Fix Windows Was Unable to Complete the Format SD Card/Hard Drive/Flash Drive Error

August 04 2017 00:49 am/ Post By Jeffrey to Storage Media Recovery

You can format a disk to delete all the information on it and prepare the disk for initial use. For most people, formatting is quite a simple operation: right click on a disk -> select Format... -> confirm. However, sometimes Windows was unable to complete the format SD card, external hard drive, memory card, flash drive, etc. Many users have asked how to fix this error in forums. Here we will give you some solutions.


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Why Windows Was Unable to Complete the Format 

There are some common reasons may cause this error, check the possible scenarios below:

  • The disk suffers virus infection: The disk might be attacked by virus because it is convenient to be connected with different computers to sync data. Your storage device will stop working if it is infected.

  • The disk has bad sectors: A disk is consist of many small sectors to store data. The damaged sectors can not be read or written. So bad sectors makes it impossible for computer to recognize and format it.

  • The disk has been damaged: Computer can not access and format a disk if the within chip or circuit doesn't work. So directly go to the disk data recovery part if it is physical damaged. 


2 Ways to Fix Windows was Unable to Complete the Format External Hard Drive/SD Card/USB Flash/Pen Drive, etc.

Solution 1: Using Disk Management 

You can try the built-in Windows disk management feature at the very first when you receive the message "Windows was unable to complete the format".


  1. Right click the "My Computer" icon on your desktop.

  2. Go to "Manage" and choose "Disk Management".

  3. Select the external hard drive you need format. Right click it and press "Format".


Note: If the previous step does not work, you need to select "New Simple Volume" option after choosing your storage device. Then follow the on-screen instructions to get a the new Simple Volume Wizard which guides you to recreate new partition on it.


Solution 2: Using Command Prompt

Another dependable method is using the Windows command line. It seems complicated for most users, so follow the simple steps below:


  1. Click Windows Start button and type "cmd" in the search box and press Enter.

  2. Type "diskpart" on the black windows and press Enter key.

  3. Continue typing "disk 4" which is the problem drive and clean and press Enter.

  4. Type "create primary partition" and hit Enter. Then type "format /FS:FAT32L:"  and press Enter. 


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Note: L is the drive letter of the external hard drive, and you can change it in line with specific situations.


Data Recovery from External Hard Drive That Can't Be Formatted

If the above two ways can not satisfy your demands, you need to protect your data from this external hard drive first. Yolisoft Data Recovery is an all-in-one tool to extract and recover your pictures, videos, audios, word/excel/pdf/ppt/txt documents, etc from external hard drive, pen drive, USB flash drive, hard drive, SD card, phone, digital camera and more. 


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