How to fix: “Windows was Unable to complete the format” issue – 2020

Windows was unable to complete the format

Sometimes when you decide to format your any external hard drive, USB drives, or SD card after completing the formatting task, suddenly your screen popup with an error called “windows was unable to complete the format” on your PC.

You might get fret, and start thinking of what has happened to the USB drive? Does that mean your USB drive is broken?. Not really!

Do not panic, in this article, you will find the guidance on how to fix the problem of ‘windows was unable to complete the format’. All you need to do is follow our step-by-step instructions below.

Firstly, let us understand why this error occurs when you format the external USB drives.

How “windows was unable to complete the format” error occurs in Windows 10

The reason behind this issue is that you might have chosen the wrong drive or source might have been corrupted, also it can be due to following reasons:

  • Lack of permissions meaning you required permissions of admin to format drives inside This PC. This can be resolved by using Command Prompt or Disk Management methods
  • Write protection for your drive may have been turned on in your computer, that can be the reason, preventing you from formatting it.
  • Physical damage to the portable device, Unfortunately, service center and professional SD card/USB drive repair will help in this situation.
  • Bad sectors , As a result, the SD card becomes unreadable and cannot be formatted.

Now will see, What are the ways to resolve the issue of ‘windows was unable to complete the format’ error on your system? The following are the ways you can get rid of this error.

Solution 1: Disk Management

Disk management is an inbuilt window feature that helps in managing your drives in the windows system as well as the external drives. By using this feature you can find the solution on USB drive format. Follow the instructions below!

windows was unable to complete the format

  • Initially open the Disk management by pressing windows + X key.
  • Rightclick on the hard disk or USB drive that is giving the error and choose the Format option within the context menu.
  • Confirm for changes and restart your computer and check the issue of ‘windows was unable to complete the format‘ persist in your system.

If the issue gets resolved with the first method then well done, if not then hop to our next method.

Solution 2: Command Prompt

If you are still here, that means the first solution fails to do its work, do not worry command prompt tool will help you in formatting the hard drives, SD card, USB drive, or any other drive. Follow the instructions below!

Windows was unable to complete the format

  1. Open the command prompt by typing CMD in the start menu.
  2. Right-click on it and choose the option Run as administrator and,
  3. Type the command format E: /fs:ntfs and hit enter.
  4. That particular drive will be formatted and check if the issue persists again.

Note: in your case, your drive name could be anything F, G, H, I, etc. choose that particular drive name that you want to format.

Solution 3: Changing the Write Protection

Many users are facing the issue of ‘Windows was Unable to complete the format‘ due to write protection has been turned on for their drive. Follow the instructions below!

Open the Registry Editor window by typing “regedit” in the Start menu, or in the Run dialog box by typing  Windows Key + R key combination.

Step 1: In the Registry Editor window, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control.

windows was unable to complete the format

Step 2: Then Rightclick on Control folder, select New Key.

Step 3: Now rename the New Key to #1 folder into StorageDevicePolicies.

Step 4: After that Rightclick on the StorageDevicePolicies folder, then select New, and QWORD (64-bit) Value if your PC is running with a 64-bit version, or DWORD (32-bit) Value if it’s with 32-bit.

Step 5: Now rename the New Value #1 folder into WriteProtect.

Step 6: Double click the WriteProtect folder, change the Value data: into “0” and Base to “Hexadecimal”, click “OK.”

windows was unable to complete the format

Step 7: Close RegEdit and restart your computer.

Step 8: Now plug your USB drive again into your computer and format it to exFAT instead of FAT32.

Bottom Line:

So that’s all to share in this article. Have you able to fix the Windows unable to complete the format error on your USB? still, you are facing the issue, then we would like to recommend you to use the third-party software called HP USB Disk Format Tool, a program also recommended by SanDisk.

Nagraj is a Owner of Computer Topic is associated with the IT industry for a decade. He is Blogging since 2018, as a way to document all the issues he was troubleshooting while working in IT. He has come with a mission to help users who revolve around the tech issues.