Windows 10 can't format my drive

I started getting an error when trying to use My Passport. I could see the list of directories but could not access them.

Finally gave and decided to reformat the drive.

Windows says it can’t format the drive.

Suggestions, or should I just trash it and get a new one?


I’ve been wandering through every solution I can find using Google. Everyone wanted me to try the format before going further. Eventually the format worked. Don’t know why.

Sorry to distract. …g

Hi @weegeordie,

Have you opened a Support Case? If not opened, for more information, please contact the WD Technical Support team for the best assistance and troubleshooting:

No support case opened. I was able to get the drive formatted by repeatedly running MS format. Thanks …g

There are many causes that may prevent Windows from completing the format process on your devices. Here is a list of the main reasons that explain why Windows is unable to format the USB, SD card, or external hard drive, etc., devices:

#1. The device contains the file system error
When a storage device displays as RAW or contains an unsupported file system such as Linux Ext2/3/4, Windows won’t be able to directly format the device by using File Explorer or Disk Management. To fix this error, you will need a third-party formatting tool for help.

2. Presence of bad sectors on USB, SD

When a storage device contains a certain number of bad sectors, you won’t be able to format it using Windows built-in tools. To make your device accessible again and complete the format on a USB/SD card, you can run disk error checking and a bad sector repair tool to clear the errors on your device.
#3. Virus or malware infection

When your storage device is infected by a virus or malware, you can neither access the saved data nor format the device in a normal way. You need to clear the virus at first and then complete the formatting process.

#4.The device is locked or write-protected by third-party software

If your USB or SD card gets locked or write-protected by third-party software, you cannot format the device either. The only way out is to remove the write protection first, and then finish formatting your SD, or USB drive.

#5. Physical damage

When your storage device is physically damaged, you can do nothing to it. Either taking it to a local manual repair center or purchasing a new one to replace the damaged device is a good way out.

### Windows Was Unable to Format" Error Using Diskpart Command

Applies to: Resolve Windows unable to format USB, SD, or other device error due to file system or bad sector issue.

When you failed to format USB, SD card, or other storage devices using Windows file explorer, the Diskpart formatting command can also help you complete the format.

Here are the steps:

Step 1. Right-clicking on Windows icon, type command prompt in Search, right-click on Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator”.

Step 2. Type diskpart in Command Prompt and hit Enter.

Step 3. Hit Enter each time when you type below command lines in DiskPart to quick format hard drive:

  • list disk
  • select disk 2 (Replace 2 with your disk number)
  • list volume
  • select volume 10 (Replace 10 with the volume number of the device that you want to format)
  • format fs=ntfs quick (If you need to format a storage device to FAT32 or other file systems, replace NTFS with FAT32, exFAT, etc.)

Step 4. Type exit and hit Enter to close the program when DiskPart reports it has successfully formatted the volume.
### Check and Fix Disk Errors that Prevent Windows from Completing the Format

Applies to: Resolve “Windows unable to format” device error due to disk error.

Step 1. Open File Explorer, connect your device to PC and right-click on the problematic device, select “Properties”.

Step 2. Under the Tools tab, click the Check button under “Error checking”.
Step 3. Next, you can choose to Scan drive if wanted or Repair drive if errors were found.

Wait for the process to finish.

Step 4. Now, you can right-click on your device and complete the format using Windows File Explorer.

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If you are unable to format the storage drive and if you wish to completely wipe the drive then you can try data erasure software such as BitRaser File Eraser, this will clean sweep your drive and make it ready to re-use as a fresh new drive.

I have the same issue now, and I dunno what to do.

I had a similar headache with my old drive not too long ago. If you’re still looking for options, I’ve got a tip that might save you from having to trash your current drive. Try giving Windows a fresh start by reinstalling it. It sounds a bit drastic, but sometimes, these weird issues are just glitches that a clean install can fix.