You need format the disk error

External drives like USB flash drives are very useful when you need to copy files between computers or back up your important files like pictures, movies, files, and other data. But sometimes you may get an error message, “You Need to Format the Disk in Drive Before You Can Use It” when attempting to access a storage device on your computer. And Windows will not let you use the disk and access the data, till you format it. In this article, we will explore various methods to fix the “You need to format the disk before you can use it” error, and regain access to your files on USB drive.

You Need to Format The Disk Before You Can Use It

Usually, this error occurs when you remove your external USB drive without using the Safely Remove Option which results in the USB drive Partition Table becoming corrupted and unreadable. And you have two options: Eighter format it or try to repair bad sectors and errors.

Again there may be the USB drive or the port malfunctioning, Core system files have gone missing or corrupt or Malware is preventing access to the USB drive.

Let’s first restart Windows and try connecting the USB drive to a different USB port and check if you can access the drive without any problem. In addition, connect the USB drive to another computer and check if you can access the file contents without any issues.

Run Disk Error Checking Utility

For a number of users, running the Disk Error Checking Utility help fix the “You need to format the disk before you can use it” error on Windows 10. This utility, also known as chkdsk (Check Disk), is a built-in tool in Windows that scans for and repairs errors on the storage device.

  • Let’s First Connect the affected USB device to your computer
  • Press Windows key + E to open Windows Explorer (File Explorer)
  • Right-click on the problematic drive and select “Properties.”
  • In the Properties window, go to the “Tools” tab and click on the “Check” button under the “Error Checking” section.
  • Check the box that says “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors” and click “Start.”
  • The utility will now scan the drive for errors and attempt to fix them.

Once the process is complete, restart your computer and try accessing the drive again.

Repair errors and bad sectors using Command Prompt

Also, you can use the command prompt utility to repair disk errors or USB device errors on your computer.

  • Press the Windows key + X on your keyboard and select “Command Prompt (Admin)” or “Windows PowerShell (Admin)” from the menu that appears
  • In the command prompt window, type “chkdsk [drive letter]: /f” and press Enter.
  • Note: Replace “[drive letter]” with the actual drive letter of the affected device (e.g., chkdsk E: /f).

check disk command

  • You will be prompted to confirm if you want to schedule the disk check for the next system restart. Type “Y” and press Enter.
  • Restart your computer and allow the disk check to run before the operating system loads.

After the disk check completes, try accessing the drive and see if the error persists.

Check For Virus Infection

Some Times due to virus malware infection you may also face the problem like You Need to Format the Disk before you can use it and the device became unresponsive. Before performing Any other troubleshooting perform a virus malware scan is a good solution.

Simply Install the latest updated Antivirus and Run a virus scan. After completing the scanning process simply Restart windows and re-plug the USB device, and check the problem is fixed.

Use Third-party Software

If the above methods failed to fix this You Need to Format the Disk Error then you can use free Third-party applications like partition find and mount, Testdisk utility which helps to recover your important data.

Partition find and mount

Simply Download the partition find and mount from the given download link and run the application as administrator.

  • After that launch, the application -> Select the Effected Drive ( forex F Drive ) and click on Scan.
  • After completing, the scanning process simply Right-click on it and select mount.
  • Select the drive letter and click ok.
  • Now open my computer and you will notice the new mount drive.
  • Open this and copy data from it, Now you can format the drive.

Testdisk utility

First Download the Testdisk utility to your computer by following the download link. After the download is finished, Extract All data to a specific folder.

  • Now connect the unrecognized hard disk drive (HDD) to your computer and open the testdisk_win.exe application.
  • Here Press Enter at the highlighted Create option, Wait until TestDisk scans your computer
  • Now Select the external USB hard drive and press Enter to Proceed to disk analysis.
  • Here on the next screen select the partition table type and press Enter.
  • After disk analysis, TestDisk should display the current partition structure.
  • Press Enter for Quick Search, After successful recognition of your files as described above,
  • Press q to proceed to restore the partition table on your disk.

Use Data Recovery Software

If the above solutions do not work or if you are concerned about potential data loss, consider using data recovery software to retrieve your files before formatting the disk.

  • There are various third-party tools available that can help you recover data from a drive that needs formatting.
  • Install reputable data recovery software on your computer and follow the instructions provided by the software.
  • The software will scan the affected drive for recoverable files and allow you to retrieve them before formatting the disk.

Format the Disk (Last Resort)

Formatting the disk should only be done as a last resort, as it erases all data on the drive. If you have successfully recovered your important files using data recovery software or have a backup of the data, you can proceed with formatting the disk.

  • Right-click on the drive in Windows Explorer (File Explorer) and select “Format.”
  • Choose the desired file system (such as NTFS or exFAT) and allocation unit size.
  • Check the “Quick Format” option if available and click “Start” to begin the formatting process.
  • Once the formatting is complete, you can start using the disk again.

Use the Safety Remove option to remove USB drive

The above error usually occurs when you remove your external USB drive without using the Safely Remove Option which results in the USB drive Partition Table becoming corrupted and unreadable. To avoid losing your data or corrupting the storage drive’s partition table always make sure that you use the safely remove option before unplugging your drive.

Also read:

Steve Ballmer
With over 7 years of experience in the IT industry, I have experience in IT support, helpdesk, sysadmin, network admin, and cloud computing. Certified in Microsoft Technologies (MCTS and MCSA) and also Cisco Certified Professional in Routing and Switching.


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