I have a USB disk that has gotten bollixed up and for the life of me, I can not reformat it and get back to square one.

I attempted to create an Acronis Survival Kit using a WD Elements 2TB USB disk. Acronis was reformatting the disk to make it bootable, but threw an error message and failed. It left the USB drive unusable; it did not show in Windows Explorer when unplugged and then plugged back in.

I attempted to use Disk Management to reformat it but had no success. I created a simple volume but the format failed:

"The volume was created successfully but it was not formatted. Retry the format using the format task."

Doing this also failed:

"Windows cannot format the volume because the volume is offline. Please try to online the volume by assigning a drive letter or path to the volume first."

I was able to assign a drive letter, but this got me nowhere; the format still failed because the volume was offline. This did get the disk to show in Windows Explorer, but it was not accessible.

These attempts took me to the limits of my expertise; I started using DOS back in the mid-80s but I've never dealt with this sort of issue before. I did also try to use DISKPART from the command line to see if I could make some progress (including attempting to online the disk), but without much experience with that tool, I had no success.

I'm hoping that this USB disk is salvageable and can be reformatted and brought back with a few simple steps that someone more knowledgeable can help me with.


You might try a third-party tool such as the free DiskGenius or MiniTool Partition Wizard to completely delete all partitions. Then create a single NTFS partition.

In DiskGenius,

  • Right click on the drive for each of the following.
  • Change Device State to ensure it is online, not read-only.
  • Delete All Partitions.
  • Quick Partition, probably choosing 1 partition, NTFS, of the full disk.

Optionally, you could try,

  • Verify Or Repair Bad Sectors, if there is any issue above.
  • Convert Boot Mode, to make it bootable.

DiskGenius context menu

Let me know if this resolves the issue.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks so much! I've spent several hours on this before asking for help here; DiskGenius and your guidance had the USB disk fixed in about 30 seconds! – Darryl Dec 27 '19 at 1:25
  • DiskGenius works perfectly, it will be my go-to tool for fixes! – Sharpless512 May 26 at 16:27

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