Fix: You Need to Format the Disk before You Can Use It

Users may meet this message when they use the external hard drive–“You Need to Format the Disk before You Can Use It”. It is a common problem for computer users. How to fix it? This article will introduce the exact solutions to this issue.

The external hard drive is indispensable to users, especially when they want to make a copy between computers and your important files like photos, videos, documents and so on. Besides, if users what to reinstall another Windows and they don’t want to delete the previous Windows system, the external hard drive is important now. However, when they use the external hard drive, it may ask you need to format the disk before you can use it.


For this problem, we need to know possible reason to avoid the incorrect operation of the external hard drive.

  • The file system is not recognized by Windows;
  • The external hard drive suddenly loses power when used to transfer files or other content;
  • The external hard drive is not properly pulled out or forced to pull out;
  • The external hard drive gets a virus attack;
  • The external hard drive has bad sectors in the.

Many users may format the external hard drive when the external hard drive needs to be formatted. In addition to formatting an external hard drive, is there any other way?

If users already try to reset the external hard drive to another USB port or another computer, and it still failed. Please try to check if the external disk is under attack by any virus. If this problem still exists, try CHKDSK to fix. Detail steps are here:

Click Run at the Start button;

Type CMD and enter into the CMD window;

Type chkdsk h:/f and press Enter (h is the drive letter where represent the external hard drive.)

It will start repairing corrupted files and click Yes if users want to save the files.

If the users receive this tip from CMD: the type of the file system is RAW, CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives. Users need to format the external drive, then they can enter it.

However, formatting will cause data loss. Therefore, before formatting the external hard drive, please get data recovery software to retrieve the important data from the damaged external hard drive. Here, I will use MiniTool Power Data Recovery as an example. The detailed steps are below:

Step 1: Download this tool from its official website and launch it. Users can see its four modules from the interface. Please select “This PC” and click the partition which represents the damaged external hard drive.

Step 2: Click Scan and the scan time depends on the amount of data. Alternatively, users can select the tools listed in the middle of the interface to filter out the specific files they want to recover, and saving scan time. When the scanning process finished, the result like this picture will be shown.

Step 3: select the files which users want to recover and click Save to a safe location.

When the files are recovered, users now can format the external hard drive. If the external hard disk is not seriously damaged, the user can continue to use it normally.

At the end of the article, the tutorial for the external hard drive needs to be formatted is introduced some tips for users to fix this problem. Hope it will help one of you.

Christopher is an editor likes to write articles about technology stories, troubleshooting tips, and software tutorials. She also enjoys giving readers suggestions on how to solve computer issues.