How to Fix “Windows was unable to complete the format” Error

Computer shows “Windows was unable to complete the format” error message while trying to format a memory card due to various reasons. Sometimes, you can fix this error just reinserting the memory card into your system. But, there are cases where it doesn’t work. If that is the case, then you need to follow some alternative methods.  Here I am going to explain all the cases where you may come across error- Windows can’t format my memory card and solution to fix this issue.

Format screen

Case 1: Memory Card with Unwanted Guest

Connecting a memory card to virus infected device invite inaccessibility and card corruption. Due to which you can’t format your card and may get “windows unable to format” error. For fixing this, you need to follow below mentioned methods-

Solution 1Antivirus Software

Install an antivirus software on your computer and scan entire memory card. Once antivirus software removes the virus, try to format the card. But even then the same problem persists, try next method to complete the format action.

Solution 2- Format using Command Prompt

  • Open command prompt
  • Type Format *(drive letter): fs:FAT32
  • Enter return and follow on screen instructions
  • After completion, type EXIT

If you are able to format the virus infected memory card using this method and end up losing data stored on it. Then, you can use formatted memory card recovery tool to get back your files.

Case 2: Memory Card with Infected Parts   

Memory card may have bad sectors due to various reasons. When the number of bad sectors on memory card increases, it becomes inaccessible and restricts you from formatting it. To format the memory card, you need to fix the bad sectors. Let’s see how to fix bad sectors and format memory card?

Solution 1: Fixing Bad Sectors

  • Connect memory card to Windows computer
  • Right click on memory card and select Properties
  • In properties window, click on Tools
  • Now, press Check Now button

Device Properties

  • Select “Automatically fix file system errors” and “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors” options

Check Disk

  • Click on Start and wait for confirmation message

After fixing bad sectors on the memory card, try to format it. If it doesn’t work, try next solution.

Solution 2: Format through Disk Management

  • Press Windows + R key to open Run and enter msc

Command Prompt

  • In disk management window, select the memory card

Disk Management

  • Right click on memory card and hit Format option

If you fail to format your memory card using disk management, you can even use the command prompt to format it as explained in case 1.

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