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Windows XP Solutions


Windows was unable to complete the format.


While attempting to format a drive, Windows ran into a error that prevented the completion of the format operation.

  Sample Dialog  
Formatting screen shot
Dialog may appear differently depending on XP style options and where it occurs.
  Key Facts  
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  Windows was unable to complete the format. 

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Issued By

  Windows XP

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  Microsoft Corporation    
  Solutions and Fixes  
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Fix Data Corruption
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Data and/or file structures on the drive may be corrupt. Run the check disk program or other disk validation and repair utility on the drive. To do this:

  1. Open Explorer or My Computer (Press Windows+E).
  2. In the right pane, right-click on the drive you want to validate and select Properties.
  3. Select the Tools tab.
  4. Under Error-checking, click on "Check Now".

  5. In the next dialog, make sure the option "Automatically fix file system errors" is checked. If you want a more complete validation and repair check the option "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors" (although this takes considerably longer to complete).

  6. Click on Start.

Several software products that offer an extensive range of disk diagnostics includes Fix-It Utilities Professional and SystemSuite Professional. Other diagnostic products include Eurosoft's PC Check and Iolo's System Mechanic.

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  FaultWire Staff
Posted: 5-Oct-2008
Remake Volume
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Delete the existing volume (partition) and recreate it.  This will ERASE ALL DATA on the selected volume, so backup any data you wish to save first.

  1. Open the Run dialog by pressing the Windows key and R.  Type in: compmgmt.msc and press Ok.
  2. The Computer Management application will appear. In the left-pane, under Storage, select Disk Management.
  3. Next right-click on the volume you wish to replace and select Delete Volume (if a logical drive is selected, the option will be Delete Logical Drive). 
  4. When complete, right-click on the area marked "Unallocated" and select New Simple Volume (7/Vista) or New Partition (XP) and complete the wizard steps.

Note that you can't delete the C: root volume using the Computer Management tool (since this will erase all the Windows startup files as well). If you need to erase the C volume, you'll need to boot from a Windows boot CD/DVD and perform a similar set of operations, or jump to a DOS prompt and use FDISK to delete and create a new partition. FDISK does not format the drive, so you'll also need to use FORMAT after FDISK. If you have more than one partition be very careful with the drive letters so you don't format the wrong volume.

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  FaultWire Staff
Posted: 21-Oct-2009
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Last update: 02-Jan-2011 9:54 am