Fix Windows Unable to Complete Format On USB Flash Drive

08. December 2016 Software 0

When using a USB flash drive have you ever seen one of the following errors when trying to access the drive from Windows? Don’t throw the drive away quite yet; try one of the following tricks to get it working.

Please insert a disk into Removable Disk

The other day I was trying to install Windows 8.1 with Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool, and the install failed on my new 64GB flash drive. After that, no matter what version of Windows I tried to use the drive on, I kept getting these errors indicating the drive wasn’t getting recognized.

Note: In this scenario, I am using a drive that has no data on it. If you have a drive that does have data, you’ll want to try a different troubleshooting method as this will wipe any data from it.


Windows was unable to complete the format

When you see that the drive is not recognized, and you try to format it, I got the “Windows was unable to complete the format” error.


Fix Your USB Flash Drive

To fix the drive right-click This PC in Windows 8.x or 10, or the Computer icon in Windows 7 and select Manage.


That opens up the built-in Computer Management utility. From the right pane go to Storage > Disk Management and in the center section find your flash drive (you should be able to find it by its size – and the fact Windows recognizes it as Unallocated space.)

Right-click on it and select New Simple Volume.


The New Simple Volume Wizard will start – just work your way through it following the on-screen instructions. It’s a clear process, and you can keep the default settings, but when you get to the screen shown below, you might want to give the drive a particular name.


When done working through the wizard, click Finish and wait a few moments.


You should then see that your drive has been formatted and is now correctly recognized by Windows.


Then it will also appear in Computer or This PC as a drive that’s ready to use.


If this doesn’t work, you might need to try something else, but a lot of times I have found this overlooked trick usually works.

What is your take? Has this fixed your flash drives, SD cards, or traditional spinning hard drives? Leave a comment below and tell us if it worked, and if not, what did work for you.


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