Hard Drive Error "Do you want to reformat it ?"

My External Hard Drive Says It Needs to Be Formatted – Know Safe Solution



Symptoms of HDD Says Need to Format Problem

Obviously, the warning message is the main symptom of this error. Apart from this, if the data becomes inaccessible, or if the drive size becomes 0, or if the file system of external HDD becomes RAW, your hard drive may be in need of a format also.

What Causes Disk Format Error?

Various reasons are responsible for this problem. Here we will focus on some major causes of this problem.

  • The bad sectors or external hard drive corruption is the main cause of this problem.

  • Power surge during file transfer.

  • If the user has not removed hard disk safely from the system, next time the system may ask to format it.

  • Virus or malware on your system can make the system not recognizing the particular drive.

Solutions to Fix Format Your Hard Drive Problem

However, it is possible that this error a user could fix using some manual tricks. Can your external hard drive problem be resolved by these methods? Well, in order to know, you have to try these techniques.

Method 1: – Try Another System: The Windows asks to format the hard drive if it cannot recognize it. It is better to connect the disk with any other system to see if that system recognizes this HDD or not. Some time due to virus intrusion the system prompts error: you need to format the disk before you can use it.

Method 2: – Change Drive Letter: You can also assign a different letter to your external hard drive and reconnect it to your system. This may make your system recognize the external hard disk. In some situations, the system is unable to assign a unique drive letter and it results in the need to format the disk before use error.

Method 3: – Check with Anti-virus Programs: You can scan the entire system including the connected hard drive with reliable anti-virus software. Make sure to confirm that the anti-virus tool does not delete any files while fixing the problem. So, it is better to first save your important files and then moves to fix error: my external hard drive says it needs to be formatted.

Method 4: – Directly Connect to Motherboard: Often, external hard drive related issues arise from troubled cables. If you are a tech-savvy person, you should try to connect your external hard disk directly with your Motherboard. Thus you will know if the problem is there because of the faulty cable/ USB.

Method 5: – Change Cable and Port: The USB cable and USB port may be causing this warning message. Try changing the cable and connect by a new port to see if the matter is resolved. Sometimes, the system port is having some issue and it results in: you need to format disk error.

Method 6: – Use CHKDSK Command: This is an effective command to resolve hard drive formatting issues. In order to run this command, first, connect the hard disk to your system. Then,

  1. Press Win + R to get the run box and there type “cmd” to open the command prompt.

  2. Type chkdsk [drive letter]: /f in the command window and it will start checking the drive and fix it.

  3. When the process is done completely, restart your system. Reconnect the hard disk and see if the problem still persists.


At Mac. Infinity, we provide free troubleshooting for hard disc error before performing data recovery.

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