When you plug an external hard drive into your computer and try to access the files on it, if you receive an error message – “You need to format the disk in drive before you can use it”, what should you do then? This article will give you a quick guide.
Many users may have ever encountered such a case that after they connect an external hard drive and try to open it, an error message – “You need to format the disk in drive before you can use it” pops up, which blocks them from accessing the files on the drive.
This error can be caused in many cases. For instance, the external drive suffers sudden power outages when it is working. Or the hard drive is virus infected or has bad sectors. Such an error, in some degree, means that your files may be lost or corrupted on the hard drive, like damaged PST file. Even so, you’d better not directly format the hard drive. Without any doubts, formatting disk should not be treated as the first solution. It’s advisable to take the following measures in order.
1. Plug the drive in other USB ports
There are chances that the USB port which you plug the external hard drive in is to blame. Perhaps the USB port is corrupted or something else occurs to it. Thus, you can plug the drive in other ports to check whether the error message is gone. If the error persists, turn to the next trick.
2. Restart your computer to try again
Of course, perhaps your computer is malfunctioning. So, apart from, as another chance, you can attempt to resolve this issue by restarting your computer. After rebooting, connect the drive to the computer again. If the issue still exists, move on to the next solution.
3. Connect the drive to another computer
So as to verify if your computer is the culprit, you can connect your external hard drive to another computer to see if the drive can work normally on another PC. If the drive can function well, you need to proceed to fix your computer instead of the drive.
4. Use CHKDSK to check the drive for logical issues
Furthermore, it is likely that the drive is suffering logical issues. In this situation, you need to scan and fix it. If you are working on Windows, you can simply use the inbuilt utility – CHKDSK. Search “cmd” in the “Start Menu” and run the “cmd” as administrator. In the popup command prompt window, type “chkdsk drive letter:/f”, such as “chkdsk h:/f” and press “Enter” key button. After this process, try to access your drive again. If you fail, go to the next solution.
5. Run anti-virus software to scan the drive
Another potential possibility is that the drive is virus infected. Therefore, you can run the antivirus software on your PC to scan the drive. If viruses get detected, kill them right away and retry to access the drive. If no virus is detected, you have no choice but to allow the error message’s suggestion – format the drive.
6. Format it and recover data from backups
After you follow its instruction to format the external drive, you have to continue data recovery. The best and most ideal case is that you have backed up your data recently. It means that you’re holding a current data backup. In this scenario, you can easily recover your data from backups.
7. Format it and use a third party tool to recover data
Nevertheless, if you have no such a data backup in hand, you have no alternative but to resort to a reputable and experienced data recovery tool. There are many such tools in today’s market. Thus, you have to be cautious, preventing trusting in those from unknown and unreliable sources.
Shirley Zhang is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including damaged sql and outlook repair software products. For more information visit www.datanumen.com