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How to Fix Windows was Unable to Complete the Format

This article describes the causes for the hard drive that can’t be formatted or hard drive showing error when tried to format it in Windows, and also the solution for the same. If your hard drive is refusing to format, instead of throwing an error, then don’t throw the drive but try one of the solutions mentioned here.

Issue

“When I was trying to format my Windows hard drive, an error occurred due to which I was unable to complete the formatting process. I received an error ‘Windows was unable to complete the format’, what can I do?”

Causes for Windows can’t format the drive issue

You’ll fail to format the Windows hard drive due to any one of the following reasons:

  • One of the main reasons for Windows can’t format the hard drive would be viruses or spyware programs. These defective programs have the ability to interrupt with the Windows programs like the format utility built into Windows systems
  • The next cause would be the incorrect setup of the hard drive in the BIOS, which makes BIOS and Windows detect the hard drive incorrectly
  • Chances are there that Windows may fail to address or recognize the drive parameters correctly if your computer system does not own the latest BIOS and hardware drivers or if the operating system does not have latest service packs installed
  • If the partition on the hard drive is corrupt or it has any bad sectors, this would make Windows refuse the drive format process and show an error message
  • You may even fail to format if the drive partition is larger than 32GB as FAT32
  • If there is a conflict between the hard drive and another device on the same IDE cable
  • Last but not the least; if your hard drive is defective or it has been damaged physically, you may fail to format your Windows hard drive

Solution

Try one of these solution to resolve “Formatting fails or an error is shown while formatting a hard drive in Windows” issue:

#1. In order to resolve any partition corruption problems, it is recommended to low-level format the hard drive. This task will also run an extended test on the hard drive and will indicate if the hard drive is working properly.

#2. For your internal hard drive, ensure that the latest BIOS is installed on the computer, motherboard, or PCI controller card.

The BIOS updates can be obtained from the computer, motherboard, or controller card manufacturer. The BIOS should be set up to Auto-Detect the hard drive. If there is a Mode option, this should be set up as LBALarge, or Auto.

#3. Make sure that your computer has the latest drivers installed for the hardware. You can download them from the respective hardware manufacturers.

#4. Before you proceed with hard drive formatting, check that the computer is free from viruses or spyware.

#5. Windows operating systems like 2000, XP, and 2003 are unable to format a FAT32 partition over 32GB, which is an operating system limitation. You will need to limit the partition capacity to 32GB or less or format the hard drive as NTFS.

#7. If the Full Format fails to complete, attempt to perform a Quick Format instead of a Full Format.

#8. If the hard drive is conflicting with another device on the same IDE cable, move the hard drive to the secondary IDE cable.

#9. For an external hard drive, connect the drive to another USB or FireWire port on the computer. You can also connect the hard drive to another computer system to perform the format. This issue may be caused by attempting to reformat a FAT32 partition as NTFS without deleting the partition first. You will need to repartition and reformat the hard drive to change the format type (file system) of a hard drive in Windows to resolve the issue.

Well, these are the best methods to fix Windows was Unable to Complete the Format issue, and most of the times they work well. Try the above solutions one after another and find the one works for you. If none of them works, then the drive might be damaged which can’t be fixed. But yes you can recover data from that hard drive using reliable data recovery software.

“To recover files after accidental format, Windows user can make use of Remo Recover Software and resolve the issue in easy steps.”

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