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I get this error message

Windows was not able to complete formatting

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closed as not a real question by KronoS, Canadian Luke, iglvzx, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, slhck Jun 22 '12 at 18:01

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Are you able to format the drive to FAT32 by chance? – Ramhound Jun 21 '12 at 19:39
Run the chkdsk command and see does it showing the partition as raw? – avirk Jun 21 '12 at 19:40
Are you formatting from the command line or from the GUI? What steps are you taking? How big of a flash drive is it? Are you using a special formatting tool or just a Windows tool? – Canadian Luke Jun 21 '12 at 20:09

How exactly are you trying to format it? Are you doing it as described below?

Depending on the type of drive it is, you can still do it directly through Windows, though you may have to fool Windows a bit. Pop into the Device Manager (Google for how in your OS), then expand the "Disk Drives". Look for your external device (flash drive, SD reader, USB hard drive, etc) and double-click it to bring up the Properties. Now click the Policies tab, and finally change the policy to "Better performance". This should allow you to format any external device as NTFS using the built in Windows format utility (GUI). Once formatted, you can change it back to "Quick removal", though make sure you don't rip out the drive when it's in use! This can cause file system corruption that usualy a checkdisk can fix, but to be safe, use the Safely Remove Hardware option.


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Please credit your source. – user3463 Jun 21 '12 at 21:37
@Randolph West: Thanks for reminding me. – Chris Harris Jun 21 '12 at 21:39

Try using diskpart to clean and then format it. To open diskpart open "Run" dialogue and type


Once diskpart is open you should find out which disk your USB is. To do that type

list disk

then it will show you a list of the disks on your computer. Let's say that your USB is disk 2

select disk 2

Now the disk is selected you can clean it


The next step is to create a new partition

create partition primary

And finally format the disk...

format fs=ntfs

This should work and when it is formatting it will look for errors.

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