Format Error

Written by John Harris, Updated on October 10, 2023

Format errors are the errors caused by the broken system registry structures or due to missing system files. This is a serious sign of an unstable system that is typically caused by improper maintenance of the computer.

This type of problem occurs more frequently on removable devices such as SD memory card, USB thumb pen drive, external hard drive etc. It says you have to format the disk unless formatting is done you will not be allowed to access the data and sometimes it won't let you format by showing some errors. This kind of problem is generally called "format error".

Common Error messages

  • "Windows can't format this drive, Quit any disk utilities or other programs that are using this drive and try again formatting"
  • "The volume roxer(X) logical drive currently in use. To force format of this volume click yes”
  • Format error occurred at offset <sector>: 23"
  • Disk is not formatted. The disk in drive E is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?
  • the USB drive is not initialized

The above listed are the commonly found format errors, however all of these occur at different situations. Some while formatting the drive and other while trying to access the data on the drive. Sometimes, even if you does not open or use any programs or files on that drive you will receive these errors. In most situations, the drive will be the removable storage devices.

Possible reasons

Some of the reasons for these errors include:

  • The removable device connected to the computer is too old and can be corrupted as time goes on
  • Presence of bad sectors in the specific area of the disk that is required for a file system, e.g. for a boot sector or the FAT table sector. In such instances, Windows refuses to format the device since such a drive is not possible to use
  • Sometimes, system will not allow you to format the drive to the FAT file system and if it has been formatted to a file system which is not recognized by Windows. Such a drive should be reformatted to NTFS first, and then to the FAT file system.
  • Incompatibility issues in the drivers or BIOS might also to result in such an error. In most cases, the incompatibility problem only concerns the format procedure. Once the drive is formatted, it would work fine.
  • Your device’s file system is corrupt or crashed due to improper usage such as strong pulling out, unexpected PC shutdown in process of data writing.
  • These errors can occur due to any programs that are reading or writing data's in that drive
  • Severe virus infection to the drive or the system can make this error

Note: In case if you have formatted your SSD you can refer to this article to find out how to recover data from formatted SSD.

Solution for these errors

If Windows can't format this drive, and issues any error messages while formatting the drive then just quit the disk utilities or other programs that are using this drive and try again formatting. If you are prompted to format the drive, then you can solve the issue by force formatting. Hence just format the drive; if possible try to take the data backup. Formatting will remove all the files, if you want them back then just follow the mentioned link and recover files from formatted hard drive in few simple steps.


Even if you know how to format a drive>, following precautions that prevent format errors will be worth it in the long run. Here are a few precautions mentioned below-

  1. Avoid suddenly disconnecting removable drives.
  2. Format external drives before using with a systems.
  3. Ensure that your antivirus software is regularly updated.
  4. Take regular backups.
Complete Data Recovery Software

Why Choose Remo?

100% safeSecure

100% SatisfactionGuarantee

10 Million+Downloads

Free TechSupport

Live Chat24/7 Support