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How to Cancel a Format in Progress If Windows Won't Cancel Format

How do you force stop the process of formatting a hard disk or external USB drive when Windows will not cancel the format as you wish? Read this post and find data recovery solutions if force quit turns your hard drive into a RAW disk.

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Table of Contents

Have you ever met such an issue that Windows cannot stop a progressing format when you regret the operation? Don't worry about losing your data. Here on this page, you will find 3 practical methods that can help you immediately stop a formatting process and restore your lost files with a format recovery software:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Use DiskPart Run Command Prompt as Administrator > Type diskpart > list disk > select disk X > offline disk...Full steps
Fix 2. Use Disk Management Open Disk Management > Right-click the disk you are formatting > Select "Offline"...Full steps
Fix 3. Use File Explorer If you initiate the formatting in File Explorer, click the "Cancel" button to stop the formatting...Full steps
Fix 4. Recover Formatted Data Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard > Scan the formatted hard drive > Restore partially lost data...Full steps

How to Cancel a Format in Progress

"Hi, I have an issue with a WD Elements external hard drive and I wanted to format it on Windows using the Diskpart. But after I entered the command [format fs=ntfs], this stage hangs there for already two hours, still, 12% completed! Can I just interrupt the format process and start it all over again? But it seems that Windows won't cancel the format in a safe way. Please help."

Hard disk formatting is recognized as a good choice when it comes to fixing some generic hard drive issues, such as hard drive becomes very slow suddenly, cannot open hard drive as usual or bad sectors were developed on the drive. Microsoft Windows allows for hard disk formatting in many ways, and users can format the internal drive as well as some external USB flash drives in File Explorer, Windows Disk Management program, and Command Prompt.

The cost of time on formatting a storage drive depends on how much the storage is used, usually from seconds to hours. But sometimes, quite a lot of people got stuck in a formatting process for an incredibly long time, for example, over 24 hours, they badly need to interrupt the format midway. At such a moment that hard drive takes forever to format, they have two concerns. Will stop the format in progress do damage to the hard drive? What to do if Windows won't cancel the format even after you close the format window?

How to Cancel Hard Drive Formatting in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 Completely

You will have different ways to cancel the format. The most effective way to really cancel a format is to set the hard drive you are formatting as offline, either via Diskpart or Disk Management.

Method 1. Cancel a Format via Diskpart

Step 1. Run Windows Command Prompt as an administrator.

Step 2. In the window, enter diskpart > list disk > select disk X > offline disk.

Step 3. Now the formatting process has been canceled. Continue to enter the online disk in order to use it.

How to cancel a format via Diskpart

Method 2. Cancel a Format via Disk Management

Step 1. Right-click "This PC" and choose "Manage".

Step 2. Go to "Disk Management".

Step 3. Right-click the disk you are formatting and choose "Offline". To work with it, right-click it again and choose "Online". (You can also choose "Cancel Format".)

How to cancel a format with Disk Management

Method 3. Cancel a Format via File Explorer

If you initiate the formatting process via Windows File Explorer, you will see the formatting window and there is a "Cancel" button available for you in it. You can click the button to stop the formatting process. If this method fails to work. you can use one of the two methods above to cancel the format, which will work definitely.

How to Recover Data from a Partially Formatted Hard Drive

By doing this, you have to accept the fact that interrupting the format once it has started is not 100% free of risks. As soon as the task is taking effect, especially the process is going for a while, you will get an inaccessible hard drive that shows up as a RAW drive in the end.

For people who forgot to back up the hard drive before starting the format and later canceled the format, download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover data from a partially formatted hard drive. Let this professional hard drive recovery software help get all the erased data back on the drive that has not been fully formatted.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.6

Note: To guarantee a high data recovery chance, install EaseUS data recovery software on another disk instead of the formatted disk. 

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. Choose the hard drive partition which you've accidentally formatted and click "Scan".

select a partition and click scan

Step 2. This formatted hard drive recovery software will start scanning for all the lost data and files. After scanning, you can click "Filter" to filter a specific file type to quickly find files you need. Or click Search files or folders to select data that you want to recover.

select scanned files

Step 3. Preview the scanned files. Then, select the ones that you wish to recover and click "Recover". Choose a new location to store the files and click "OK".

recover files from formatted HDD

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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Approved by Evan Galasso

Evan Galasso is a digital forensics and data recovery engineer with over 10 years of experience in the field. He presents opinions on the current state of storage media, reverse engineering of storage systems and firmware, and electro-mechanical systems of SSDs and HDDs.

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