Fix: “You need to format the disk in drive before you can use it”

This can be quite a worrisome error message. Your Gigabytes of videos, documents, pictures, music etc are about to become history. Whatever you do, don’t format…yet!

Why is this happening to my storage device?

What has happened is that your storage device’s file system has been corrupted (changed to RAW). This might have been due to pulling it out without properly unmounting, accidental drop, malware etc.

While there are other approaches to fix this issue, an easy way is to extract the data then format the storage device once all important files have been accounted for.

Oops! I already formatted, what do I do now?

Well, you shouldn’t have. This guide still has you covered except that it’ll be more difficult to recover all your data.

How to fix “You need to format the disk in drive before you can use it”

Download MiniTool Power Data Recovery and install as instructed in the text file then follow the steps in the video below.

Video Transcript

In this video tutorial, I’ll be telling you what to do when your USB device; whether your memory card, your flash drive, your hard disk, whatever is asking you to format and you have some very important data which you can’t afford to lose. Now, I’m going to insert once flash drive having this issue so you see what I’m talking about. Now, once inserted, this disk is going to ask me to format, yes. You need to format the disk in drive D: before you can use it. Do you want to format it? Now, the last thing you want to do is to click Format disk so you just click cancel. Don’t format, that’s just going to make things more difficult alright? Now, when this happens its caused by a corruption in the file system. Your file system has been changed from whatever it was to RAW. Now, your data is still on the disk but your PC just can’t access it because of the file system change. What you’re going to do is to access it using a tool, extract your data, confirm that your data is intact then you can go ahead to format. I’m going to be using MiniTool Power Data Recovery to recover the data I have on this flash drive. This is a cracked version, I’ll link to it in the description below. If you can afford to buy the tool, I suggest you buy it and support the developers but just for those who can’t afford to pay for the tool, I’ll be using this crack as a demo alright? So, you go ahead and you launch the tool still with the flash drive connected. Mine is on drive D: don’t forget. Alright, so I have a list of all the drives connected to my PC. I’m looking for drive D. This is what I have here. Alright, so I select D and then click Scan and you wait for the scan to be completed. It can take a while. Alright, so this is done. What you just do is to expand the partition. Usually, you’re looking for the one with RAW and you could just select any file you wish to recover. I’ll just pick one for example. I want to recover just this pdf so I’ll select the pdf and then click save. If you want to recover an entire kind maybe this entire folder, you just tick the folder and you follow that same approach but I’ll just recover this pdf alone. Click Save and then select the location where you wish to save the pdf. Let’s just say Documents. Now you see its done so you can use it to recover all the files you need to recover and once you’re done recovering them and you’re sure all your important files are intact, you can then format the flash and copy the files back to the flash. That’s what to do when device, whether memory card, flash drive or hard disk is asking you to format it yet you can’t afford to do that because of the important information you have on it.