How to Format Your Flash Drive When Windows Tools Fail

Discover the ultimate guide to formatting your flash drive when standard Windows tools fail in this comprehensive tutorial. If you’ve encountered difficulties completing the format using built-in Windows utilities, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with expert solutions and alternative methods to ensure your flash drive is formatted effectively.

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How to Fix Flash Drive Errors: The Drive Can’t Be Recognized, Wrong Size, RAW File System 🛠️👨‍💻🤔

How to Fix Flash Drive Errors: The Drive Can’t Be Recognized, Wrong Size, RAW File System 🛠️👨‍💻🤔

Nowadays every PC user has a USB flash drive. Sometimes they need to be formatted, for example, when changing the file system, when encountering errors or just when you need to delete all files.

Usually, this operation is quick to perform, but sometimes you can see an error message saying: “Windows was unable to complete the format.”

Error: Windows was unable to complete the format

Let us have a look at several ways to perform formatting and repair the flash drive.

Formatting With Windows Disk Management

Often you can format a flash drive without turning to third-party utilities but by using Windows disk manager.

To launch it go to Windows Control Panel, then switch to “Administrative Tools” and click on “Computer Management”.

Windows Control Panel

Then go to Disk Management tab. In the list of all drives available you should see the flash drive (which you have trouble formatting). Right-click you mouse on the drive and select the menu line “Format.”

How to Format Your Flash Drive if Windows Standard Tools Cannot Complete The Format

Formatting With Command Prompt

In this case you should launch the command prompt with administrator rights.

Right-click your mouse on Start menu and select Command Prompt (Admin).

Command Prompt (Admin) Menu

Then enter a simple command: “format f:” (type in without quotation marks where “f:” is the drive letter).

Enter a command: format f:

Low-level formatting

An inscription on the flash drive case always specifies manufacturer name, memory size and sometimes the speed: USB 2.0 (3.0). In addition, every flash drive has its own specific controller and knowing about it, you can try to perform low-level formatting.

To determine the controller model, there are two parameters: VID and PID (vendor ID and Product ID, respectively). When you know VID and PID you can find a utility to repair and format your flash drive. Yet you should be careful: flash drives by one manufacturer and in one model range can still have different controllers!

After that, just search for a flash drive format utility (a sample query: “silicon power VID 13FE PID 3600”) using Yandex or Google. As you find the utility you need, launch it to format the flash drive (if you did everything right, there shouldn’t be any problems).

Yet before you start low-level formatting you should understand it means erasing all user information without a chance to restore it. That is, the part of the drive where data is contained will be cleaned completely. Standard Windows formatting does not do that but only applies quick formatting which is basically remarking your drive.

It is quite a common variant which can help you to repair flash drives by almost any manufacturer.

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🆘 Windows 11 Error: You Need to Format the Disk in Drive Before You Can Use It. How to Fix It?

🆘 Windows 11 Error: You Need to Format the Disk in Drive Before You Can Use It. How to Fix It?

Vladimir Artiukh

Author: , Technical Writer

Vladimir Artiukh is a technical writer for Hetman Software, as well as the voice and face of their English-speaking YouTube channel, Hetman Software: Data Recovery for Windows. He handles tutorials, how-tos, and detailed reviews on how the company’s tools work with all kinds of data storage devices.

Oleg Afonin

Editor: , Technical Writer

Oleg Afonin is an expert in mobile forensics, data recovery and computer systems. He often attends large data security conferences, and writes several blogs for such resources as, Elcomsoft and Habr. In addition to his online activities, Oleg’s articles are also published in professional magazines. Also, Oleg Afonin is the co-author of a well-known book, Mobile Forensics - Advanced Investigative Strategies.

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