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Windows was unable to complete the format: Quick Fix

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Formatting drives, especially smaller ones is a quick way of getting rid of any data and at times, malware as well. Windows itself makes the process quite simple. All you have to do is right-click the drive and click format.

However, at times Windows can run into errors while trying to format a drive. In this article, we’re taking a look at why this happens and how to fix this problem.

Why does this happen?

There are a number of reasons why Windows might not be able to format a given drive. Some of the most popular ones are as follows:

  • The drive is write-protected.
  • There’s physical damage to the drive.
  • Bad sectors.
  • Malware or virus preventing a write operation.
  • No drive letter allocated.

Also read: How to format an SD card in Linux?

How to fix this

Here are a few solutions you can take to fix the problem.

Format using the Command Prompt

Formatting using the command prompt can completely purge the drive of any data. Here’s how.

Step 1: Press Windows key + R to open the Run prompt. Type cmd and hit enter.

Step 2: Type the format command using the following syntax.

format [drive letter] /fs:[file system]

For example, if you want to format the D drive with FAT32, you’ll use the following command.

format D: /fs:fat32

Using Disk Management

If you’d rather stick to a graphical interface, you can try using the Disk Management tool as well.

Step 1: Press Windows key + X to access the Quick Access menu. Click on Disk Management.

Step 2: Select the drive you want to format, right-click it and click Format.

Also read: What is APC index mismatch in Windows 10? 5 Fixes

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: