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Want to format the USB flash drive but receive the notification that Windows can not format the disk? Possible reasons and related solution are provided here to help you solve this problem.

What is USB Flash Drive format?

Format USB flash drive can help to improve the data storage and files access by organizing the cluster and allocation unit size. However, this behavior will also erase all data inside the disk.
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How to Solve USB Flash Drive Format Failure?


1. Some USB flash drive has a write protection switch. If the switch is turned on, it can not delete files form the USB flash drive or is unable to format flash drive.
pendrive write protect switch
2. Virus infection, not thoroughly virus detection or damaged file which is caused by virus could also lead to USB disk format failure.

3. The USB flash drive is under write protection. As a result, users are unable to format the flash drive.

4. The quality of the USB disk is poor or the USB flash drive is damaged.

5. The lifespan of the USB flash comes to the end. Or the chip or circuit board gets damaged. As a result, users are unable to format the flash drive.

windows can not fomat usb flash drive
The storage chip of the USB flash drive has 3 different types. They are SLC, MLC and TLC.

The lifespan of SLC is the longest and the speed of data writing/reading is the best. However, the price of SLC is much higher than the other 2 storage chips. However, the lifespan of TLC is the poorest one whose write cycles is just about 500 times. Besides, the read/write speed is the worst one among the 3 storage chips.

Once the write cycle has reached the limitation of the storage chip, the USB flash drive will be turned into self-protection mode which just allow users to get access the files inside but not allow to save new files.

Want to get more about the storage chips, please refer to Differences Among SSD NAND Flash Memory: SLC/MLC/TLC.


Solution 1: Format USB Flash Drive with Registry Editor

Step 1: Press Win + R to open Run window.Enter “regedit” in the pop up window and press “Enter”.
enter regedit in run
Step 2: Please find Control with the following path: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Control] or [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control]
find control item
Step 3:Find the [StorageDevicePolicies] item under Control. If you can find it, please check the value of [WriteProtect] on the right side. And change the value to be 0 while the base choose hexadecimal. Then please save the settings.
set the value of the write protect
Step 4: If you can not find [StorageDevicePolicies] item under Control, please create one new item and name it to be [StorageDevicePolicies]. Then please create a new value which is named to be [WriteProtect] and set its value to be DWORD(32 bits) if the system of your computer is 32 Bits.
add new value
Step 5: Double-click [WriteProtect] and change its value to be 0. Make sure the base is hexadecimal. Save the settings.
set the value of the write protect
Disconnect the USB flash drive from computer and connect it again. Then please format the USB flash drive directly.

Method 2: Forcibly Format the USB Flash Drive with CMD

Step 1: Type Command Prompt in the search. Right-click CMD and choose “Run as administrator” in the menu.
run cmd
Step 2: Type [Format F:/x] in the pop up CMD windows. And press Enter to process the command.

Note: F here means the label of the USB flash drive we want to format.

format disk with cmd

Method 3: Format USB Flash Drive with Third-party Software – Renee Becca

Step 1: Download and install Renee Becca in your computer.
Download Renee Undeleter Windows Version
Step 2: Launch Renee Becca. Click “Tools” and then “Disk/Partition Eraser”.
select tools in Renee Becca
Step 3: Choose the target USB flash drive you want to format and click “Clean”. Then the format will be processed.
select targe USB flash drive to format
After cleaning the data inside the USB flash drive, it can be format as usual.
format disk in computer
Besides storage devices formatting, Renee Becca provides other functions like data backup, data restore, system migration, disk clone, etc.