Warning: Formatting will erase all data on this disk [Fixed]

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • You came to the right place when getting the Warning: Formatting will erase all data on this disk.
  • If the Windows built-in repair tool makes no difference, the best move would be to use Ashampoo Win Optimizer to scan your drive.
  • For similar solutions, we encourage you to check out our Corrupted Drivers section too.
  • You may also head straight to this Windows 10 Errors Hub for professional guidance.
Formatting will erase all data on this disk

Warning: Formatting will erase all data on this disk is an error 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 can I fix this error?

1. Use Windows built-in repair 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.

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

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

2. Use the CHKDSK command

  1. The only way to run this tool is through the Command Prompt with 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.

This command-line utility was created specifically to check for many common drive errors, as well as check its integrity.

If you face any issues while using Check Disk (chkdsk), be sure to read this article dedicated to what to do if the command gets stuck.


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3. Use a repair tool to scan your drive

try out Ashampoo Win Optimizer

Since issues with storage devices are so common, there are companies that specifically create programs to solve them.

You may first check the website of the company that manufactured your storage media and see if they provide any repair tools or make no compromises from the start.

Ashampoo Win Optimizer isn’t related to drives only. It’s like a Swiss army knife containing many tools to enhance your PC performance.

To be more precise, this tune-up utility can help you make your computer more efficient by deleting junk files, fixing Windows errors, or measuring the read and write performance of your hard disks.

Hopefully, it will help you access your drive again. Give this program a go and see if it works for you.

Ashampoo Win Optimizer

Ashampoo Win Optimizer

Instead of formatting the storage media, Ashampoo Win Optimizer is an easy-to-use tune-up utility that will solve corrupted hard drives.
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4. Format the drive and then use recovery programs

format your drive

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 best recovery programs you can use. 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.

FAQ: Learn more about disk formatting/corrupted hard drives

  • Does formatting a disk erase data?

Quick formatting will delete the file system structure, while only a full format will erase the data on your partition. For more info, check out this article dedicated to disk formatting.

  • Does formatting a drive remove viruses?

Formatting the hard drive is indeed one way to go when it comes to getting rid of viruses. However, do note that there are quite a few great antivirus tools even for low-end PCs.

  • Can a corrupted hard drive be fixed?

Yes, it can. Even if getting a toast notification message regarding the loss of your data, you may use this guide on how to fix Warning: Formatting will erase all data on this disk.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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