How to Fix “Windows Was Unable to Complete the Format” Error

Conquering the “Windows Was Unable to Complete the Format” Error

Encountering the “Windows Was Unable to Complete the Format” error message can be frustrating, especially when trying to prepare a new drive or reformat an existing one. But fret not! Here are several methods you can try to overcome this hurdle and successfully format your drive:

1. Utilize Disk Management:

  • Press Windows key + X and select Disk Management.
  • Locate the problematic drive in the list and right-click on it.
  • Select Format.
  • Choose a desired File System (e.g., NTFS, exFAT) and Allocation unit size.
  • Uncheck the Quick Format option (optional: performs a faster but less thorough format).
  • Click Start.
  • If prompted, confirm the format by clicking OK.

2. Employ Command Prompt (For Advanced Users):

  • Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  • Type diskpart and press Enter.
  • Type list disk and press Enter to view all connected disks.
  • Identify the number corresponding to the drive you want to format (e.g., disk 1).
  • Type select disk [number] and press Enter (replace [number] with the actual disk number).
  • Type clean and press Enter to clean the disk (caution: this erases all data on the disk).
  • Type create partition primary and press Enter to create a primary partition.
  • Type select partition 1 and press Enter to select the newly created partition.
  • Type active and press Enter to set the partition as active (if applicable).
  • Type format fs=NTFS quick and press Enter to format the partition as NTFS with the quick format option (adjust NTFS and quick as needed).
  • Type exit and press Enter to exit DiskPart.

3. Address Write Protection:

  • Right-click on the drive in File Explorer.
  • Select Properties.
  • Go to the Security tab.
  • Click Advanced.
  • Ensure the “Write” permission is enabled for your user account or the Administrators group.

4. Check for Disk Errors:

  • Right-click on the drive in File Explorer.
  • Select Properties.
  • Go to the Tools tab.
  • Click Check under “Error checking”.
  • Choose both options: “Automatically fix file system errors” and “Scan for and attempt to recover bad sectors”.
  • Click Start.

5. Consider Third-Party Formatting Tools (Use with Caution):

  • Several third-party formatting tools exist, but proceed with caution. Ensure you download from reputable sources and understand the potential risks associated with using such tools.

Additional Tips:

  • Always back up important data before formatting a drive, as the process erases all existing information.
  • If the issue persists, consider checking for hardware issues with the drive itself. Consulting a professional technician might be necessary.
  • Remember, formatting permanently removes data. Double-check the chosen drive before proceeding to avoid accidental formatting of the wrong drive.

By following these steps and considering the additional tips, you should be able to resolve the “Windows Was Unable to Complete the Format” error and successfully format your desired drive.