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Fix 'Can't Format USB Flash Drive' Error and Restore It to Full Size

Updated on Apr 17, 2019 by Tracy King to Partition Master

This article provides two methods to help you fix unable to format USB drive error without losing any data by CMD and free format utility. If you can’t format USB, SD, hard drive partition or external hard drive, just follow and find solutions here to get your problems solved right now.

Windows won't allow me to format USB, help!

"Hi there, do you know why does Windows computer won't allow me to format USB drive? I have a USB drive which is now inaccessible. I tried to format the USB drive to factory settings so that it would be available for data saving again. However, I failed. 

My computer, installed with Windows 10,  just won't allow me to do so. I don't know why. Do you know how to solve this problem?"

Windows can't format USB.

Here is a list of reasons why that your computer can't format USB and you can check whether your USB drive is staying with the same problems:

  • Virus Infection
  • Bad Sectors
  • Physical Damage
  • Device Write Protected (When the USB is write protected, you'll need an advanced way to format write protected USB.)
  • Incompatible File System

If you are having a similar problem for unable to format or can't complete the format process on your hard drive partition, external hard drive, USB, SD or other devices, don't worry. Here in the below, we'll show you two effective methods to fix USB format failure error by using free format utility or CMD.

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 Windows 10 is supported

If you have important data saved in your USB, SD card, external hard drive or Windows hard drive partition, find a powerful backup software to back up your data first. (EaseUS Todo Backup will work for you.)

Method 1. Format and restore USB to full capacity with free format utility

If you prefer simpler and easier tool to fix unable to format USB error, EaseUS free format utility - Partition Master can be your best shot. This tool allows you to effortlessly format and restores USB drive to its full capacity within 3 steps.

You can free download and install it on your Windows 10/8/7 etc PCs and follow to restore your USB drive to its full size now:

Step 1: Select the USB drive to format.

Connect the USB drive or pen drive to your computer. Download and launch EaseUS partition software. Right-click the USB drive you intend to format and choose "Format".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

Step 2: Set the drive letter and file system.

Assign a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

Step 3: Check the warning box.

Click "OK" if you see the Warning window. If you have important data on it, back up the data in advance.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

Step 4: Apply the changes.

Click the "Execute operation" button first, and then click "Apply" to format the USB drive.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4

After this, you'll be able to use USB drive for storing data and back up fancy data and important personal documents now. 

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 Windows 10 is supported

Method 2. Fix 'can't format USB flash drive' error by CMD

  1. 1. Connect USB drive or other devices that you need to format to your PC.
  2. 2. Press Win + R to open the "Run" dialog, type: cmd and hit Enter to open Command Prompt.
  3. 3. Select "Run as Administrator", type: diskpart and hit Enter.

Open diskpart.

  1. 4. Type: list disk and hit Enter to display all disks on your computer.
  2. 5. Type: select disk 2 and hit Enter. (2 is the drive letter of your USB.)
  3. 6. Type: clean and hit Enter.

Clean USB.

  1. 7. Type: create partition primary and hit Enter.
  2. 8. Type: format fs=fat32 or format fs=ntfs quick and hit Enter to reset USB drive to FAT32 or NTFS.

Reformat USB to detectable file system.

10. Type: assign and give your USB drive a new drive letter. Then type: exit to finish the process.

After this, you'll be able to use your USB drive to save and store new data again.