How to fix: you need to format the disk before you can use it?

By Katrina | Posted to Data Recovery on September 25th, 2018 |

Windows can't access my backup drive. I get: "You need to format the disk in drive F: before you can use it. Do you want to format it now?" How to fix this message?

Like what happened above, you may meet error message:"You need to format the disk in drive G: before you can use it" on Windows 10/8.7 and "The disk in drive is not formatted" on Windows XP. When you use Windows XP check the drive in Disk Management, it is displayed as RAW. In properties, the drive shows as 0 bytes used space and free space.

You need to format disk in drive before you can use it

The not formatted error happens on all storage devices like SD card, WD external hard drive, hard drive, memory card, USB flash drive, pen drive, etc. In general, this error message is usually caused by sudden power outage, virus attack, bad sectors, improper ejection, etc. How to fix format disk error? Let's have a look.

Don't format the drive before recovering data

Facing such a situation, what should you do? Are you going to format the drive as told? Please don't do that when you didn't take out data rescue. It's true that only when you format the drive can you access the files on the drive. But after formatting, all files will be gone. Therefore, we recommend you to recover data from not formatted drive with free data recovery software.

Use free RAW data recovery software

iBoysoft Data Recovery is a free data recovery software that can recover data from not formatted drive, recover data from RAW drive, recover data from formatted drive, recover data from corrupted drive, inaccessible dive, recover data from deleted/lost partition on Window 10/8/7/XP and Windows Server 2019/2016/2012/2008/2003.

Follow the steps below to recover data from not formatted drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery:

Step 1. Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery on your computer.

Step 2. Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery, and select the not formatted drive.Recover data from not formatted drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery


Step 3. Click "Next" to search for all lost files on the drive.

Step 4. Preview the listed recoverable files, choose those you need, and click "Recover" button to restore files.

Step 5. Go over to ensure you have got all needed data back.

How to fix: you need to format the disk before you can use it?

Here are two feasible methods to fix "You need to format the disk before you can use it" error message.

Solution 1: Run CHKDSK to repair the disk

Step 1: Win + R keys to call out the Run box.

Step 2: Type "cmd" into the blank and hit Enter key.

Step 3: Type "chkdsk *:/f" into the Command Prompt window, you can replace the letter * with the drive letter. Press Enter key and it will start repairing damaged files.

Solution 2: Reformat the disk

If CHKDSK fails to repair your disk, you may receive the error message: "The type of the file system is RAW, CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives." This refers to serious corruption of your disk, the only method is to reformat the disk.

Step 1. Go to This PC or Disk Management, and right-click on the not formatted drive, select "Format".

Step 2. Setup the required information: file system, allocation unit size, volume label, format options (the default format option is Quick Format).

Step 3. Click "Start", the format operation will complete soon.


Katrina is a data recovery expert @iBoysoft who loves to help readers solve various data recovery problems.

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