Some Windows users have problems with their external hard drive, which does not allow to format drive. If you also experience the same problem, we will be happy to help you in this article.

The external HDD does not format; The problem is usually accompanied by the error message “Windows could not complete the format.” As a result of this, the formatting process stops or is incomplete.

There are several reasons why the external hard drive can not format. This may include:

  • Malware or virus infection
  • DLLs, SYS or EXE lost or damaged
  • Incorrect unit format
  • Damaged hard drive partition
  • Incompatible or outdated hardware or BIOS drivers, etc.

How to fix external hard disk format problems

For this problem we bring you several solutions, and each one will be explained below as detailed as possible. Hopefully with this you can solve your problem and that this article is of your help.


Solution 1: Scan the external hard drive for malware

Malwares and viruses can cause hard drive format problems. Therefore, you must scan the external hard drive for potential malware or viruses.

To scan the external hard drive, you can use the integrated Windows antivirus, that is, Windows Defender or third-party antivirus programs.

Here’s how to scan your external hard drive for viruses:

  • Connect the external hard drive to your system
  • Go to Start> type ‘defend’> double click on Windows Defender to start the tool
  • In the panel on the left, select the shield icon
  • In the new window, click on the Advanced Scan box.
  • Now, click on the option ‘Scan now’.

Alternatively, you can use other antivirus software to scan your external hard drive. Some of the best third-party antivirus such as Bitdefender, Panda, MalwareBytes, etc. They are ideal for virus removal.


Solution 2: Run the SFC analysis

Corrupt system files can also cause hard drive format problems. Therefore, you can use the SFC utility tool (System File Checker), which scans the system files to verify integrity file violations for a systematic resolution.

Here’s how to run the SFC scan:

  • Press Windows + Q and type cmd.
  • From the search results, right-click on Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator.”
  • A new cmd window appears. Type sfc/scannow and press the ‘Enter’ key.
  • Wait until the scanning and repair process is complete.

Solution 3: Run CHKDSK

CHKDSK can also be used to solve the formatting problem of the external HDD. This is because CHKDSK cleans errors related to your disk.

Follow these steps to run CHKDSK:

  • Go to Start> type “cmd”> right click on it and select “Run as administrator”.
  • Now, write “CHKDSK C:/F”.
  • Therefore, type CHKDSK C:/R without quotes at the command prompt and press the “Enter” key.
  • After the CHKDSK process, restart your PC.

Note: Be sure to write the letter of the external drive in the second step above. In some cases, the letter can be F, G or any alphabet.


Solution 4: Install the latest updates

Outdated BIOS and hardware drivers can cause the external hard drive not to format. Therefore, it is essential that you update your PC to solve the problem.

In addition, Windows updates can solve a problem of Windows operating system problems, especially any problems related to the external hard drive.

Here’s how to run the Windows update:

  • Go to Start> type “update” in the search box and then click on “Windows update” to continue.
  • In the Windows Update window, look for updates and install the ones that are available.
  • Once the update is complete, restart your PC.

Alternatively, you can use an automated solution to update your BIOS and hardware drivers. We recommend using Tweakbit Driver Updater, which is approved by Microsoft and Norton to update drivers for hardware devices and other system drivers.


Solution 5: Use Diskpart

Some Windows users reported that they fixed the problem simply by using Diskpart. On the other hand, Diskpart is a tool that can be used to format external hard drives. However, before accessing Diskpart, you must use the command prompt.

Follow these steps to use Diskpart:

  • Connect the external HDD to your system
  • Go to Start> Write ‘cmd’ without quotes.
  • Select System Symbol (Administrator) to open the notification window.
  • In the command prompt window, type ‘diskpart’, and then press the ‘Enter’ key. This will open the Diskpart window.
  • Now, type ‘list disk’ and press the Enter key to open a list of units.
  • Type ‘select disk n‘ in the Diskpart window and press the Enter key. (Note: replace the n with the number of the external hard drive you wish to select.
  • Write ‘clean’ without quotes and press the Enter key.
  • Continue writing the ‘create partition primary’ command in Diskpart and press the Enter key
  • Finally, type ‘format fs = ntfs quick’ and press Enter to format the external hard drive with NTFS (New Technology File System).

Solution 6: Run the disk management tool

Another applicable solution to solve the external HDD problem is the format through the use of disk management. This tool formats and restores the disk’s default configuration; therefore, it allows you to format your external hard drive once and for all.

  • Connect your external hard drive
  • Go to Start> type ‘disk management’> select the “Create and format hard drive partitions” utility
  • Right-click on the unit you want to format> select the Format option
  • Follow the instructions to continue with the formatting process> click on OK in the warning window.
  • Once the formatting process is complete, you can use your unit.

Solution 7: use third-party tools

Saving the best for last, there are several third-party tools that you can use to format your external HDD without stress. Therefore, you can try any of them to solve the formatting problem of the external HDD.

Some of the best tools for formatting external hard drives include GParted Disk Partition, HDD Low Level Format Tool, IM-Magic Partition Resizer Free and Tokiwa FAT32 Formatter.

While some of them are free, others are available at a higher price. But you can definitely format your external HDD using any of the tools. In addition, you can also format USB flash drives with the tools mentioned above.

In conclusion, we hope that any of the solutions mentioned above have helped you solve the problem. However, if you still experience the problem, you can use a cabinet with SATA cable for the external hard drive before continuing with the formatting process.



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