[Solved] You need to format the disk in drive before you can use it

By Camilla Mo in Technical Tips


If you are asked to format the disk when you plug in external device like USB flash drive, SD card, in case data lost , don’t format disk immediately. In some cases, the device still won’t work even it’s formatted.

The error message will appear like this. Note that the drive name will be different according to the device you are using. For instance, if your device is displayed as E: in your computer, the error message will be “You need to format the disk in drive E: before you can use it”.


When you meet this problem, try solutions here first. which are easy to follow. 

Solution 1: Try different USB ports 

Plug your device in another USB port and see if the problem persists. Try all USB ports that you have on your PC. 


Solution 2: Recover the disk using Windows DOS (Data won’t be lost.)

Follow these steps:

1. Press Win+R (Window key and R key) at the same time. A Run dialog box will appear. 
2. Type cmd in the run box and click OK button.  



Note that you are required to run this as administrator. If not, you would get prompt message. If you are not sure how to run as administrator, see How to Open Command Prompt as Administrator in Windows.

3. Type chkdsk <Your hard disk letter>: /f. Then press Enter key.

Your hard disk letter means the name of your hard disk shown in computer. For instance, if your hard disk is named as “G”, just type “chkdsk G: /f”. Following screen shot is for your reference. The process won’t finish until the verification is 100% completed. 




Solution 3: Run Antivirus software to scan your computer

The problem can be caused by virus. If you have installed Antivirus software, use it to scan your computer to detect the problem. 


Solution 4: Test the device on another computer

Plug the device to another computer. If the problem still persists, the device most probably is damaged. You might need to replace it with a new one.