Summary: In this helpful post, I am going to discuss about on how to fix “Windows was unable to complete the format” error that occur while formatting memory cards, USB flash drive, hard drive, SSD, external hard drive. I am also going to discuss about recovering media files from these data storage devices that can’t be formatted with the use of Digital media File Recovery Tool. Just read the post till the end.
With the help of Digital Memory Recovery Tool, one can:
- Easily restore media files from data storage devices that can’t be formatted due to “Windows was Unable to Complete the Format” Error
- Recover deleted, lost, formatted, virus infected media files like photos, videos and audio files from memory cards, hard drive, external hard drive, USB flash drives
- The software is available separately for both Windows and Mac users
- Read-only program, 100% clean, safe & easy to use
* Free version of the program only scans and previews recoverable objects.
There are many users out there who all are encountering “Windows was unable to complete the format” error and even I have also seen the same question asked on several forum, community and question websites from various users. Since this problem is increasing day by day, I have decided to share my information on how to fix “Windows was unable to complete the format” error and if the solution fails then how a user can restore at least media files from various data storage devices such as memory cards, USB drive, hard drive, etc that can’t be formatted.
Let us take real example of “Windows was unable to complete the format” error
“One of my friend connected 64GB USB flash drive to his computer to transfer his important pictures from drive to computer, but his computer has asked him to format his USB drive. And when he started the process to format the USB drive, he got an error message ‘Windows was unable to complete the format‘. He tried to re-format the USB drive, but again he got the same error message. Now what to do in order to fix ‘Windows was unable to complete the format’ error? Any whelp would be appreciated
As I earlier said that this is one of the hottest topics that can be found on several forums, community and question sites. People use USB drive, memory cards, external hard drive to store data like movies, songs, photos, etc and help in carrying data from one place to another. But problems like one mentioned above can become headache for a normal user as data becomes inaccessible in this situation. Hence, it becomes important how to solve ‘Windows was unable to complete the format’ error. But before that let us know what are the reasons that Windows can’t format USB drive, memory cards, hard drive and other data storage devices?
Causes Behind Windows Can’t Format USB Drive, Memory Cards, Hard Drive
If you are regular user of SD card, USB drive, external hard drive then every now and then you have to format the card, but you may get error message saying Windows couldn’t format the drive. This error message occurs due to following causes:
- Bad Sector Available in Storage Devices: Storage devices have small sectors that are the smallest unit for storing data. Bad sectors means that sector is damaged and read and write process can be done. Thus availability of bad sector can be one of the reasons that do not allow Windows to format the drive. (Also Read: Data Recovery from SD Card with Bad Sectors)
- Virus Attacks: This is one of the prime reasons that can easily corrupt any data storage devices. If your data storage devices is corrupted or infected with virus then it will corrupt the data stored within it and you may not be able to perform any tasks such as you can access data as well as format the drive. (Also Read: Tips to Recover Files from Virus Infected Flash Drive)
- Data Storage Device Damage: One of another reason is physical damage that makes the data stored within the storage device inaccessible. Computer may not be able to format the storage device if it can’t use the device because it is damaged physically such as circuit board or chip is not working, etc. (Also Read: Recover Photos from Physically Damaged SD Card)
- Storage Devices is Write-Protected: If your storage device is write-protected, you may get error message “The disk is write protected. Remove the write protection or use another disk.”, while you try to transfer files from it. You must know that formatting is a kind of writing operation and therefore you have to remove the write-protection before formatting the storage device. (Also Read: How to Fix Card is “write protected” error message)
So, these are some common reasons that do not allow Windows to format the storage device. Fortunately, there are some few solution that will help you to fix the problem.
How to Fix “Windows was Unable to Complete the Format” Error on USB drive, Memory Card, Hard Drive
When you are not able to format your storage devices like memory card, USB drive, pen drive, hard drive, external hard drive, SD card by following the normal process, then try the below mentioned solution to fix the problem.
Note: This process might not work in all cases, if your storage devices severely physically damaged. Also note that you must backup your important data from the storage device on another storage device. If you do not have backup and you have formatted the storage device, then you have to take help of data recovery software to restore your important files.
Solution 1: Format via Disk Management & Fix Windows was unable to complete the format error
The first solution that you can try, when you get ‘Windows was unable to complete the format’ error is that fix the problem by using Disk Management Tool and format the device. Here, follow the steps:
Step 1: Connect your storage device with your PC. Now on your PC, click Start and then Right-click the “My Computer” click on “Manage” option.
Step 2: You will see a new windows will open. Click on “Disk Management” to open Windows Disk Management.
Step 3: Now select the storage devices that you want to format such as USB drive, Memory card, Hard Drive, External hard drive that you want to format. Right click and select “Format” option. However, if there is any partition on the drive, then you have to delete the partition before you follow this process.
Solution 2: Format via CHKDSK Command & Fix Windows was unable to complete the format error
If Disk Management Tools fails, then you can follow the command line based formatting solutions. It looks like it is very complicated process for normal computer users, but it is not. Follow the steps mentioned here: [Solved]: How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Formatted Error
Media File Recovery from USB Drive, Memory Card, Hard Drive that Can’t Be Formatted
If above both mentioned solutions fails or even if you are able to format your storage devices successfully by following any of the above mentioned solutions. In both the cases you will lose your important data stored on your data storage devices. As I have mentioned earlier that if you have backup then it is good, but if you do not have any backup then you have to take help of data recovery software.
If you are looking to restore media files such as photos, videos and audio files then you can use Digital Media File Recovery Tool that is particularly designed to restore formatted, lost, missing, corrupted deleted pictures, movies, mp3 songs from various data storage devices like memory cards, USB flash drives, hard drive, external hard disk, digital cameras/camcorders, etc.
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Steps to retrieve lost/Inaccessible Media Files from Storage Device That Windows Was Unable To Format
Step 1 – Install “Digital Media Recovery’ tool and launch it. Click on “Recover Photo, Audio & Video” tab to recover images, songs and videos files from any SD card, external USB drive or computer hard drive. Connect the media to your computer and then perform the process.
Step 2 – Select the drive from which you want to recover files. The external media will be shown in the list, if not then click on “Refresh Drive” button. Now select the desired drive to scan and then click on “Scan Now”. If you want to customize the recovery on the basis of file types then click on “Advance Scan”.
Step 3 – In the Advanced Scan you will have the option to scan as per to the file list, such as Photo, Video and audio or you can also select the data range from the storage device. This option reduces the scanning process time.
Step 4 – Once you click on “Scan Now” button the software will show that scanning is in process. The recovered files listed in a tree structure on the left side of the window panel.
Step 5 – After scanning, you can select the files to preview them and then you can click on “Recover” button to finally save them on your computer.
Step 6 – Select the desired location on your computer to save the recovered files. The screenshot shows that the recovered files are being saved.
So, these are the top and perfect solutions that will help you to fix Windows was Unable to Complete the Format problem or when you are getting any not formatted error on USB hard drive, memory card. You can try these solution one after another and check which solutions work for you. If in case none of the solutions help you to fix the problem, then your storage device might be damaged permanently and you cannot do anything to fix it.