Fix Windows was Unable to Complete the Format Error

Dec 30,2019 • Filed to: Partition Solutions • Proven solutions


About unable to format error:

One of the reasons people like storage devices like USB drive and micro SD is because of the ability of these small devices to store large data. These information are transferred to other devices or kept for access at a later time. Sometimes the device(s) would need to be formatted. Formatting of USB drive, micro SD card or SSD are relatively common and easy. However, you are probably reading this because you or someone you know received a prompt such as ‘Windows was unable to complete the format’ when you (or the person) tried formatting USB flash to FAT32 or you received the same error message when trying to format your micro SD card. There are a number of solutions available to the ‘Windows was unable to complete the format' problem and this article explores those options.

Fix Windows was unable to complete the format error

The unable to format error is an error that is obtainable by windows users. This error can result from a number of reasons, including:

a. Bad sectors in storage devices or hard drive partition. In the event where the sector in a storage device is damaged, the sectors and the stored informations in it becomes unreadable and also can’t be written in.

b. Corrupted file system in storage devices or hard drive partition or

c. Virus infection in storage devices or hard drive partition: The exposure and use of this micro SD on different computers, especially ones without anti-virus, is responsible for the possibility of the micro SD being exposed to virus from different systems which can ultimately affect the functioning of the storage device.

It’s important to note that these solutions are only workable for a device that has not been physically damaged. Another thing note is that the process of formatting removes saved/stored information in the device, it is therefore imperative that the micro SD is first backed up before formatting begins. To format your micro SD insert it into the slot on your computer and use one of these solutions.

Solution 1: Disk management

The Disk management can be used for formatting, creating new volume, extending or shrinking partion etc. However, for the purpose of this article, we would be concentrating on the formatting function of the Disk Management Tool.

i). Navigate to your desktop and right click ‘My Computer’ icon. After doing that click the ‘Manage’ option.

ii). Locate ‘Disk Management’ and click it. This would open Windows Disk Management.

iii) Now select the device (micro SD card) that requires formatting and right click against it and then click ‘Format’. Note that existing partitions on the device should be deleted prior to this.

Solution 2: Format with command prompt: Disk management tool is not able to solve all system challenges. In the even that it’s not helpful, formatting solution can be sort from command prompt. The following steps may be helpful.

i) Navigate to the start button, click it, search for ‘cmd’ in the search box. In a computer where UAC is enabled, find command prompt in the start menu and run.

ii) In the black window, type ‘dispart’ then press enter. The partitions and disk in the current computer would be listed. Identify the partition under consideration from the list.

iii) Once you identify the partion, continue typing the disk number e.g ‘disk 4’, clean it and press enter. All the damaged files would be removed as the disk is being scanned. Once the process has been completed a confirmation mesage comes up, signifying that it has been cleaned and that creation of a new partition can begin.

iv) ‘create primary partition’ is the next thing you type and then hit enter. Next type ‘format /FS:FAT32J’ and press enter. The last alphabet J is supposed to be representative of the drive you are working, so when following this process, write the appropriate alphabet for your drive. Formatting to FAT file system is fast.

Solution 3: Below are partition managers that can also be used:


EaseUS Partition Master Free

GParted Disk Partition

File recovery

File recovery may be necessary when stored information in a storage devices needs to be recovered for one reason or the other including prior to formatting. The recoverit data recovery software can be used for this purpose of file recovery.


There are ocassions when a micro SD card has been damaged permanently and may not be redeemable. However these methods that have been discussed in this article are generally able to redeem a micro SD card. In the event that they do not work, it is likely that the card has been permanently damaged. We wish you happy formatting and recovery.

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