Causes for the Windows Unable to Complete Format Error?

You should know that there are many reasons why Windows may not be able to complete the format procedure on your devices. This list gives the primary reasons why Windows is unable to format any of the following- USB flash drives, SD cards, or external hard drives.

  1. Unexpanded storage space
  2. You may find faulty sectors on USB and SD Cards.
  3. There may be a virus or malware infection.
  4. The gadget is locked or secured by third-party software at the time of purchase.
  5.  Force-related harm

You may get an error notice while formatting an SD card, USB drive, or external hard disc that says “Windows was unable to complete formatting.” This may be quite inconvenient. But don’t be concerned. Begin by removing viruses from the storage device’s hard disc.

If the format error persists, use one of the tried-and-true methods listed below to quickly resolve the issue.

Solution 1: Make use of a simple third-party formatter

When confronted with the Windows was unable to finish the format SD card issue, downloading and using a specifically built hard drive formatting application is a fantastic option to consider.

Step 1:  Right-click the hard disc partition and choose the “Format” option from the pop-up menu that appears.

Step 2: Make your selections for the Partition title, File system, and Cluster size for the partition in the new window, then click “OK.”

Step 3: Format the hard drive partition on your computer.

Step 4: Click the “Execute Operation” button in the top-left corner of the screen, then click “Apply” to begin formatting the hard drive partition.

Windows Built-in Format Tool
Windows Built-in Format Tool

Because of the smaller cluster size, less disc space is wasted. The file allocation table (FAT) will grow in size in proportion to the size of the cluster that is used. The greater the size of the FAT partition, the slower the operating system is able to deal with the disc.

Additionally, EaseUS Partition Master offers a variety of additional one-stop partition and disc management solutions for your Windows PC, such as the following:

  • Partitions may be resized and moved (the Pro version enables you to transfer space from the D drive to the C drive), as well as created, deleted, and merged.
  • Copying and cloning a whole disc to another partition is even feasible, albeit the destination partition is smaller than the original partition.
  • Convert a logical partition to a primary partition or a primary partition to a logical partition, a FAT partition to an NTFS partition, an MBR disc to a GPT disc, or a GPT disc to an MBR partition.
  • Improve performance by migrating the operating system to solid-state drives. Windows\s Fix 2 for Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP is a free download.

Solution 2- Windows built-in Disk Management program

It enables you to do fundamental disc management operations such as formatting, creating, deleting, shrinking, and extending, among other things.

Please keep in mind that Windows Disk Management will not enable you to format an SD card that is bigger than 32 GB in size. If you want, you may utilize the EaseUS Windows partition organizer to do this.

Step 1-  Select “Manage” from the context menu of the computer icon in Windows 7 or This PC in Windows 8 or later. When the pop-up window appears, choose “Storage” > “Disk Management” from the right-hand pane.

Step 2- Identify the SD card or USB device that is displaying the “unable to finish the format problem.”

Step 3-  Select “Format” from the context menu of the right-clicked drive. If the device has a capacity of more than 4GB, the NTFS file system should be used; otherwise, the FAT32 file system should be used.

Windows Built-in Disk Management Tool
Windows Built-in Disk Management Tool

To resolve the issue, format the drive in Windows Disk Management.

Solution 3 –  Make use of Diskpart in the Command Prompt.

If you are unable to fix the Windows was unable to finish the formatting SD card problem using Windows Disk Management, the Diskpart formatting command may be able to assist you in completing the format by following the instructions listed below.

This technique is appropriate for people who are familiar with computers but do not have extensive expertise. Using an automated hard disc formatting application is recommended for computer beginners to prevent data loss as a result of mistakes during the formatting process.

Step 1: Right-click on the Windows icon, enter the command prompt in the Search box, and then right-click on Command Prompt and choose “Run as administrator” from the context menu.

Step 2: To find the DiskPart.exe command in the Command Prompt, type “disc” and hit the Enter key.

Step 3: Press Enter each time you enter one of the command lines

Step 4: When DiskPart indicates that it has successfully formatted the disc, type exit and press Enter to quit the software.

Also Read:- How to Format Pendrive using CMD

Solution 4 – Disable the write protection on the drive.

Write protection, as the name implies, stops any system from writing new data to a hard disc or another storage device. This is most often caused by a physical switch on the drive itself, which is particularly prevalent with SD cards. Verify that no sliders or switches are set to the locked or read-only positions on your hard disc by checking it out.

To help guarantee your data’s security, once you’ve finished this step, make sure any write-protect tab that may be present on your disc is removed. To accomplish this, hit Win + R to bring up the Run dialogue box, and then type diskpart into the box. After you confirm the UAC prompt that displays, you will be presented with a Command Prompt interface.

At this point, type list disc and press Enter. If your detachable drive is large enough, you should be able to tell which one it is from the list of discs that appears. To make modifications to the correct device, type chooses disc X into the command line.

Once you’ve received confirmation that you’ve chosen the correct disc, type the characteristics disc into the search box to learn more about it. The status light will show whether the disc is now read-only.


You have three options for resolving the Windows was unable to finish the format SD card problem-  use the EaseUS formatting application, Windows Disk Management, or the Command Prompt.

It is strongly recommended that you use EaseUS Partition Master if the Windows Disk Management does not allow you to format your SD card drive partition that is larger than 32GB to FAT32 format and you do not know how to use the command line to format your SD card drive partition.

It is capable of much more in terms of disc partition organization, allowing you to make the most of your machine.