How-To

Fix Windows Unable to Complete Format On USB Flash Drive

Sometimes when you have a flash drive, it won’t be recognized by Windows, but before you throw that USB flash drive away, try to fix it with this tip.

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 transparent 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.


63 Comments

63 Comments

  1. Drakuz  

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

    Gratz your files are safeguarded by physics.

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

    • Mcnooly  

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

  2. alfredmarshall234  

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

    • Binu  

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

  3. suraj  

    new simple vol option is not avaiable
    please help

  4. RASHID SOUD  

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

  5. Matt  

    worked

  6. Haroon  

    I got Helped with this thaks a lot… 🙂

  7. yves  

    Thanks a lot, it was helpful 🙂

  8. Woowww this is amazing i tried this tutorial really helpful

  9. Sushiant  

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

  10. Kodeeswaran  

    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  

    thanks, it really works… 🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. kakaanu bosco  

    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  

    new simple volume option does not appear/

  14. ScottF  

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

  15. peter  

    after i press Finish he give me errore

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

  16. Dave  

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

  17. Suyash  

    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  

    Showing incorrect function

  19. Jignesh patel  

    when i finished it show mw incorrect function dialog.

  20. Bonsix  

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

  21. Samuel  

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

  22. pouria  

  23. its really nice, it works

  24. Maki B  

    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  

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

  26. benjamin william  

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

  27. Bert  

    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. 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  

    pls help to convert raw to fat usb drive..

  30. 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  

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

    THANKS BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO……………

    • Miral  

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

  32. Mahmud  

    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  

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

    • mahmud  

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

  34. hansley  

    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. 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  

    i am grateful , thanks a lot

  37. Eric  

    thank u very much it really helped me

  38. minkie  

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

  39. AKASH RAGHAV  

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

  40. Kay  

    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  

    Thanks Man! It Works!

  42. fee  

    thanks aloooooooooooooooot it do work perfectly.

  43. Mike DJ  

    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. 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  

      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!

    • JIm  

      I think this is working. Thanx!

      Trying to use Windows Media Creator to make WIN 10 USB, and it is asking me for a USB drive, but wont see the one I have because it thinks it is a DVD!

  45. Brian  

    It really works,thanks

  46. Richard Roemer  

    Thank you so much for this – worked perfectly!

  47. iris  

    thank you it was such a easy way

  48. Engdayhu  

    Thank you
    The guide solve my issue and the flash disk is working.

  49. Atish  

    Thanks a lot. This simple solution works perfectly.

  50. isaac  

    I got a flash drive of 16 gig

    it had 2 storage path and one of the storage was write protected,and the other wasn’t.

    used it for some time and it popped up a message -format drive and when I try formatting it pops up -unable to complete and in the format screen it shows 8gig instead of 16gig

    pls is there any solution?

  51. moses katongo  

    New sample is not poping up when I right click. using windows 8

  52. pavan  

    Hi iam using Transcend 8gb pendrive when it is not opening it is saying

    Please insert a disk into remove disk (Z:)

    When i try to format There is no Disk in Drive Z:

    Insert Disk and try again i used all instructions from experts when i open diskmanagement it is not showing any USB it is showing no media

    please help me i have useful data in pendrive

  53. Ruchi  

    Thanks a lot, this is very easiest way now i can use my pen drive.

  54. RYF  

    Many many many thxs from Venezuela. Worked perfectly

  55. Thank you so much it really worked..now can use my flash drive

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