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Fix Windows Unable to Complete Format On USB Flash Drive

When using a USB flash drive have you ever seen one of the following errors when trying to access the drive from Windows? Don’t throw the drive away quite yet; try one of the following tricks to get it working.

 

Please insert a disk into Removable Disk

The other day I was trying to install Windows 8.1 with Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool, and the install failed on my new 64GB flash drive. After that, no matter what version of Windows I tried to use the drive on, I kept getting these errors indicating the drive wasn’t getting recognized.

Note: In this scenario, I am using a drive that has no data on it. If you have a drive that does have data, you’ll want to try a different troubleshooting method as this will wipe any data from it.

insert disk

 

Windows was unable to complete the format

When you see that the drive is not recognized, and you try to format it, I got the “Windows was unable to complete the format” error.

Error Message format

 

Fix Your USB Flash Drive

To fix the drive right-click This PC in Windows 8.x or 10, or the Computer icon in Windows 7 and select Manage.

sshot-1

 

That opens up the built-in Computer Management utility. From the right pane go to Storage > Disk Management and in the center section find your flash drive (you should be able to find it by its size – and the fact Windows recognizes it as Unallocated space.)

Right-click on it and select New Simple Volume.

sshot-2

 

The New Simple Volume Wizard will start – just work your way through it following the on-screen instructions. It’s a clear process, and you can keep the default settings, but when you get to the screen shown below, you might want to give the drive a particular name.

sshot-5

 

When done working through the wizard, click Finish and wait a few moments.

sshot-6

 

You should then see that your drive has been formatted and is now correctly recognized by Windows.

Windows Disk Management

 

Then it will also appear in Computer or This PC as a drive that’s ready to use.

sshot-8

 

If this doesn’t work, you might need to try something else, but a lot of times I have found this overlooked trick usually works.

What is your take? Has this fixed your flash drives, SD cards, or traditional spinning hard drives? Leave a comment below and tell us if it worked, and if not, what did work for you.

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51 Responses to Fix Windows Unable to Complete Format On USB Flash Drive

  1. Drakuz December 5, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    Place thumb drive in your oven. Set oven to clean. Ssd data is permanently gone.

    Gratz your files are safeguarded by physics.

    • Steve Krause December 6, 2014 at 9:49 am #

      True. That’s of course one way to do it. 😉

    • Mcnooly February 4, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

      This was great! Now I can use my drive. Thank you!

  2. alfredmarshall234 December 19, 2014 at 2:02 am #

    Place the thumb drive on a railway track. Wait for the train to run over it. BAM!! All data gone!

    • Binu December 30, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

      i can’t format it in this way. i get the final answer as in the Virtual disk manager window “Incorrect function.”

  3. suraj January 27, 2015 at 3:19 am #

    new simple vol option is not avaiable
    please help

  4. RASHID SOUD February 2, 2015 at 5:53 am #

    i cant format in that way, because my flash size is allocated and i can’t to delete that partition.

  5. Matt March 15, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

    worked

  6. Haroon April 6, 2015 at 7:27 am #

    I got Helped with this thaks a lot… 🙂

  7. yves April 18, 2015 at 5:22 am #

    Thanks a lot, it was helpful 🙂

  8. manimozhi May 13, 2015 at 1:13 am #

    Woowww this is amazing i tried this tutorial really helpful

  9. Sushiant June 11, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

    Thank you for your help.
    That was helpful to me .

  10. Kodeeswaran July 2, 2015 at 8:20 am #

    Hello frnd,
    I buy 8GB transcend memory card suddenly show 30.6MB on my laptop. I format my memory card but show ‘windows was unable to complete the format’. Any body help me please…

  11. faith July 3, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    thanks, it really works… 🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. kakaanu bosco July 18, 2015 at 5:41 am #

    may be it can work but my flash disk for it is healthy and reads RAW not NTFS…so still it needs to first format which doesn’t complete

  13. manidhuddy July 28, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

    new simple volume option does not appear/

  14. ScottF August 8, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

    Linux ‘Live’ USB drives corrupted–both fixed!! Thanks!
    ‘Format’ programs are apparently not all created equal.

  15. peter August 19, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    after i press Finish he give me errore

    file:///C:/Users/peter/Desktop/Capture.JPG

  16. Dave August 22, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    Thank you very much. With your help I was able to fix my Kingston USB Flash drive!

  17. Suyash August 24, 2015 at 7:13 am #

    I’m not able to fix I’m getting the result from disk management “INCORRECT FUNCTION”
    But I’ve also the same problem and my Pen drive file system is showing “FAT” instead of ‘NTFS’.
    What should I do format it ??? Please…. help me ??? I’m in big problem….

  18. Sreekanth September 13, 2015 at 12:27 am #

    Showing incorrect function

  19. Jignesh patel September 25, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

    when i finished it show mw incorrect function dialog.

  20. Bonsix September 29, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    Thank you so much for that.
    was about to consider dumping the flash drive.
    worked a treat

  21. Samuel October 19, 2015 at 5:46 am #

    1. New simple volume didnot appear
    2. FAT instead of NTFS .
    Pls, this is very urgent, i really need your help now!

  22. pouria November 6, 2015 at 7:14 am #

    Thank you very much.
    that was helpful for me.
    best!@!@!@!@!

  23. Stanley November 12, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    its really nice, it works

  24. Maki B November 24, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

    IT WORKS THANK YOU you are heaven-sent I got this flash drive as a prize and I was totally bummed out that I couldn’t make it work but this tutorial (plus some other Googling that was in order) totally fixed my problem. Thank you!!

  25. Jack Fan November 29, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

    Thanks a lot, it saves my 32G USB drive.

  26. benjamin william December 21, 2015 at 6:37 am #

    mine does not show size and has failed to format please help

  27. Bert December 27, 2015 at 8:47 am #

    First: I’M FROM ITALY, SO YOU MUST FORGIVE ME FOR MY POOR ENGLISH: THINGS I’M GOING TO WRITE ARE PROBABLY FULL OF MISTAKES 😉

    ANYWAY…

    My PC is not able to format any of my USB drives… I don’t know why… yesterday everyting was OK, an now…

    This post is good but I cannot find the actions on my RAW formatted USB and I cannot edit meny of them.

    the only solutions I found are:

    1) Format using Gparted on my Linux PC or using Gparted bootable CD

    2) Format using Partition Guru.

    But the problem is that I cannot fix this issue IN Windows. I tried to format using CMD too but I didn’t succeed.

    It’s a very serious issue because I use Yumi and Rufus to build bootable USB and now I cannot do this anymore because they cannot format and then add items to my usb drives. Linux has similar tools but many of them can be added on Windows only.

  28. .SIVAMALA January 26, 2016 at 11:29 pm #

    Win 7.. New Simple volume did not appear. Windows says the DVD-RW is healthy and working properly. It also says cannot format because cannot access the disk.

  29. miral patel February 15, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    pls help to convert raw to fat usb drive..

  30. Karan February 15, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

    I was really frustrated by getting this error again and again. Going to try your recommended methods right now. Thank you so much.

  31. AYAZ QURESHI February 20, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

    THATS OWSEME. MY PROBLEM WITH USB GET REPAIRED IN ONLY 25 SECS.

    THANKS BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO……………

    • Miral February 21, 2016 at 7:22 am #

      New volume option is disable for my pendrive so plz help me .

  32. Mahmud March 27, 2016 at 3:57 am #

    hi,
    i tried to do that by formatting the drive by mage disk windows utility , but in vain it got stuck.
    thankfully i had installed Aomei partition editor standard , as i had to manage my hard drive space without deleting any files, i used format tool in this software and voila. i got my usb toshiba 16GB ready to stock in some files.

  33. Kashdeep4 April 2, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

    we can’t find unallocated drive. it is not working plz help me. i have samsung 8gb micro sd card

    • mahmud April 4, 2016 at 3:33 am #

      kashdeep find the drive which says ( removable drive) then format it by using windows or aomei partion editor ( i love it)

  34. hansley April 7, 2016 at 10:00 am #

    i think this works for only ntfs and fat system flash , but for raw system flash do not work , it my find some errors such as ” sysstem file not found” and others

  35. Jalal Mohammadzadeh April 20, 2016 at 4:00 am #

    Hello,
    I’ve this problem but that option is disable, i’ve just 2 option in my list
    1 – propertis
    2 – help

    and not any more. it’s better you help me forfix this problem with mac and windows 7.

  36. antipas June 3, 2016 at 2:25 am #

    i am grateful , thanks a lot

  37. Eric June 16, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    thank u very much it really helped me

  38. minkie July 4, 2016 at 6:04 am #

    Grateful, thank you ! The only site that solved my problem.

  39. AKASH RAGHAV September 24, 2016 at 1:22 am #

    Thank you very much. With your help I was able to fix my strontium 8GB USB Flash drive!

  40. Kay October 10, 2016 at 8:22 am #

    The USB was formatted but windows 10 set up cannot find it. Have done as suggested here but laptop already recognised it and this is confirmed by going into the CM screen. So who knows what next?!!! Try another USB I suppose to copy the windows 10 on to!

  41. Gena October 10, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    Thanks Man! It Works!

  42. fee October 27, 2016 at 11:25 pm #

    thanks aloooooooooooooooot it do work perfectly.

  43. Mike DJ October 31, 2016 at 8:13 am #

    i’m using windows 7 and my pendrive is sandisk cruzer blade it is showing ‘you need to format the disk before opening’ multiple times even after i cancel it. Please help me.

  44. Shadow November 3, 2016 at 9:17 am #

    If this doesn’t work, try this:

    1) go to start or search

    2) type”cmd”

    3) type”diskpart”

    in the new window that opens, type these:

    1) type “list disk”

    2) type “select disk 1” (replace 1 with your disk. To find it, check the size)

    3) type “clean”

    4) type “create partition primary”

    5) type “format fs=NTFS”

    Wait a while aaaaaaaaaaaand you’re done! 🙂

    Type “exit”

    • rob November 25, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

      nice this is a great solution when disk managment can’t do it (e.g. I had a thumb drive with a linux image written to it)
      thanks Shadow!

  45. Brian November 15, 2016 at 1:34 am #

    It really works,thanks

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