Warning: Formatting will erase all data on this disk

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Managing Editor
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Warning formatting will erase all data on this disk

‘Warning: formatting will erase all data on this disk’ is a message you’ll receive when you try to open a USB or hard drive that has been corrupted. By default, Windows will prompt you to fix the issue by formatting the storage media, but this is not the only way to fix it.

Formatting will erase all data: How to quickly fix this error

Use the repair tool

Windows comes with a built-in repair tool that automatically scans the drive and repairs the issues. Follow these steps to use the tool:

  1. Right-click on the drive you want to repair and choose Properties from the drop-down menu.
  2. When the Properties window opens, go to the Tools tab.
  3. Click on the Check button. click on check
  4. Click on Scan and Repair and wait till the operation is finished.
  5. If you are prompted to repair your drive then click the repair button.

This is it. If at the end, the tool said it couldn’t find any errors, this means that this tool is unable to fix your issues and you should try another method.

Use the CHKDSK command

This command line utility was created specifically to check for many common drive errors, as well as check its integrity. This is how you use this tool:

  1. The only way to run this tool is through the Command Prompt with an administrator privilege. Search for cmd in Start and then hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter. Say Yes when prompted by the User Account Control.
  2. Run this command, “chkdsk [Drive Letter]: /f “. Replace [Drive Letter] with the letter of the drive you want the tool to check and repair. If the disk is in use, this tool will automatically notify you and tell you if you want to schedule a check on the next computer restart. Say yes if prompted and restart your computer.
  3. If the above command didn’t work, there’s a stronger command that removes bad sectors and tries to recover data. Run, “chkdsk [Drive Letter]: /R /X“. This will also unmount the drive if necessary before performing the check.

If you face any issues while using Check Disk (chkdsk), be sure to read this article that goes into detail on what to do if the command gets stuck to fix it.

Use a repair tool to scan your drive

Because issues with storage devices are so common, there are companies that specifically create programs to solve them. But before we mention any 3rd party programs, check the website of the company that manufactured your storage media and see if they provide any repair tools. Most well-known manufacturers have some sort of software, examples include Seagate and SanDisk. These are better than generic programs because they are specifically made for your hardware.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a new USB storage device, check out this article listing the best USB type-C SSDs that you can buy right now.

If you didn’t find anything on the manufacturer’s website, here we’ll provide a small list of programs you can use to repair your drives. Sadly, because every program is different, we won’t be able to provide detailed steps on how to use each one. You have to look at the program’s website to know more information.


TestDisk is a repair software that started out as a, “ recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again”, has evolved into a program that solves most of the logical errors in a drive. It’s free, open source, and supports all the major operating systems. The only potential complication when using this program is that it has no graphical user interface and you have to do everything using the command line.

EaseUS Partition Master

Partition Master is a disk management tool that also has some repairing capabilities. This is a shareware program with a free version that is somewhat limited and doesn’t support Windows Server. It is one of the most popular tools to manage your hard drives. The company behind it claims they have more than 30,000,000 users worldwide. Give this program a go and see if it works for you.
Partition Master

Glary Utilities 5

Glary Utilities is different from the other programs in this list in that it isn’t only a program that is related to drives. It’s like a swiss army knife containing many tools to help make your computer more efficient. This program offers a free and paid version. The paid version is faster and contains an additional 20 tools. Hopefully, it will help you access your drive again.

Format the drive and then use recovery programs

This is a non-conventional method, and you should only use it as a last resort. If you can’t access your drive or fix it in any way, then you don’t have a choice aside from formatting it. The good news is that there is a lot of recovery programs that will help you salvage the deleted and lost data.

We’ve already compiled a list of the ten best recovery programs you can use, which you can access here. You should be aware that no matter how good these programs are they are never capable of regaining all your lost data. Go on with this method only if you are OK with this.


You’ll often encounter the “Warning: formatting will erase all data on this disk” error message when you insert a corrupted or non-functioning drive into your computer.

In this article, we looked at the ways you could try to repair your drive using a program or formatting and recovering the data if repairs didn’t work. Tell us in the comments section about the ways you’ve dealt with this problem.