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How to Fix Windows was Unable to Complete the Format Error

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 15, 2024 • Filed to: Windows Computer Solutions • Proven solutions

Formatting the USB drive is a simple procedure. However, sometimes Windows encounters issues in formatting the USB drive and starts displaying error messages like Windows was unable to complete the format. The appearance of this error causes the USB drive to become unresponsive and all of its data becomes lost temporarily.

Seeing any kind of error can be frustrating but the Windows was unable to complete the format is a particularly alarming error that shouldn't be ignored. It indicates an issue with the USB drive. Windows issues this error message if it can't format the USB drive in the usual manner.

Part 1: Reasons Why Windows Can't Format USB Drive

There can be several reasons why Windows isn't able to format the USB drive. The following are some of them:

Part 2: Solution to Fix Windows was Unable to Complete the Format Error

You can use the following two solutions to fix Windows was unable to complete the format error.

Solution 1: Format via Disk Management

Windows offers you the option of Disk Management whose purpose is to regulate the disks and partitions of the system. Disk Management can format or delete partitions, alter drive letters, reduce or enhance the size of partitions and form new volume. Disk Management can be used for formatting corrupted USB drive and to fix Windows was unable to complete the format error. You won't be able to see the USB drive in Windows Explorer or My Computer if it has been corrupted. So, you won't be able to format it using the usual option of right-clicking and format.

Step 1 Launch Disk Management. Choose the 'Manage' option and then click on the Disk Management option after right-clicking on My Computer. You will find the USB drive, partitions, and local hard drive in the section present in the middle.

Step 2 Do a quick format by choosing the 'Format' option after right-clicking on the USB drive and choosing the format of the file system. Try step 3 if this doesn't work.

Step 3 Choose the 'New Simple Volume' option after right-clicking on the USB drive. Re-form the partitions for the USB drive using the New Simple Volume Wizard. Just follow the instructions provided to complete this process. Your USB drive will have been formatted by the time this process finished.

Solution 2: Format with Command Prompt

Disk Management can't fix Windows was unable to complete the format error in most situations. Formatting the USB drive using command Prompt is the next best solution available. Even though it might sound complicated, it is quite simple and requires following a few basic steps.

Step 1 Hit Enter after clicking on the Start button and typing cmd in the search box. You will have to locate the Command Prompt from the Start menu if UAC has been enabled and run it as administrator.

Step 2 Hit Enter after typing the diskpart command. It will show you the list of disks and partitions on your computer. Each drive is characterized by a number and the USB drive is represented by Disk 4.

Step 3 Hit Enter after your have typed disk 4 and clean. A scan of the drive will be done during which its corrupted file structure will be deleted. Upon the finishing of the process, you will receive the message that the drive has been cleaned successfully and you need to create a new partition.

Step 4 Press Enter after typing creates a primary partition. Now, hit Enter after typing format /FS:FAT32J: in the command prompt. The J used here represents the USB drive's drive letter. The formatting will be quick and your USB will get formatted to the file system, FAT.

If you are seeing this error on your PC screen then you should know that your system is at risk of losing the data you have stored on it. There is a chance that the corrupted USB drive will cause important data like your personal information, installed programs, email, documents, songs, photos and movies to be wiped out from your PC.

Part 3: Data recovery from USB drive that can't be formatted

To fix Windows was unable to complete the format error you will need a powerful data recovery tool that can be used for recovering data from the corrupted USB drive. While various software programs can perform this task, the only one that can accomplish it safely is Wondershare data recovery software.

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  • Supports to recover data for sudden deletion, formatting, hard drive corruption, virus attack, and system crash under different situations.
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The following is a guide that has been formulated to provide novice users of Wondershare data recovery the opportunity to master how to recover data from the USB drive. Connect the USB drive to the computer and start the Wondershare USB Drive Data Recovery software.

Step 1 Select All types of file options to recover the file from the USB drive.

recover data from usb drive

Step 2 Select the USB drive that can't be formatted and choose "External removable devices"

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Step 3 You can go to deep scan your USB drive if a quick scan can't find your data. A deep scan will deeply search the USB drive, but it will take more time than a quick scan.

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Step 4 Preview the recovered files from the USB drive and save it to other storage devices.

data recovery from usb drive step 4

If you have been encountering the "Windows was unable to complete the format" error, then it is a sign that your USB drive has malfunctioned or has been corrupted somehow. You can format your USB using Command Prompt and Disk Management and fix Windows was unable to complete the format error. However, if these two methods fail to do the job, then a third-party tool like Wondershare data recovery can be used to recover data from the USB drive.

3981454 people have downloaded it
Recoverit author

David Darlington

staff Editor

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