How to Fix Windows was Unable to Format SD Card

Many times, users face issues while using their external storage devices like SD cards, USB Pen Drives, Hard disks, etc. Due to these issues, they try to format the storage disks but are not able to do so and instead receive an error stating  “Windows was unable to complete the format”. This guide describes the best steps to resolve this error and fix Windows was unable to complete the format SD card and similar errors.

How to Fix Windows was unable to complete the format sd card

There are three expert-recommended methods to fix Windows Unable to complete the format on an SD card or USB pen drive. I have described all the methods below and you can choose anyone you think is easy, quick, and consumes less time and effort.

Method 1: Windows Disk Management

Microsoft has provided Windows users with a Disk Management utility that can perform some basic operations like disk formatting, and partition-related activities like Shrink, Extend, Delete and Create. Here are the steps to use this built-in tool:

Step 1: Select “Manage” from the context menu of the computer icon in Windows 7 or This PC in Windows 8/10/11. Go to “Storage” > “Disk Management” in the pop-up window’s right pane.

Step 2: Locate the SD card or USB device that is displaying an error message about being unable to complete the format. If the drive has any partitions, erase them all and you’ll have a single volume.

USB device

Step 3: Select “Format” from the “Right-Click” menu on the drive. If the device is greater than 4GB, use the NTFS file system; otherwise, use the FAT32 file system.

Method 2: Diskpart

Before Windows, Microsoft released MS-DOS which is a very powerful operating system in itself. It contains a disk format and partition utility known as Diskpart. However, MS-DOS does not have a graphical user interface and is hence difficult to operate. Here are the steps you need to follow to use Disk part on your PC.

Step 1: Right-click on a Windows icon, type command prompt in the Search box, right-click on Command Prompt, and choose “Run as administrator.”

Step 2: In the Command Prompt, type diskpart and press Enter.


Step 3: To quickly format a hard drive, but the command lines below into DiskPart and hit Enter each time.

  • list disk
  • select disk (number)
  • list volume
  • select volume (number)
  • format fs=ntfs quick (NTFS can be replaced with fat32)

Method 3: Use EaseUS Partition Master

EaseUS Partition Master

If you are not able to resolve “Windows was unable to complete the format on USB” via Windows default tools, then you must install a third-party tool known as EaseUS Partition Master.

One of the greatest partition applications for Windows users is EaseUS Partition Master. With just a few clicks, you can format a hard drive partition. You can choose NTFS, FAT32, EXT2, or EXT3 to format your SD card or USB device. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Select “Format” from the context menu when right-clicking the hard disc partition.


Step 2: In the new window, select the partition’s Partition label, File system, and Cluster size, then click “OK.”

Step 3: A warning message appears; click “OK” to proceed.

Step 4: In the top-left corner, click “Execute Operation,” then “Apply” to begin formatting the hard drive partition.

A smaller cluster size means less disc space is wasted. The file allocation table (FAT) will be larger the lower the cluster size is. EaseUS Partition Master offers other one-stop partition and disc management options for your Windows PC in addition to hard drive formatting, such as:

  • Create, delete, and merge partitions, as well as resize/move partitions
  • Even if the target partition is smaller than the source, you can copy and clone a whole disc to another.
  • Convert a logical partition to a primary partition, 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 disc.
  • To speed up Windows, migrate the operating system to a solid-state drive (SSD).

The Final Word On How to Fix Windows was Unable to Format SD Card/USB Drive

The EaseUS Partition Master is an amazing application that helps resolve all storage drive issues with ease. The built-in tools offered by Windows are great utilities but they are not easy to use and do not achieve 100% results at all times. Rather than discarding your USB flash disks and SD cards, you can use this application and give a new life to them and use it for more time.

FAQs –

How do I fix Windows that was unable to complete the format?

If you are facing issues “Windows was unable to complete the format” while attempting a normal format of your external storage disk then you can either use Windows inbuilt utilities like Disk Management or Diskpart. If you are still not able to resolve the issue then I suggest you opt for EaseUS Partition Master, a third-party tool, and fix this issue.

How do I fix a USB drive that won’t format?

When you receive “Windows was unable to complete the format” on USB error, then you need to use advanced disk partition and format tools like Windows Disk Management or a third-party tool like EaseUS Partition Master.

Why can I not format my SD card?

If you are facing issues while formatting your SD card then this means that there are system issues and a simple format will not be sufficient. In this case you are, recommended to use a third-party tool like EaseUS Partition Master.

What happens if you don’t format Your SD card?

With repeated in/out the transfer of your data, the SD card might develop performance issues and become slow to access. It would be recommended to format this disk to ensure it works fine. Try to format it in the simplest way possible and if you receive the error Windows was unable to complete the format on an SD card, then you might have to use a third-party tool like EaseUS Partition Master. Follow us on social media – FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

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