'The drive is not formatted, do you want to format it now' - 6 Fixes

The scenario: Disk Drive or usb drive Turns to RAW and said the disk in drive is not formatted. It not only happened to pendrive, usb disk, hard disk partition, but also memory card when it was damaged.

not formattedUSB/HD reported 'The disk in drive * is not formatted'

The problem: The drive is not readable or accessible, it is no longer working as normal, with the notice disk drive needs to be formatted. The disk not formatted error usually appears when you attempt to open a disk drive that changed to RAW file system and its capacity says 0 bytes space.

raw driveUSB/HD reported 'The disk in drive * is not formatted'

Solution: Recover data from corrupted drive/card, and then format it to regenerate it new.

Video - usb stick or hard disk raw file system recovery without data loss

recommendAlso read: how to repair raw disk

This article shares contents including:

Disk Drive Not Formatted Symptoms

When any disk like hard drive, portable hard drive, pen stick, USB thumb drive has not formatted error, the error message usually shows:

"The disk in drive * is not formatted, do you want to format it now?"

dis not formattedDisk drive not formatted error in Windows XP

disk drive needs to formatDisk Drive Not Formatted Error in Windows 11/10/8/7

Shall I format drive when it has "The drive is not formatted" error

Simply say, you can click Yes button to confirm the format when you receive the notice says disk not formatted if you do not need to recover any data from the drive. On the contrary, you should click No button and ignore the error message if you want to recover even one single file from the disk drive.

6 Ways to fix disk error 'The disk in disk is not formatted'

Fix #1: Recover Data before Formatting Device

(Please skip to solution step2 if you have no important data on the disk drive)

It is very important to get back all data at first from the inaccessible device when it reports not formatted error alert.

Data Recovery from Disk Drive That Needs to Be Formatted

It does not matter it is an internal/external hard drive, digital camera SD card, flash card, CF card, or flash drive, pen drive, you can follow the following steps to recover data from the media that wants to be formatted:

Video Tutorial: how to rescue your data before format

download data recovery software

Step1. Download and install the tool you will see a screen with many options of recovery. You can select a recovery module to begin data recovery.

recover lost data

Step2. Select the drive which has not formatted error and let the program to scan data inside.
wait while scanning lost data

Step3. Take a preview of some files and select those needed files to recover (Save the recovered data to a different drive).
preview lost files

Credit - Recovery from WD Disk that Warns to Be Formatted

recover data after format

Fix #2: Repair hard drive/usb external not formatted without formatting by using error-checking

After data were rescued from the damaged hard disk, here is a way that could let you repair damaged not formatted disk without formatting by the following free way to repair damaged hd.

Video - How to repair disk not formatted without formatting

This PC -> USB/HD, right click -> Properties

Right click usb drive propertiesRight click device and open its properties

Click 'Check' in the coming up window, and then confirm the repairing.

Repair no media usb by error checkingRepair disk drive not formatted error in Windows 11/10/8/7 with Error Checking

Fix #3: Repair disk not formatted to ntfs/fat32 without formatting

Video Tutorial: How to fix raw disk drive without formatting

Fix #4: Repair disk/usb external not formatted with cmd

chkdsk /f/r i: (you need to replace i with your removable disk or hard disk drive letter)


Video Guide - how to repair not formatted hard drive using chkdsk (the video shows for an sd card, it works the same for your damaged hard drive that needs to be formatted)

Fix #5: Format disk with disk management

It could fix the raw disk/usb fast if you format it under disk management.

How to access disk management -> This PC -> Manage -> Disk Management, and then click on disk management to load your media information.

Reinstall drive step 2 Format drive in disk management

Fix #6: Delete disk in Disk Management by delete volume, and then create new volume for disk

Note: please recover its inside data before the deleting volume since it would remove all data on the drive. Deleting volume and then creating new volume for this disk that needs to be formatted is a fast way to get the error removed.

Reinstall drive step 2 Delete drive in disk management

Reinstall drive step 2 Create sd card partition in disk management

FAQ - Unable to Format Disk Drive

Whether you format an internal hard disk whether it is Samsung, Seagate, WD, Kingston, etc or a removable disk like pen drive, portable hard drive, USB, memory card, microSD, miniSD, XD, CF or memory stick, the error message shows the same "Windows was unable to complete the format".

windows is unable to complete the format

==>> Please refer to this article for reasons and solutions: Windows won't complete the format

The Disk Drive Is Not Formatted Do You Want to Format It Now - Windows XP

This error message usually shows on Windows XP when you try to open an unformatted internal hard drive or external hard drive. Windows XP is a Microsoft operating system which has been used by many PC users, so lots of people have received the same error message more or less.

dis not formatted

You Need to Format Disk in Drive before You Can Use It - Windows 10/7

Along with the development of Microsoft operating system, the disk drive not formatted error message began to show "You need to format disk in drive before you can use it" on Windows. Although the alert message shows different from Windows XP, it has the same meaning, namely you have no chance to access the drive unless you format it.

disk drive needs to format

When you encountered the notice says your disk is not formatted, we have solutions for you no matter you did confirm to perform the format, or still keep it RAW drive(RAW file system). The key point is to avoid overwriting the disk drive which contains your data. In other words, even if you have mistakenly formatted the disk drive when it asks to reformat, you still have chance to perform data recovery before writing new data to the drive. (Anyway, it is highly recommended not to format the disk in case of unexpected overwriting or problem, so stop using the disk drive if you still haven't reformatted it!)

>> Download the data recovery utility to get your lost data from any device including SD, XD, CF, micro SD, pen drive, external HDD, flash drive, etc. It is simple and easy to use. You can take your files back. Try Now!

Related Resource

Disk Drive Not Formatted vs. RAW File System

You will receive the not formatted error message when drive is in RAW format or other storage media like SD memory card, USB drive, portable hard drive turns to RAW.

Here are some users encountering the same problem all related with this not formatted issue. Let's take a look at the cases:


HDD in question: External 160GB firewire drive from Maxtor.
O/S: Windows 2000 Advanced Server

Windows stopped recognizing the data on the disk suddenly while I was trying to fix a sound card resource conflict issue. Prior to this, I could access the drive and the data without any issues. At present, when I try to access the disk/drive, I get the message "Disk in drive E: is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?". Could this be a file system driver issue? Because the file system is RAW now. If yes, where can I get the driver from? I think, the drive has FAT32 file system before as the external drives come preformatted under FAT32 and I don't remember changing it. The data on the disk is really important! Please help!

Case 2 - Another same problem:

Using XP

Two weeks ago, I used my D drive to backup the files and "My Document" placed in C drive. Every week or so, I would backup all files from My Documents on C drive to My Documents on the D drive. Today trying to do the same but got an error message telling me The disk in drive is not formatted and ask for a format. Icannot access the files and my backed up My Document files in D drive. Should I just say yes to format it and not worry about it?

Resolution: The two cases are all related with format problem, you need to find a recovery utility like iCare Data Recovery Pro which can help you rescue your files from the RAW drive(file system), or even formatted drive. Do not write any new data into the drive before the recovery. The recovery tutorial is listed above to guide you through the recovery process.

Also read: "You need to format disk in drive * before you can use it"

Last updated on Nov 28, 2023

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