How to Fix the “Removable USB HDD is not Formatted” Error

In some cases, when you connect an external hard drive to your computer, Windows may start sending messages to the user that the HDD is not formatted and offer to format drive after reading the error information. In this situation, the user loses all access to the damaged drive, in addition to being able to see its size, and, of course, many question arises, “Is it possible to resolve the issue without losing data?”

How to Fix Error

The only way to begin to use the hard drive again – to format it, but before proceeding directly with the correction of the problem, let’s consider the causes of this error.

Format drive

Any media, be it a floppy drive a hard drive, must be formatted in order to prepare it for use with a specific file system. The error usually occurs when your drive was not prepared for use by the operating system installed on the computer or was corrupted, as a result of which the data cannot be read. Such a device is referred to as RAW – a file system format that is not readable for Windows and cannot be written to.

Volume file system not recognized

Now let’s look at ways to resolve the issue.

Repairing an external USB HDD

Method 1.
Try connecting an unformatted external hard drive to another computer

When it detects formatting errors on the external HDD, it is first recommended to check whether it will function when connected to a different USB port of the second device. Sometimes it can work.

  1. Connect the hard drive to another PC.
  2. Right-click on My Computer and check if the external HDD is displayed.
    • a) If it appears with data, try opening it and recover all data.
    • b) If no information is displayed on the external hard drive, follow method 2 to ensure that the problem is corrected.

Method 2.
Recover the data, and then format the external hard drive

Using this method, you will need to go through only 2 steps to correct the problem. It can be used to correct errors on any drives, like a memory card, internal HDD or USB-drive.

Top of the line product to repair broken partitions and recover missing information

Unfortunately, the Windows operating system does not have built-in data recovery utilities and you will have to use third-party software. Starus Partition Recovery is a professional program for working with information stored on storage media and repairing logically damaged partitions, which can be a useful tool for any PC user.

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Recover Deleted Files and Repair Corrupted Partitions

Recover Deleted Files and Repair Corrupted Partitions

1. Run Starus Partition Recovery. Find the drive, the information from which you need to return, and click on it with the left mouse button to launch the Analysis Wizard.
Choose a scan mode depending on your needs. A quick scan will make a superficial assessment of the information, and the Complete analysis is able to find the oldest data that you may even have already forgotten.

Starus Partition Recovery

2. The program will give you the opportunity to preview, in the right window of the interface, so that you can make sure which documents need to be restored. Once you have made your choice, select the files you need and, by clicking on any of them with the right mouse button, click Restore button.

Data recovery

Upon completion of data recovery from an external hard disk, you can safely proceed to its formatting. This will help you built-in Windows utility, which will return the file system of the device to a working state.

Open My Computer and right-click on the drive you want to format. Now click Format and start the process.
Upon completion of the above steps, your external HDD will again be usable.

Download Starus Partition Recovery and try out the program for fixing removable USB HDD absolutely free. All features, including previewing recovered files, are available in a trial version. The preview window allows you to make sure that a particular file is not damaged or overwritten and is subject to full recovery. To save the recovered files, you must purchase a license key and register the program.

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Ruslan Yermolov

Ruslan Yermolov

Data recovery expert - providing practical advice on how to use simple tools to solve complex data recovery and data protection problems on today's storage devices. Education - Manager Economist, and since 2010 the creator of Starus Recovery, developer of the eponymous website, which provides users with a wide range of software for digital information recovery.

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Read Our Frequent Questions

Such a notification is issued by the system explorer when opening any type of storage medium when it encounters a problem. It can either be a file system that Windows does not support. Or the RAW file system, meaning a critically damaged or missing file system.

If it is a file system that is not supported by Windows, you can install a driver to support that file system. But you need to know what file system is on the media. If it is unknown or missing, the files from the media must be extracted using a data recovery program.

You need to use the Starus Partition Recovery program and follow the steps described in this article.

If the media has a file system that is not supported by Windows, it will continue to work on operating systems that support that file system. If the media does not have a file system, it must be formatted after data recovery.

Comments (1)

  • Starus Recovery
    Starus Recovery 21.10.2019 12:07

    If you are familiar with other effective methods to fix the error Removable USB HDD is not formatted - share your experience in the comments!

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