Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a USB flash drive, which I may have mucked up, so I used DISKPART's CLEAN to clean it up. I created a simple volume, and tried to format it. (This is all using Windows' disk management.) I was told The system cannot find the file specified.

So I tried using DISKPART (as an admin):

DISKPART> select volume 9

Volume 9 is the selected volume.

DISKPART> format recommended

DiskPart has encountered an error: The system cannot find the file specified.
See the System Event Log for more information.


As you can see, no luck.

When I plug the drive in, the computer makes a beep noise as though it has recognised something, but nothing appears in My Computer

How can I format the disk so I can use it again?

share|improve this question
is anything showing up in Device Manager? Try different usb port... – Logman Nov 24 '12 at 14:42
@Logman I tried a different port, formatting still failed. The device appears under Disk Drives in Device Manager (properties says it's working properly), but still nothing in My Computer, and no formatting – ACarter Nov 24 '12 at 15:06
try running CheckDisk? >chkdsk /r /f – Logman Nov 24 '12 at 20:17
In DiskPart do: 'SELECT VOLUME 6' then 'FORMAT RECOMMENDED', you format a volume, not a disk. – Peter Hahndorf Nov 24 '12 at 21:24
@PeterHahndorf you mean eventvwr. – joneshf Sep 20 '13 at 15:56
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Just wanted to add another possible reason/solution for this error message. Problem: I had previously used this USB drive as a Chromebook recovery image holder and Win8 was giving me errors trying to format it. XP formatted it ok and showed a drive letter when the USB drive was inserted while Win8 did not.

Solution: I ended up using the Chromebook Recovery utility to erase the USB drive again (even though it had been formatted a few times in Windows) and Win8 was then happy with it again.

share|improve this answer
It worked! Thankyou! – ACarter Apr 19 '15 at 12:52

In diskpart give a "SHOW DISK" "LIST DISK" to see which DISK the USB is.
Then give "SELECT DISK x" (x being the number of the USB drive as shown in the previous command.) Then do a "CLEAN".

Close diskpart. Open Windows DiskAdministrator GUI.
You should now see the USB disk as an EMPTY harddrive and be able to partition and format the USB disk as normal.

EDIT: I originally had the command LIST wrong as Matt pointed out in the comment.

share|improve this answer
This worked for me on Windows Server 2012R2. – Eris Aug 19 '14 at 18:06
Thanks, this worked a charm. Had to use LIST DISK instead of SHOW DISK on Windows 8.1 though. – Matthew Swain Dec 16 '14 at 22:16
@Matt It is LIST on all Windows versions. My mistake. Will edit answer. – Tonny Dec 18 '14 at 22:57
Want to confirm that this is worked in windows 10 too. Had to try few times, CLEAN command error with Access Denied at the first try. Thanks! – fudanchii Aug 3 '15 at 1:39

UNetbootin can create a bootable Live USB drive, or it can make a "frugal install" on your local hard disk if you don't have a USB drive. It loads distributions either by downloading a ISO (CD image) files for you, or by using an ISO file you've already downloaded.

Try using UNetbootin to format and create a live linux on your thumb drive directly. If this does not work, I would use UNetbootin to create a PartedMagic live cd/dvd/usb (device other than the one you are having troubles with) and boot to it and try to access the problem usb device and wipe it clean with Parted Magic.

share|improve this answer

I had this issue when I had a hard drive in a dock plugged into a SS USB Port. I changed to a standard USB port and worked like a charm. This was odd though because this only happened sometimes in the SS USB Port. But hope this helps!


share|improve this answer

I was unable to format a 32GB USB stick using tools from either Ubuntu, win8 disk manager or diskpart, after my son formatted it for a Linux Anaconda boot device. Fix was to use diskpart-list disk-select disk-delete partition override and finally CLEAN. This removed underlying attributes and I was able to create a new primary partition and format as NTFS again!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.