error messages.
7. Use Registry Editor to disable Write-Protection
Before you begin this method, try toggling the switch on the USB drive. Before continuing, make sure that you toss your USB drive’s physical write-protection switch if it has one. To access the Registry Editor, follow these steps:
- Open the Windows Registry Editor on your PC.
- To open the search bar, press Win+R.
- In the search field, type Regedit.
- Click Yes to run the Registry Editor.
- Click the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE> SYSTEM> CurrentControlSet folder> Control folder.
- Open StorageDevicePolicies.
- On the right panel, right-click a blank area and select New > DWORD from the context menu.
- Then, type WriteProtect and click somewhere to save the DWORD.
- “0” should be entered as the “Value Data” amount and clicked OK. The number zero should not be surrounded by quotation marks.
If you make changes in the Registry Editor, you usually need to restart your Computer to see the changes take effect.
8. Scan USB Virus
A USB drive can make you vulnerable to malware if you use it for file transfers across multiple host devices. You cannot be too careful about USB security when handling sensitive data. Here’s how to scan for a USB virus:
- Navigate to Settings.
- Go to Windows Update on the top menu.
- From the left-hand menu, select Windows Security.
- Choose Virus & Threat Protection. A new window will open.
- Under the Quick scan option button, you will see Scan options. Click on it.
- Click on the Windows Defender Offline scan icon from the list.
- Press the button Scan now.
In conclusion, we have outlined methods to fix the unformattable USB drive issue. It is advisable not to discard your USB stick whenever it becomes unusable and unformattable.
Attempt the strategies listed above to diagnose the problem and recover the data. However, if the USB drive is a “corrupt/damaged” pen drive, you will need to replace it with a new USB drive stick if it is damaged beyond repair.