Found your USB device showing format error? Something like “Windows was unable to complete the format” and drive properties shows 0 KB size. It may be hard to believe for you that the USB device that you have been using for months or years without any issue and worked perfectly; how can it encounter a format problem? Is this a virus or file system error? Hardware problem cannot be overlooked as well.

It’s a little hard to identify the exact problem. However the possible causes may be virus, file system error or hardware failure. If the drive is infected by some virus you can use any good antivirus program. Most of these are free. Just scan the drive and the problem will be solved.

USB Format Error

If there is file system error, Windows will automatically fix the problem. You have to go through a few simple steps to solve this. These steps are given below.

Format drive in Windows Disk Management Utility

  • Right click on my computer
  • Select ‘Manage’
  • Click on ‘Disk Management’ in left pane.
  • Find you USB drive. Usually it is the last drive shown there if there is no optical drive on your computer. If you have optical drive installed, then USB drive may be found before that. However, make sure that you choose the right drive.
  • Right click on USB drive and you will see New Partition or Format option.
  • Follow the instructions to complete the process. Quick Format is not recommended; so please avoid this option. Moreover, prefer to try to choose exFAT rather than NTSF file system while formatting.

Command Line Infected USB format

  • Start/Restart computer in Safe mode.
  • After logging in, start command prompt by either search in Windows 7 and later versions or executing from Run command in previous version of Windows (XP etc). Press Win+R to launch Run commander; then type ‘cmd’ and hit Enter. Windows 7 and later versions users must open command prompt as administrator.
  • When command prompt interface is launched, type “FORMAT DRIVE_LETTER”. Replace drive letter with your USB drive letter.

Still Not Formatting?

If you have followed above solutions properly but still can’t format the drive, most probably chances are your USB drive has encountered a hardware damage. Unfortunately, hardware problems are almost impossible to solve for a normal or even advanced computer users unless you are a professional hardware engineer.

There are almost no chances to recover your damaged drive. But you can still try following solutions:

  • Contact a professional hardware engineer, but we recommend you to only contact the manufacturer authorized vendors.
  • Usually the USB drives have 3-5 year warranty. You can claim and get a new replacement from vendor or manufacturer.

Hopefully these solutions help you. If you want to ask anything or want to share any other solution that worked for you, then share it with us. We appreciate all feedback.


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