When you try to format an external hard drive, SD card, USB flash drive or pen drive within Windows File Explorer, there is a small chance that you will receive an error message:
The format did not complete successfully.
If the disk that you are having problem formatting is shown as "RAW Format" in Disk Management, it means that the file system is corrupted or Windows does not support such filesystem. Some data might store in the partition table. If saving data is not the case, this problem can be easily fixed.
Microsoft Windows OS supported file systems: FAT (FAT32, FAT16), NTFS, exFAT, and ReFS (only usable in Windows Server 2012/Windows 8 and later versions of Windows OS).
Virus affection or bad sectors can also lead to the error disk format did not complete successfully.
Check bad sectors
1. Press Windows + R and type “cmd” in the Run window to open an elevated command prompt.
2. Type the command “chkdsk /f [drive letter]:” For example, if you are unable to format H: drive, then you should type in “chkdsk H: /f”
This method will delete the partition that you are unable to format successfully. Make sure there are no valuable data in there before following the steps below:
1. Press Windows + R and type “diskmgmt.msc” in the Run box to open Disk Management.
2. Right-click on the partition that fails to format and select “Delete Volume”. After that, the partition will become unallocated space.
3. Right click on that Unallocated Space and select “New Simple Volume”. You can just accept the default values if you do not have other preference. Since quick format did not work well, this time you can do a full format.
A full format will take much longer as it will test the entire disk surface. Besides Disk Management, you can also use DiskPart.exe to delete partition and remake the partition. This process will likely fix corrupted bits and allows you to complete the format.
Wipe the entire drive
If you cannot delete the partition with Disk Management or DiskPart.exe, which is a rare case, you can use third party free partition software like AOMEI Partition Assistant to wipe out the entire data disk. This also works for SD memory card or pen drive. If you need to delete or wipe system hard drive, you need to upgrade it to Professional version.
1. Download and run this free software.
2. Right click on the beginning of the disk and select “Wipe Hard Drive”. Click “Ok” in a pop up window to confirm the operation.
3. Click on the unallocated space to Create Partition. You can leave the default settings.
4. Click “Apply” to apply all these operations.
If you still met the error the format did not complete successfully, it may suggest that the disk is physically damaged. You can run a disk surface test to see how bad it is damaged.