Windows Was Unable to Format CF Card Fixes

CF card is a compact flash memory card, which is used in digital camera, PDAs and desktop / laptop. You may face various problems on your CF card, while Windows unable to complete format is one of the most common errors.

Video - how to fix unable to format memory card

Recover data from cf card free

Also read: unable to format memory card solution

Fix1 - Recovering Data from CF Card that Won't Format

Note: You may ignore this fix1 when there are no important files on your cf card.

iCare Data Recovery is a data recovery tool, which is able to recover various kinds of files from any brand of CF card when it has RAW file system and cannot be formatted.

Download cf card recovery free

Step1. Run the software and choose a proper scan mode.

select recovery mode

Step2. Choose the CF card and wait the software to scan for lost files.

wait while scanning

Step3. Preview found pictures and save all lost data to another drive.

preview found photo

You may take different measures to fix a CF card which is unable to be formatted by Windows, but the only way to get back all files from the card is to use a data recovery tool if there were no previous backup.

Fix2 - Format cf card with memory card formatters

Note: When the cf card is up to 12GB back in the year 2005, most of them use FAT/FAT32 file system while in recent years as the storage capacities increase to 512GB, the cf card is set to be exfat by manufacturers.

  • Less than 32GB, CF card -> FAT32/FAT
  • Over 32GB, CF card -> exfat

When Windows built-in format tools failed to format a cf card, you may use free 3rd party formatters to do the job.

Here are several format utilities such as

  1. USB Disk Storage Format Tool
  2. IM-Magic Partition Resizer
  3. Rufusformat with rufus
  4. SD Card Formatter

More info: 5 free memory card formatters, or 8 free format tools

Fix3 - Format cf card with the following cmd in Windows

Format the cf card with diskpart cmd in Windows PCs with the following combinations.

Firstly, you need to start cmd diskpart from: Start -> Run, and type 'Diskpart', and open with admin privileges, and then type the following commands in orders.

format cf with cmd

Also read: how to format memory card using cmd

Cannot format CF for Windows 11/10

"I have some problem to format my CF card for Windows 10. I have tried to format the CF card as FAT, but shows message unable to write boot after performing format. The same method works on another 32GB card." – A user from Microsoft forum

CF card is compatible with Windows PCs in normal situation, but it will report format failure on CF card if there is no proper driver that supports CF card being installed on the computer.

==> For more reasons and get solutions, please visit – Solution for Windows unable to format error

You may also encounter the same problem on other Windows operating system, here is a related page – CF card cannot be formatted on Windows 11/10/7

Why CF Card Turned RAW File System - Cannot Format

CF card RAW file system is a sign that you have to reformat the card in order to access it. When a CF card has RAW format error, you may meet some other related issue such as:
>> CF card is not formatted do you want to format it now?
>> Windows was unable to complete format the CF card
Simply say, Windows reports that it was unable to format CF card when the compact flash card is corrupted or damaged due to any reason.

Dead CF Card Can't Be Formatted by Windows

A dead CF card usually refers to the situation that the CF card freezes and stops working suddenly. This problem often occurs when you use your digital camera to view pictures, but the CF card has no response. Or it reports invalid storage media when you take photos with your camera. A CF card probably gets dead when you connect it to your computer to read or transfer files.

When you attempt to format a dead CF card, Windows OS may have no response and finally reports it was unable to complete the format.

==> How to recover dead SD card – This page shares useful information for dead SD card recovery and fixing, so you may visit it to get some information for dead CF card solution.

Windows Is Unable to Format Compact Flash Card to NTFS

You find that the format is not available when you want to format a RAW compact flash card to NTFS file system? If so, it is necessary for you to learn some information about the file systems of CF card.

A Compact Flash card is usually available in 3 types of file systems:

FAT12 – A CF card whose capacity is less than 16MB is usually formatted to FAT12 file system.
FAT16 – A CF card whose capacity is from 16MB to 2GB is usually formatted to FAT32 file system.
FAT32 – FAT32 file system is usually available for a CF card whose capacity is larger than 2GB.

Since Windows supports NTFS file system, probably there is option for NTFS file system when you format a CF card on Windows computer. However, finally, the format might fail and Windows reports it was unable to format error. Even if the format is completed finally, the CF card may be not recognized by your digital camera after being reformatted to NTFS file system.

==> To learn how to fix unrecognized CF card, you can visit – CF card is not recognized

Also read: How do I fix memory card unable to format

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