Partition Recovery 7.4An expert at recovering lost partitions
Partition Recovery 7.4
An expert at recovering lost partitions

Windows was unable to complete the formatting? Cope with the problem!

This article is fully dedicated to the problem with formatting. If you having an error message "Windows was unable to complete the format" on your SD card, USB drive or any other storage - here is your solutions!

Here you will find out:

  • when “Windows was unable to complete the formatting” error appears
  • why you are facing that problem
  • how to solve “Windows was unable to complete the formatting” on USB flash drive, external hard drive, SD cards, and other storages.

Are you ready? Let's read!

Error: “Windows was unable to complete the formatting”

Windows was unable to complete the formatting hard drive

Sometimes, when formatting SD cards, something goes wrong and you see on the screen this error message: “Windows was unable to complete formatting”. That may happen not only with an SD card, but with a USB drive or other portable device.

Moreover, if you do not have a backup of the data from the SD card, this can be a shock for you.

Unfortunately, these are not isolated cases and if you are reading this article, most likely this problem has happened to you.

So, what do you do in this situation? How do you format a SD card or USB drive? First, you need to understand the causes of the error “Windows was unable to complete formatting”. This will help you to avoid similar situations in the future.

Reasons Windows was unable to complete the formatting of a USB drive or SD card

  1. 1. Damage to the portable device by a virus or other malicious program.

SD cards or USB drives are highly susceptible to viruses. Because of their portability, you can easily connect an SD card to different gadgets and devices, often without even knowing whether they are protected by an antivirus program. After some time, the virus damages the data on the device, making it unreadable, resulting in the error “Windows was unable to complete formatting”.

  1. 2. Physical damage to the portable device.

Unfortunately, only a service center and professional SD card/USB drive repair will help here.

  1. 3. Bad sectors and other logical problems.

As a result, the SD card becomes unreadable and cannot be formatted.

  1. 4. Careless and improper use of the portable device.

For example, removing the USB disk in an unsafe way from a computer or turning it off while the card is in use.

  1. 5. Write-protection of the SD card.

Be sure to check and remove write-protection before formatting, or you won’t be able to get it done.

  1. 6. The SD card or USB drive is empty.

In fact, in this case, there is simply nothing to format, so you can get the error message “Windows was unable to complete formatting”.

Now that you understand the reasons for what happened, you need to find a solution to this problem.

Is formatting the only solution?

Sometimes, a user chooses formatting as a solution, but it is not always the only way to go.

If you are unable to open the SD card or USB drive, perhaps these are RAW disks. In that case, you can safely use DiskInternals Partition Recovery software. Using it will save your time and your nerves.

As Partition Recovery has a reader mode, you can open your files as in the File Explorer. Or you can use full/fast recovery, if there are no desirable files, to bring them back.

Besides, you should keep in mind, that formatting always means deleting your data. Are you sure you don’t need it anymore?

If you need your files and they are already invisible on your portable device, your best bet is to restore them before formatting. That will give you more of a chance for preserving data integrity.

DiskInternals Partition Recovery supports all versions of Windows, including 7,8,10, etc., and works with the following file systems: FAT12, ReFS, UFS, HFS, NTFS, ReiserFS, Reiser4, XFS Ext2, Ext3, and Ext4. A simple and convenient interface with a built-in wizard will help you with any questions that may arise. It is possible to download the free trial version right now and restore or open your data right now.

After you have saved your files, let’s move on to solutions to the problem of the “Windows was unable to complete the formatting” error.

Use Disk Management for formatting

This method can help format SD cards, USB drives, external hard drives, etc.

Let’s take an SD card as an example:

You previously received the message “Windows was unable to complete the formatting”. Through Disk Management, you can create a new volume, which will also lead to disk formatting and the disappearance of the error “Windows was unable to complete the formatting”.

There is nothing complicated about this, but remember, your data will be deleted. Press Win + X and select Disk Management or type “diskmgmt.msc” into a search bar, or Win + R and select Run and enter “diskmgmt.msc”.

In Disk Management, from the list provided, select your SD card and right-click on it.

Now click on the Format tab, then choose the file system format. Formatting will start and it won't take long. After it is done, safely remove your SD card and insert it again. The problem should be solved.

Use command line for formatting

Disk Management cannot always help format the disk. And many users forget that there is a command line, which is also always at hand. However, not everyone wants to use it, because they believe that it is difficult.

But, if you follow this guide clearly, it is not so scary.

To get started, run a command prompt as an administrator, or click the Start button, type “cmd” in the search box and hit Enter. Now type "diskpart" and hit Enter. Then type "list disk". Hit Enter.

You will see a list of all drives available to the system.

1. Type "select disk z", where “z” is the number of the SD card that requires formatting.

Press Enter.

You should get a message like: "Disk 4 is now the selected disk", where “4” is an example of the disk number.

2. Next, type “clean”. Press Enter.

You should get a message: "DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk".

3. Now you need to create an active partition. Type:

"create partition primary" and press Enter.

You should get a message: "DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition ".

4. Type: “format fs=fat32” and press Enter.

This proccess can take a while. Be patient. The progress will be displayed in percent. By the end, you should get a message: "DiskPart successfully formatted the volume".

5. Next, type:

assign letter E” and press Enter.

You should get a message: "DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point".

6. Type:

exit” and press Enter.

The section is created, your SD card (or USB drive or other portable device) is formatted and your problem is solved!

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