Formatting is one of the basic processes that we carry out more or less daily in Windows. When we need to erase all the data on a storage unit, we use this function that is located in the “Equipment” section. Nevertheless, It is possible that during the process, the system throws an error saying that Windows could not complete the format. This situation seems to leave us without options, although this is quite far from reality.
Therefore, here we will give you the information you need about this error, why it can occur and its possible solutions.
Why was Windows unable to complete the format?
The process of formatting a disk or storage unit is about give a certain structure to the file systemyes Thus, we can see that there are various structures or formats such as NFTS or FAT32, which we can apply from the operating system to a disk. Generally, this task completes successfully, although we may find that Windows was unable to complete the format.
This can be due to several reasons, the most common are:
- The storage drive is damaged.
- The storage drive has bad sectors.
- The storage drive is write-protected.
- Viruses, malware and other malicious files.
However, there are some alternatives that we can take to solve this problem and format that memory or USB disk.
What to do when Windows could not complete the format?
If after trying several times, the result is still the same, then try the following alternatives.
Check the USB ports
It is always necessary to start with the most basic and in that sense, we point to the USB ports. The idea is to test the memory in each of the ports of the computer and try to do the formatting task. If you get the same result in all of them, then we have ruled out a hardware problem and move on to the next test.
Use Windows Disk Management
Disk Management is a Windows option that, as its name implies, offers everything you need to manage hard drives and storage units in general. In this way, what we will do is try this tool for formatting the USB memory.
To open it, right-click on the Start Menu and then select “Disk Management”.
A new window will open and you will see a list with all the disks connected to the computer. Also, at the bottom you can see them in a much more graphic way.
Right click on the USB stick that is giving you trouble and then choose “Format”.
Format using Diskpart
Diskpart is a native disk administration and management tool, which works from the command prompt. It is integrated into the Microsoft operating system since Windows 7 and has a very wide range of tasks on disk drives.
To format your drive with this tool, press the Windows+R key combination, type CMD and press Enter. This will display the command line.
Now type Diskpart and press Enter. This will launch a new application and it will open in a new window.
Type the following command in the Diskpart window: List disk and press Enter. You will see how a list is generated with all the disks connected to your computer. You can know what your USB memory is by identifying it by its storage space. However, the data that is not of most interest is the number in the “Num disk” field.
Immediately, enter the following command Select Disk next to the number of your USB stick and press Enter. You would have something like: Select Disk 1.
At this point, we have chosen the USB memory to work on it. Our next step will be to delete all your data and for this, we use the Clean command.
Next, we must create a partition in memory and to do this enter the following command: Create partition primary and press Enter.
Next, we have to select the partition that we just generated to format it. We achieve this with the command: Select Partition 1.
If you want to apply the FAT32 format, enter the following line: Format fs=FAT32 label=”usb name” quick and press Enter.
For its part, to use the NFTS format, the command is the same but replacing FAT32 with NFTS.
Where it says “USB Name” enter whatever you want to identify the drive.
Finally we will activate the partition and give the disk a label. To do this, type Active and press Enter.
To assign the label enter: Assign letter=F. You can replace the F with the letter of your choice.
Occupy a third-party app
If the above has not given you results, then we must resort to a third-party tool to do the job. One of the most effective that we can recommend, and also free, is HDD LLF Low Level Format Tool. It is a very light application, but with the potential to apply low-level formats. This means that if your USB flash drive has bad sectors and other logical problems, you will be able to fix them.
The process is quite simple, first connect the memory or USB disk to the computer and then run the application. It will detect all connected devices and then you will have to select the one you want to format and click “Continue”. The system will throw up some notifications indicating the implications of low-level formatting. If you are sure, accept and it will immediately start to apply.
At the end, you will only have to run the format task from the native Windows tool, which should be able to complete the format. If not, the device is most likely damaged.