By Emily / Last Updated October 12, 2019

Scenario

Hi, experts! Whenever I tried to open my USB flash drive on Windows computer, I will receive a prompt message saying “You need to format it before you can use it”. But when I attempt to format the drive, it returns the warning: There is no disk in drive X. Insert a disk. So the USB 0 bytes cannot be formatted.

I viewed the properties of the USB flash drive and found that it was 0 bytes in used space, 0 bytes in free space as well. What can I do to fix such problem? Any solution will be greatly appreciated.

Properties

What triggers USB showing 0 bytes?

Many Windows users have suffered from 0 bytes errors, such as USB flash drives showing 0 bytes in free/used space capacity, SD memory card 0 bytes free/used space, or external hard drives 0 bytes, etc. Why does this happen? In general, any of the following factors would trigger USB showing 0 bytes.

1. USB flash drive is corrupted due to virus intrusion, or the MBR gets damaged.

2. The formatting process failed for some reason.

3. There are some bad sectors on the flash drive.

4. There is some physical problem on the USB flash drive, such as circuits or boards fails to work.

5. Abrupt power failure, while the disk is writing data, would damage the file system.

6. Unplug the USB drive without ejecting or safely removing it.

Cannot format 0 bytes USB flash drive in Windows

When the USB flash drive or other device shows 0 bytes in used and free space, formatting it directly is considered as a guaranteed fix.

However, from the first section (Scenario), we can easily know that the formatting 0 bytes USB does not always go smoothly. And some common error messages might pop out and prevent you from formatting the drive successfully like “There is no disk in drive X. Insert a disk, and then try again”, “Windows was unable to complete the format” and more.

Two methods to format 0 bytes USB drive successfully

When Windows File Explorer or Disk Management tool fails to format USB drive that shows 0 bytes, you can turn to DiskPart.exe tool or a third-party formatting utility.

Note: because formatting will delete all data on the USB drive, try to recover important data from it if necessary. Recoverit Pro can be a perfect choice for that.

Method 1. Format 0 bytes USB drive via Diskpart

First of all, launch Diskpart tool: press "Win+R" on your keyboard, input cmd in the Run dialogue and hit on "Enter" to open Command Prompt window. And input "diskpart" and press Enter.

Then in the window, type the following commands in sequence and press Enter after each one.

  • list disk

  • select disk #

  • clean

  • create partition primary

  • format fs=ntfs quick

Format Drive Cmd

At last, wait for the process to be finished. When you see “DiskPart successfully formatted the volume”, you can execute “exit” command to leave this window.

Method 2. Format 0 bytes USB via a free partition manager

If you are not familiar with running complex commands, or it does not resolve “USB 0 bytes cannot format” issue, either, you can try a 3rd party software to fulfill the formatting task. Here we highly recommend AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.

It is a free yet powerful partition manager, which could forcefully format write-protected disk, corrupted hard drives. So, it is worth a shot. Below are steps to format 0 bytes USB drive in Windows 10.

Step 1. Download, install and run the freeware. Right-click the USB drive and select "Format Partition".

Format Partition

Step 2. Choose your desired file system (ex: NTFS), and click "OK".

File System

Step 3. Back to the main interface, click "Apply"->"Proceed" to start formatting the disk.

Apply

Extra tip: fix USB 0 bytes without formatting

Well, formatting is not the only way to repair USB drive/SD card/memory card that show 0 bytes in capacity. If you don’t want to take a risk of data loss during repairing 0 byte disks, try the following methods.

#1. Update the USB driver or reinstall the USB in Device Manager

Enter into Device Manager by selecting the "Start" button, typing "Device Manager", and select it from the list of results.

Expand the category with the hardware you want to update, then right-click it to select "Update Driver".

Or select Uninstall to uninstalled USB, then removed it from your computer and plugged back after a while.

#2. Scan and repair bad sectors on USB in Windows Explorer

If there are some bad sectors in your USB drive, it will probably show 0 bytes. So it is necessary to check bad sectors and repair them.

Open Windows File Explorer, right click the partition of USB drive and get Properties window, then click "Tool" >"Check now". Then tick both options in the pop-out window and click on "Start".

Scan Check USB

#3. Fix MBR for USB flash drive

If the MBR of USB flash drive is damaged, you can rebuild MBR via AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Rebuild Data Disk Mbr

The bottom line

All in all, when you meet “USB 0 bytes cannot format” problem on Windows 10/8/7, both Diskpart and AOMEI Partition Assistant are worth trying. On the whole, AOMEI Partition Assistant provides easier and more effective method.

Moreover, you can upgrade to Professional version to enjoy more advanced features, like recovering lost partitions, converting system disk between MBR and GPT without deleting any partitions/losing data, extending NTFS system partition without reboot in Windows 10/8/7.