Fix: You need to format the disk in drive before you can use it (USB Storage Not Accessible)

If you receive the error “You need to format the disk in drive %driveletter name% before you can use it. Do you want to format it?” when you are trying to access a USB storage device (USB Hard drive, USB stick, etc.) then probably you have unplugged your USB device in improper way and without using the “Safely Remove Hardware” feature. 

By ejecting a USB storage device without using “Safely Remove”, the partition table of your USB device becomes corrupted and unreadable by Windows, so always use this feature when ejecting USB storage devices from your computer.

To easily resolve the “You need to format the disk in drive X” problem and access your data on the USB disk again, follow the instructions below:

You need to format the disk in drive

How to fix the “You need to format the disk in drive” (USB storage problem).

1. Note the drive letter in the error message window. e.g “You need to format the disk in drive G: before you can use it”. In this example the drive letter is “G:“.

2. Open an elevated command prompt:

  • Windows 8:
    • Right click on the lower left corner on your screen and select Command Prompt (Admin).


  • Windows 7, Vista or XP:
    • Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories.
    • Right-click at Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator



3. Type the following command by changing the %driveletter% with the drive letter of your USB device*: chkdsk %driveletter:% /r

* e.g. The drive letter is this example is the “G:”. So the command should be: chkdsk g: /r


4. If you asked to recover files ask Yes.

That’s all folks! Did it work for you?

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