Steps to do at Windows was Unable to Complete the Format problem

I wonder what is going with my PC right now but the truth is that my system is displaying this error message “Windows was unable to complete the format” every alternate time when I try to format my USB Pen drive. It is certainly a PC problem as this is happening with all drives i have.

This is a strange problem I have started facing recently and what it does is:

•    Doesn’t format the drive once every two tries.
•    Renames the drive to “Removable disk” thereby removing our set names.

Why this problem occurs:

•    Formatting a drive not only means removing all the data but it also allocates a new File system to the drive. So if the drive is already in FAT system (say) then again allocating it the same system may cause this error.
•    There are full chances of this problem being caused due to changes made by some virus in the system.

What to do:

While the solution to this problem is still unknown to me, but this is what you can do while formatting the drive.

1.    Format the drive to some other file system first like NTFS and then format it to the FAT system.
2.    As in my case, formatting the drive second time didn’t result in any conflict, so you can format the drive one more time to see what happens.
3.    You may format the drive from the “Disk Management” tool. Run diskmgmt.msc in the run box and format the drive from there.

Well if you know any other solution, it would be worthwhile sharing it here.

60 Replies to “Steps to do at Windows was Unable to Complete the Format problem”

  1.  Hi Dania, Try low level format or you can also try formatting the drive in some another system.
    Search low level format (using the search boxes here)

  2. when i insert the memory card than direct option is come “you need to format a disk” and memory card is unable to open
    please solve the problem

  3. I hava done format…

    1)Make a new volume of ur pendrive in disk management

    during this select “do not format drive”

    2)It will display default fs as raw

    3)Format it.


  4. im using win xp and i tried format in cmd (dos), it works.

    1) start -> run -> cmd
    2) type in
    format e: /q /fs:fat32
    (example e: is your usb drive)
    3) then let it runs
    4) after that unplug the memory card or usb drive, and plug it again

    good luck 🙂

  5. Thanks, worked done for me 🙂 I had a 8 GB kingston usb drive unable to format.


  6. I solved the formatting problem in my SD card following steps here:
    1. click Start button and type cmd in the search both and press Enter
    2. Type command diskpart on the black windows and press Enter key
    3. Continue typing disk 4. Type create primary partition and hit Enter
    4. type in Command prompt format /FS:FAT32J

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