How to Resolve ‘The drive is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?’ Error and Restore Data

The inception of digital cameras, even in the devices like mobile phones, has made it possible to click even the tiniest moments of our lives. These digital cameras (even the inbuilt cameras in phones) have the property to transfer the clicked photos to our computers and most of us avail this advantage as well. In order to keep the copy or sometimes free up space on our digital camera memory card, we transfer our invaluable photos to our computers. Moreover, some of us even send these photos to external data storage devices like external hard drive for keeping them safely.

Therefore, in order to prevent data loss, we generally do not keep our precious photos in our camera. However, observing these precautions too does not guarantee that your photos are completely safe and secure. This is because of the file system corruption on the data storage device. The corruption of data storage device like hard drive of your computer, external hard drive of your computer, or the memory card wherein your photos are stored, generally results in an error message. One such error message is:

“The drive is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?”

 After getting this error message, when you go to ‘Disk Management’, you will find that the affected disk is healthy, but it does not have any file system and drive letter. These kinds of drives are generally known as ‘RAW’ drives, which mean they are not prepared to be used with the Operating System (OS) or the data cannot be read due to the corruption. Since every disk needs to be formatted with a file system before use, due to the raw nature of the file system of this disk, you get this ‘drive not formatted’ error message.

A disk generally becomes RAW when it encounters severe virus infection or sudden power failure.  Some practical examples of getting the drive error are:

Mathew, a Windows 2000 user, encountered this error message suddenly when he was trying to fix the problem with the sound card of his system. Prior to getting this error message, he was able to access the drive with all its contents, but then he suddenly got the error message “Disk in drive E: is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?”. He lost the accessibility of all the data stored on this drive. Moreover, he lost the accessibility of this complete drive itself. In his problem, he states that before encountering this problem, the file system of this ‘E’ drive was FAT32, but now it is RAW. He needs some solution for this problem, as he uses this drive as a backup drive for storing his precious photos and videos.

Similar problem occurred with Eliza, who uses Windows XP:

Eliza says that for quite a long time, she has been using an external hard drive for backing up her invaluable image and video files. Few days back, when she attached her external drive to her computer for taking the backup of some recent photographs, she encountered an error stating that ‘the disk in drive D is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?’. After this error message, she lost the accessibility of the entire drive. Moreover, the drive letter along with the file system of the drive was not visible in disk management; instead, she could see a RAW drive.

What to Do When Come Across Such Issues:

 Since this error message creates inaccessibility of the drive, to conform the option to format your drive remains the only way to make your disk accessible. As we know formatting causes complete data loss, all your images, photos, videos, or all other data stored on your drive is deleted. In such situation, if you have the backup of your data, then you can easily overcome the loss. However, you should not worry even in the unavailability of the backup, as for such situations, use of professional software is recommended.

A reliable commercial image recovery tool recovers all deleted or formatted files from the drive. However, after performing the format, you should not use your drive until the recovery software does its job. This precaution is for avoiding the overwriting of formatted data else you will never be able to restore data.

The formatting of data storage drive does not cause data loss instantly; instead, it only reinstalls the file system and the data remains at its place physically intact. However, due to the changed file system, you are unable to find anything on your drive. Moreover, the newly installed file system marks all the space free to be reused, despite the fact that old data is there at its place. However, if you perform further format or saving of new files, then chances of overwriting of older ones are quite high. Since a formatted file is impossible to be recovered even by the most efficient recovery software, it is suggested to observe this precaution.

If you do not use your formatted drive and use professional software immediately, then you can easily recover your lost files and folders and undo the loss. Most of the tools of this category support the recovery of all kinds of multimedia files and are available separately for Windows and Mac users. However, the steps of recovery are almost the same for both the Operating Systems. Generally, all tools have three simple steps of recovery, which can be explained as:

  • Select: First, install the software on your computer, and then attach the affected external hard drive to this system. However, if the error is encountered with the hard drive of your computer itself, then download the software to any other computer and attach your computer’s hard drive to this system. After that, run the tool and select your affected data storage media. In case of data loss and the same error in memory cards, it is suggested to attach the memory card with the help of a card reader.
  • Scan: After you have started the software and selected your affected hard drive, click an option to start the scanning of this drive. Generally, all efficient tools of this category provide the preview of recoverable files after completion of the scanning process. With this preview, you can select or deselect the files for recovery.
  • Save: As you have selected the drive for recovery and chosen the files itself, click the option to recover them. After successful completion of the recovery process, select the option to save the recovered files. Some tools provide automatic option for the saving of recovered files; however, go for an appropriate option and save your recovered photos, videos, and other media files at your preferred location.

 You have to work wisely and obey all the precautions and proper steps for the recovery. Losing hope does not solve your problem; instead, opting for an appropriate solution according to your problem is recommended.

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