Due to some reasons, a USB drive can become unformattable and unusable. This is rather troublesome. Where, here is a fix tutorial for you. In this post, MiniTool offers you some methods to fix an unformattable and unusable USB drive.

What makes a USB drive unformattable and unusable? There are several possible reasons. For instance, factors like physical damage, broken USB ports & cables, file system corruption, incompatible drivers, or malware infections can lead to USB unformattable and unusable.

Based on these reasons, this post provides some fixes for you to repair the unformattable and unusable USB.

Fix 1: Check the USB Port and Cable

The first way you should try is to check the USB port and cable for issues. You can identify if they are faulty by plugging the USB drive into a different USB port on the computer or using a different USB cable to connect.

If the USB flash drive works normally in another port or with a different cable, it means that there’s an issue with the original port or cable. In this case, simply try a different USB port or cable to solve the issue. However, if the USB is still unformattable and unusable, you should try other fixes in this post to address it.

You should also check your USB drive for physical damage like bent connectors or cracks. Once you find any physical damage, send it to a professional repair store or buy a new one from the market.

Related article: Top 3 Fixes for Solving USB 3.0 Ports Not Working Issue

Fix 2: Check If the USB Is Write Protected

If the USB drive is write-protected, you can’t make any changes. A simple way to know if the USB drive is write-protected is to check if the switch on the device is in the locked position.

Alternatively, you can also learn if the USB is write-protected by plugging it into a PC and trying to copy or change a file & folder, and the message “The disk is write-protected. Remove this write-protection or use another disk” appears.

After confirming that the USB is write-protected, you should remove write protection by sliding the tiny switch or slider on the side of the USB drive to the unlocked position. After that, try formatting the USB drive again to see if the unformattable USB can be formatted successfully.

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Fix 3: Run Disk Check

You can also run Disk Check to fix an unformattable and unusable USB drive on Windows PCs. As you know, Disk Check is an embedded utility in Windows that allows you to detect and fix hard drive issues by executing command lines. Simply follow these steps to repair the unformattable and unusable USB drive via Disk Check.

Step 1: Plug the unformattable or unusable flash drive into your PC.

Step 2: Open File Explorer, click This PC in the left panel, and then locate the USB drive on the right side of the window.

Step 3: Right-click on the USB and choose Properties in the context menu.

open Properties of the USB

Step 4: In the Properties window, click the Tools tab and tap the Check button under Error checking.

click the Check button

Step 5: In the next window, click Scan and repair drive and then follow on-screen instructions to complete the operation.

hit Scan and repair drive
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Fix 4: Wipe the USB and Reallocate It

A thorough way to fix an unformattable and unusable USB drive is to wipe it and then reallocate it from scratch. There are two ways to do that. You can either use Diskpart or MiniTool Partition Wizard to conduct the operation.

Option 1: Use Diskpart

Diskpart is a command-line disk partitioning utility available in ReactOS, Windows 2000, and later Microsoft systems. It enables you to perform various tasks related to storage devices by running command lines. For instance, it allows you to create/extend/shrink/format/delete partitions, assign drive letters, clean disks, etc.

Here, you can wipe and reallocate the unformattable or unusable USB drive via Diskpart using the steps below.

Step 1: Connect the faulty USB drive to your PC.

Step 2: Type cmd in the search box and then click Run as administrator under the displayed Command Prompt. If the User Account Control window appears, click Yes to continue.

Step 3: In the Command Prompt window, type the following commands and hit Enter after each.

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk 2 (you can replace 2 with the exact USB drive number)
  • clean
  • create partition primary
  • format fs=ntfs quick
  • assign letter=k (you can replace k with other available drive letters)
view the whole process

Step 4: Once the process ends, exit Command Prompt. Then check if the USB is usable.

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Option 2: Use MiniTool Partition Wizard

MiniTool Partition Wizard is third-party partition managing software for Windows PCs. Compared with Diskpart, it boasts more features. In addition to basic partition managing features, it also contains advanced functions like disk benchmark, space analyzer, data recovery, migration OS to SSD/HDD, hard drive clone, etc.

You can download and install this free partition manager and then use it to wipe and reallocate the unformattable USB drive.

MiniTool Partition Wizard FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 1: Insert the unformattable USB drive into the computer and launch MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Step 2: In the main interface of the software, right-click the USB drive and select Wipe Disk in the context menu. Alternatively, highlight the USB drive and click Wipe Disk under Clean Disk in the left panel.

choose Wipe Disk

Step 3: In the pop-up window, select a wiping method from the given options and then click OK to save changes.

The more time required, the higher the security level.
select a wiping method

Step 4: Right-click the unallocated space of the USB and hit the Create option.

create partition on unallocated space

Step 5: In the Create New Partition window, configure parameters such as partition label, file system, partition type, drive letter, and cluster size based on your demands. Then click OK > Apply to carry out the pending operations.

configure settings and execute the operation

Now, check whether the unusable flash drive can work properly.

Also read: Micro SD Card Shows 0 Bytes: Troubleshooting and Data Recovery

Fix 5: Utilize Professional USB Repair Tools

You can also make use of professional third-party USB repair tools to repair an unformattable and unusable USB drive. In this section, some reliable USB repair utilities are introduced.

#1: FormatUSB

As an expertized USB repair tool, the FormatUSB utility has helped solve errors like “the disk is write-protected”, “can’t format USB drive”, and “USB drive detected but not accessible”. With a simple interface, it is user-friendly.

You can simply use FormatUSB without installing it on your PC. Simply download it from its official website and double-click the downloaded setup file to run the tool. Once you plug the USB into your PC, FormatUSB will automatically detect it. Tick the Quick Format and Check device for bad blocks options, and then click the Start button to begin the restoration.

start the operation

#2: MiniTool Partition Wizard

MiniTool Partition Wizard can be used as a USB repair tool. Its Surface Test and Check File System features help you check if your USB has bad sectors and file system errors. Besides, this multifunctional software also enables you to format the USB drive if necessary.

This software can also be used as a USB formatter, USB speed tester, and USB data recovery software.

Up to now, it has fixed errors including “USB drive not recognizing”, “there’s a problem with this drive USB drive”, “files copied to a USB drive disappear”, etc. You can get it installed on your PC and then apply it to fix unformattable USBs.

MiniTool Partition Wizard FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

MiniTool Partition Wizard is compatible with all editions of Windows 7/8/10/11 and Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019/2022, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues. In addition to USB drives, it can also manage devices like HDDs, SSDs, SD cards, TF cards, CF cards, etc.

Also read: How to Stop PC from Making Random USB Noises? 6 Ways

#3: HDD LLF Low Level Format

As its name indicates, HDD LLF Low Level Format can erase and low-level format a SATA, IDE, or SCSI SSD hard disk drive. It also works on SD, MMC, memory stick, and CompactFlash media. Storage devices from manufacturers including Maxtor, Hitachi, Seagate, Samsung, Toshiba, Western Digital, Fujitsu, IBM, Quantum, and almost any other not listed here.

This low-level formatting process will bypass the filesystem layer and erase all the data on the drive. After that, you will get a fresh start.

If you can’t format or use USB drive due to bad sectors or dodgy files, this tool is worth having a try. The supported OS of this tool includes Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7/8, and Windows Server 2003/2008/2008 R2.

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#4: HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool

HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool is built to format USB drives on the Windows PC. With a simple interface, it is easy to use. It helps format any problematic USB drive quickly. When you can’t format or use USB drive, try using it to format the device.

Apart from the above methods, you can also perform the following operations to fix an unusable USB drive.

Bonus Tip: Back up the USB Drive

To prevent data loss after the USB becomes unformattable and unusable, you should back up files on the USB drive to another drive periodically. There are several ways to back up USB data. A simple way is to copy and paste files on the USB drive to the destination.

If copy and paste not working or copying files takes too long, you can try other methods.

Alternatively, use a piece of professional USB backup software to complete the operation. MiniTool ShadowMaker is a good choice. It helps you back up USB data with ease. To be specific, you can clone the USB drive to another drive within a few clicks by using the Clone Disk feature of this software.

As a specialized backup tool, MiniTool ShadowMaker also enables you to backup and restore the system, back up/sync files, perform automatic backups, etc. You can download and install this software on your PC. Then utilize it to back up what you want to keep on the device.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

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This post summarizes the reasons and fixes for an unformattable and unusable USB drive. Once you can’t format or use USB drive, try the methods offered in this post to fix it. If you have any questions while using MiniTool Partition Wizard, contact us by sending an email to [email protected]. We will make a reply as soon as possible.

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