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What to do if format message appears when attaching an external hard drive?


Date: 01 Nov 2015   Posted By: Vandana     Group: Computers & Smart Devices    Category: Accessories   

About 4-5 days ago, and also 2-3 times earlier, when I attached the external hard drive to my PC, it gave a message that it needs to be formatted. What does this message signify? Meaning, why exactly does it need to be formatted? Also, if I click on the 'format' button, won't all the data on it get completely erased?

Note that yesterday when I attached the external hard drive to save my work, this message did not come, which was quite strange! Please advise what should be done next time I do see the format message.


Keen to know about the "format" option that comes up when you connect your external hard drive to PC? Getting a format option every time you plug in a hard drive to your PC/ laptop? Keep following this thread to know the solution.


Author: Timmappa Kamat    02 Nov 2015      Member Level: Platinum     Points : 10  (Rs 10)    Voting Score: 0

There could be several reasons for this to happen. Obviously, you would not want to format the drive because you know there are many important files in it.
It can happen due to any of the following reasons, or some reasons beyond them -
1. Sudden power failures while transferring files to your external drive.

2. The drive was not ejected properly when it was used previously.

3. Virus or malware attack.

4. Bad sectors on the drive you are using.

Whatever be the reasons, you can try the following method to see if it works for you.

1. Click Start and then type Run.

2. Type cmd and click on OK.

3. Type chkdsk c:/f in the command prompt. Replace C with the corresponding letter for your external drive.

4. The errors on your drive will be fixed. If the programme does not run properly, restart and try again.

Please note that this is just one of the possible fixes. It may or may not work in your case.


Author: Mahesh    02 Nov 2015      Member Level: Diamond     Points : 10  (Rs 10)    Voting Score: 0

This message appears in two conditions :

1. Your device having interface issues with the respective operating system. Issues like bad sectors on drive, driver support, virus causing boot issues and drive removed in the middle of data transfer.

In such case it is better to connect it with other device and access the content. For example most of the USB 2.0 devices often show such error on the laptops or the OS which has now USB3 supported. This backward compatibility issues results in asking to format the drive.

2. Drive is malfunctioned and you either have to format the drive or simply throw it away. Assuming it is boot record being corrupted, you can format the drive. And if the boot record is not even allowing to properly format the drive in such case it is not usable anymore.

In future make sure that you're using safely remove hardware option that is meant for the drive. You can also use data transfer programs like TotalCopy to avoid any issues of you removing the drive in between the transfer causing the corruption.


Author: Manoj Kumar Lamba    04 Nov 2015      Member Level: Bronze     Points : 5  (Rs 5)    Voting Score: 0

whenever you buy new device from market and attach to your system it first asks for format. Also when there is some file corrupted or there are bad sectors on the device, or there are some malware present on the device then also system asks for formatting.
If you have important files saved on your external device and message appears for formatting, you can ignore it can continue your work as desired.


Author: Harish    13 Nov 2015      Member Level: Gold     Points : 6  (Rs 6)    Voting Score: 0

It's a common problem. Not only for external hard disk it can cause even with pen drives or any other external removable devices.

The problem may caused by the previous write/read operation. That is, you may tried to copy the files from external HDD to any other storage devices and your operation terminated before the completion,due to any other reason, such as copyright protection, modify/write protection, bad sectors etc..

So, that is why whenever you try to access the HDD you are getting the error message "Windows Need To Format Your Device".

Just Try An "Error Check" and see whether there is any bad sectors or corrupted files on the external Hard Disk.



Author: Anwesha    24 Nov 2015      Member Level: Diamond     Points : 6  (Rs 6)    Voting Score: 0

I too had this experience. Practically what I did is, if the message comes with an exit option, that is, having a "not now". "skip" or "ignore", I choose that. That also means if it asks that you want to format now, "yes" or "no", choose "no". If no option is there, then just close that tab, eject the device, restart the computer and try again.

Now if the message doesn't come, take the advantage, copy the entire data and save it somewhere else, preferably within the system for the time being and then "format" it yourself even if it doesn't ask this time.

Now store some not so important data for experiment and see what happens for two three times. If it behaves normally, you can continue using it, if it is behaving odd, then reject the device.





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