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External Hard Drive Not Formatted Error in Windows – Find All Possible Solutions

Published By Ashwani Tiwari
Aswin Vijayan
Approved By Aswin Vijayan
Published On February 14th, 2024
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading
Category Data recovery

The external hard drive plays a vital role when we need to copy large data files among different computers or backup important project data. These devices have a higher storage capacity compared to flash drives. Most users who use this device in the Windows operating system may encounter an external hard drive not formatted error in Windows 11, 10, 8, or 7. This issue occurs while plugging the external hard disk into a computer. The same error may also occur in different wordings, for example:

disk not formatted




In this technical guide, we are going to discuss the same issue in detail, along with its reasons. Apart from this, we will also disclose the techniques that can resolve the external hard disk not formatted error.

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What is an External Hard Drive Not Formatted Error?

If your system indicates that a drive is unformatted after connecting an external hard drive, then, it means the result of trying to read the partition table, master boot record, or other partition-level information on the drive. Also, it is acquiring something other than the expected information.

hard drive not formatted

In most cases, it is the result of the database on the disk being somehow overwritten or otherwise damaged. Apart from all this, there may be several other possible factors that can pop up the Seagate disk not formatted error message on your Windows system:

  • sudden power outage while using the external hard drive to transfer the information
  • The hard drive is pulled out improperly or forced to pull out instead of safely removing
  • The external hard drive faced a malicious virus attack and the file system gets corrupted
  • Presence of bad sectors on the external hard drive, damage due to the logical error

The problem starts when you have saved important files on this drive and do not have any replicas or backups of them.

Another issue that you may also notice is that while disconnecting the drive, it may show the pop-up message “You need to format the disk in drive F: before you can use it. Do you want to format it now?” Below are some simple hacks that can resolve the hard disk not formatted problem in Windows.

Techniques to Resolve External Hard Drive Not Formatted Error

No matter what the reasons behind the external hard disk not formatted error are, you can simply fix it with some appropriate solutions. The possible solution listed below simply performs the steps below. Or know steps to recover files from formatted disk.

Fix 1: Use CHKDSK Command to Fix External Hard Drive Not Formatting Error

CHKDSK is a powerful and handy inbuilt utility that comes with Windows OS. We can use it for checking and fixing the corruption on a drive. Below are the guidelines for how to fix an unformatted hard drive using the CHKDSK command:

  • Connect the external hard drive that is displaying an error on your computer.
  • Now, click Start and in the search box, type “cmd” and select it. Hit right-click and choose Run as administrator.
  • The Command Prompt window will open after this. Execute the following command in the command. window: “CHKDSK [driveletter] /r” Note: Here in [driveletter], type your drive letter.
  • The command will take some time to check and repair that disk. Wait until the process completes.
  • Now, navigate back to My Computer and check if you are able to access the information stored on your external hard drive.

Note: The CHKDSK command is ascriptive language command. Be careful while executing this command to resolve WD hard disk not formatted problem.

Fix 2. Plug-in External hard Disk on Another Machine

If you have another computer, plug the faulty external drive into it and check if it is properly recognized. If it is, then:

  • You have access to your database and now you can back it up.
  • The issue is with your computer and it needs to be addressed.

Fix 3. Verify External Enclosure to Fix External Hard Drive Not Formatted Error

A working USB interface improperly linked with the hard drive could display as an unformatted hard drive. Hence, recheck all of the assembly instructions and check if the drive is connected in the right way.

Note: If, after checking all the above solutions, the error is not fixed,. Then you have to format the hard disk. But beware that all files stored on the hard disk will be erased after formatting.

Recover Lost Files! Deleted Files! Formatted Files

If everything is connected and working properly but your drive still displays the status “unformatted,” then, this is the time to format the external hard disk. But it will result in data loss. So, to avoid data loss or get back lost files,

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Know the best solution to recover permanently deleted files from external hard disk. The complete, step-by-step guide is explained. If you have any issues related to data loss, feel free to contact our experts.

  1. First of all, Download the Hard disk Recovery tool
  2. Then, choose two options: Scan or Scan Formatted
  3. Next, View all recovered data files in software panel
  4. Finally, Save your data according to your needs

Final Words

As an external hard drive user, you probably may encounter an external hard drive not formatted error. In this technical page, we have tried to pull up all simple and cost-effective techniques to fix the Seagate, WD hard disk not formatted problem in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7. Simply perform the steps and fix the not formatted error.


Q: How do I fix my external hard drive that is not formatted?

You can fix your external hard drive that is not formatted with the help of the above-mentioned blog. Users can resolve their issues.

Q: Why is my external hard drive not formatting?

With the help of the above-described solutions, users can resolve their issues instantly without any hassle.