[Solved]: How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Formatted Error

By | December 23, 2016


Summary: In this post we are going to discuss about external hard drive not formatted error and how to rescue files from a hard risk that is throwing not formatted error and stopping us from accessing the files stored on it. Below you will find two solutions to restore data from external hard drive not formatted error, just read the post till the end.

Among both the solutions, we recommend you to first use Digital Media Recovery Tool that will help you to:

  • Easily restore data from external hard drive that throws not formatted error
  • Recover deleted, lost, formatted, virus infected media files like pictures, videos and audio files from hard disk
  • Support all types and brands of hard drive for media files recovery
  • The software is available for both Windows and Mac users
  • Read-only program, 100% clean, safe & easy to use

Retrieve Media Files From External Hard Drive Not Formatted Error

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What is External Hard Dive Not Formatted Error?

The use of external hard drive is to store data. If you are using an external hard drive for storing data or using it as a backup device, you might have experiences the situations where you PC does not read your hard drive. You connect it and it throw error message such as “The disk in drive F is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?” And finally you are not able to access the files stored within it. The problem will begins when you have stored important files within the drive and you do not have any copy or backup of it. Another problem you may also notice that when you disconnect the drive, it may display the pop-up message “You need to format the disk in drive F: before you can use it. Do you want to format it now?”

Let us take real example:

“One of my friends has ran into this problem. When he connected his Seagate 500GB external hard drive, he was not able to access the data stored on it. Every time when he connect the hard drive to his PC, Windows display the error message that external hard drive is not formatted and ask him if he want to format it or not. It’s really frustrating for him as he wants to get back his important files. Are there any solutions to fix external hard drive not formatted error and restore files from it?”

Well, there are many users who are getting the same hard drive error message. If you proceed further to format the drive, then you will lose all the data stored in it and this is actually not the solutions. Well, we will talk about the perfect solutions to fix the above problems, but before that let us know why we get such hard disk problem.

Reasons for External Hard Not Formatted Error

There could be several reasons for the above external hard drive error. Such as:

  • The main cause could be that your hard drive system files got corrupted or it is due to corrupted drivers
  • External Hard Disk needs to be formatted so that it can prepare the media for use with a specific file system and if your hard drive hasn’t be prepared for the use with your OS ten you may get the above error message
  • Another reason could be the corruption of hard drive itself and hence it throws the above error (Also Read: Recover Photos From Damaged Hard Drive)

It doesn’t matter whatever may be the reasons behind the error message “External Hard Drive Not Formatted Error”, you can easily fix it with the solutions mentioned below.

Solutions To Fix External Hard Drive Not Formatted Error

Solution 1: By Using CHKDSK Command

CHKDSK is one of the powerful in-built tools that come with Windows and it is very helpful in checking corruption and fixing the problems, errors and corruption found in drive(s).

Follow the below mentioned steps to retrieve data from external hard drive using CHKDSK:

Step 1 – Connect your error throwing external hard drive with your PC.

Step 2 – On your PC, click START and in search bar type “cmd”. Right-click the result and select Run as administrator.


Step 3 – New command window will open. Now you have to type the following command “CHKDSK [driveletter] /r” in the command window.

For example – If your memory card display as E: Drive, then you must enter the command – “CHKDSK E: /r”. The parameter “/r” is the command for repair the issue or problems it finds.


The process will take some time to check and repair the specific disk. Wait for process to get complete.

Step 4 – Once the process completes. Proceed further and select “Yes”. CHKDSK will give the information about what it has done.

Step 5 – You can now go back to My Computer and check whether you are able to access the data stored on your external hard drive.

Note: The above command can also be used to retrieve data from PC internal hard drive, external hard drive, memory cards, USB flash drives.

However, it may be possible that this CHKDSK command may work for you, but what if it does not? Well, in such cases you have to use third party software such as hard drive data recovery tool to rescue inaccessible media files from hard drive.

Solution 2: By Using Hard Drive Data Recovery Tool

If above solution does not work for you, then it is highly recommended that you must make use Digital Media Recovery Tool for Windows/Mac, which is a perfect Hard Drive Data Recovery Tool that will help you in recovering inaccessible media files such as photos, videos and audio files from external hard drive not formatted error. This tool can also be used to retrieve media files from the hard disk that throw ‘disk in drive is not formatted’, external hard drive says it needs to be formatted, recover data from hard drive error “you need to format the disk in drive“, external hard drive asking to format before use, recover data from external hard drive without formatting.

This tool can also be used to restore deleted, lost, formatted, corrupted missing, inaccessible photos, video and audio files from various hard drive, external hard drive, digital cameras, camcorders, memory cards, USB flash drive and other data storage devices. The free download of the software is available for both Windows and Mac user, in which you can see the preview of the recoverable files within the software. But in order to recover files you need to purchase the full version of the software.

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Steps to retrieve lost/Inaccessible Media Files from External Hard Drive Not Formatted Error

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.


Reformat External Hard Drive to Make it Reusable

Once, you restore your files back from your external hard drive, you can then reformat it to make it reusable. Below find out how to format hard drive.

  • Click Start>My Computer
  • Now right click on the external hard drive that you want to format. Select Format option
  • Now click on Start and finally click on OK to confirm formatting process

Once the format process complete, you can again use your external hard to store new data.