Restore Data from USB Pen Drive When Windows Is Unable To Format It

Issue: Whenever an attempt is made to format external pen drive a message appears as - “Windows was unable to complete the format”. The format operation cannot be completed successfully. This will either allow to copy, open or write files to/from USB media. In some cases, drive data appears to be inaccessible; not possible to perform any operations. It is one of a stuck-up situations.

Why USB drive is unable to format?

This happens often with flash drives, memory cards, smart media and other external storage media. The error - unable to format or cannot complete the format pops up because your drive file system must have turned into RAW and in turn it is not possible for your system to proceed with formatting the device. At this stage, your pen drive appears as RAW in Windows Disk Management Utility as well.

Causes behind this troublesome

There involve one or more unknown reasons for USB drives to become raw all of a sudden. Some major causes are:

  • Compatibility issues with device drivers or Windows OS
  • Impact of harmful viruses
  • Bad sectors on removable drive
  • USB drives are write-protected

Next step: When such situations arise, two options seem valid to proceed over

Option 1: Continue to format-

In this case, the intention is to format the flash drive. There is no requirement of any files stored on drive, the aim is to just format. Do so by opening Disk Management Utility and right-click on the pen drive that needs format. Pick a file system for the drive (NTFS) and then press on start. (This will entirely wipe out data on the device)

Another approach to format -open Windows command prompt by typing cmd in start search box. Note your disk volume name and type the same (volumes are named disk 1, disk 2…). In order to continue to format the external drive, give the command “format e:/fs:ntfs” – where e is the corresponding drive letter (E:) labelled in the system. This will format the drive to NTFS file system format.

Case 2: Recover data on drive and then format

If it is the other way, where backup of drive files is unavailable and data on USB drive is in an inaccessible condition then pay attention. Stop using pen drive further, as it could overwrite on existing data. Protect the drive data using Yodot Photo Recovery application.

Start recovering now:

#1. Install Yodot Photo Recovery program on a Windows PC

#2. Run the software and select type of recovery -> Lost Photo Recovery

#3. Make sure that your pen drive is connected to the system. Select that drive from where the files are to be extracted.

#4. Then mark the file types you want to restore and let the tool scan the device.

#5. After complete scan, data is displayed back for preview in Data View or File Type view panes

#6. Continue to save retrieved files onto some safe storage location

Some notable features of Yodot tool:

Yodot application encapsulates a rich-set of algorithms that fetches files from storage media devices at critical data loss scenarios. It proves to be helpful to get back data whenever CF card, MMC’s, memory stick and micro SD card is not reading in computer. It possesses a greater capability to retrieve USB data that is lost, deleted or unreadable. Some of its well-known features include

Timely recovery: Data retrieval is accomplished at a considerable time. A RAW search feature can be enable while looking for particular kind of file; making instant recovery.

File types: Extends support to all kinds of file formats of audio, video, images, text, animations etc. Thus assures recovery any kind of data on drives.

OS compatibility: Flexibly runs on all Windows operating system environments- Windows Vista, XP, 7, 8, 8.1,10, Windows Server (2003/2008) versions.

Things to remember:

  • Always maintain backup copies of sensitive data
  • Before format make sure that storage media doesn’t contain any vital files
  • Keep virus definitions up-to-date