How to Fix Windows was Unable to Format SD Card/USB Drive

It is not rare to see people facing the problem as “Windows was unable to complete the format” when trying to format an SD card or USB drive. When it happens, people cannot achieve their original purpose that they want to get by formatting the device. The error message is too simple to reveal any information to us that what exactly went wrong and what we have to do to solve this problem. Don’t worry. In this article, you will get the possible causes and solutions of “Windows was unable to complete the format.”

Fix Windows was Unable to Format SD Card/USB Drive

Possible Causes of “Windows was unable to complete the format”

In order to solve a problem, firstly, we have to understand the problem as best as we can so in future we won’t have to face it again. The possible reasons of “Windows was unable to complete the format” are as follow:

Though Windows was not able to complete the format in normal way when the above factors appear, we have some solutions to format your drives in other ways.

However, whichever way you formatted a storage device, you will lose the files and data inside. If you disk drive is still recognizable, you’re suggested to use a data recovery software to scan the device and get files out before applying the solutions below. If not, you may still use it to recover deleted data partially after formatting the disk drive.

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Solution 1. Format USB Drive in Disk Management

Disk management is a Windows built-in function that allows you to manage all your disks and partitions into the computer. When Windows was unable to complete the format, Disk Management may be able to do that.
Formatting your drive in Disk Management requires simple steps.

Disk Management is a very powerful system utility. It should be able to fix the “Windows was unable to complete the format” in most cases. If not, please keep reading the solution below.

Solution 2. Format USB Drive with Diskpart Command

Unlike Disk Management utility, diskpart is actually a command group. It can force display all disk partitions connected to the computer and perform formatting from higher level, which will help you get rid of “Windows was unable to complete the format” problem with ease.

Comparing with Disk Management, diskpart command gives you more authority over your partitions. Please note that the data in the USB drive will be wiped.

By following these steps your drive will be partitioned and reformatted with FAT32 file system (which is the default file system of most USB drive). Now, you should no longer have Windows was unable to complete the format error.

Bottom Line

In case you lose important files from SD card or USB drive, don’t hesitate to try the file recovery software mentioned above as soon as possible to avoid data overwriting. Feel free to chat with us if you have other problems when using USB drive, like if you want to fix slow USB transfer speed.

By Jihosoft
Last updated on

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