Sometimes the format command in Command Prompt may fail with the error: bad sectors were encountered during the format. Why does this issue happen and how to fix it? To get the answers, you can focus on this post. Here, MiniTool Partition Wizard explores the possible reasons and troubleshooting fixes for this issue.

Command Prompt in Windows 10/11 is a useful utility that allows you to execute various computer tasks with corresponding command lines. For instance, you can format a hard drive by using the Diskpart format command.

Unfortunately, when you are trying to format the drive with Command Prompt, you may randomly fail and receive an error message that says: xx bad sectors were encountered during the format.

Bad sectors in computing mean the disk sectors on a disk storage unit that is unreadable. To get more information about bad sectors, you can read this post: Bad Sector – the Place Where Data Can't Be Written Into.

What’s the reason for this annoying issue and how can you deal with it? If you have no clue, just keep reading to find the answers.

What Causes Bad Sectors Were Encountered During the Format

Many factors may result in the “bad sectors were encountered during the format” issue. Here, we summarize some of the most common reasons for this issue below:

  • Certain viruses attack your system or hard drive.
  • The hard drive you want to format is too old or low-quality.
  • The same drive is used in multiple devices.
  • You insert and eject the drive improperly.
  • A sudden system shutdown or power outage happens while using the drive.
  • The drive gets damaged physically.

Since we know the causes of the “bad sectors were encountered while formatting” issue, let’s get down to the methods for solving this issue.

Before the Fix: Recover Your Files to Avoid Data Loss

Before applying any repairs to erase the “bad sectors were encountered during the format” issue, you’d better restore the files on the problematic drive to prevent data loss. To do this, you can use a piece of data recovery software like MiniTool Partition Wizard.

It’s a powerful data recovery tool that enables you to scan and recover various types of files (like documents, images, videos, emails, etc.) from different storage media, such as internal hard drives, external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, and so on. Besides, it also supports recovering data from the Desktop, Recycle Bin, or specified folders.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to recover data by using MiniTool Partition Wizard.

MiniTool Partition Wizard only offers the Data Recovery feature in its Pro Platinum and higher editions. Therefore, make sure you get the proper edition if you want to access this feature.

Step 1: Download and install MiniTool Partition Wizard on your PC.

MiniTool Partition Wizard DemoClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 2: Launch this data recovery software to get into its main interface. Then select Data Recovery at the top toolbar.

Select Data Recovery

Step 3: In the next window, move your cursor to the target hard drive and then click Scan.

Scan the target hard drive

Step 4: After the process finishes, this software will show the scan result clearly. You can see all the files on the selected drive, including lost, deleted, and existing files.

Step 5: To avoid losing data, you should check all the needed files and click the Save button.

If you are not sure which file is important, you can select the uncertain one and click Preview to check it. This data recovery software allows you to preview 70 kinds of files no larger than 100MB.
Save the important files

Step 6: Choose a directory to save files and then click OK. It’s better to restore these files on a different drive. Otherwise, the data could be overwritten.

How to Fix When Bad Sectors Were Encountered During the Format

What if the drive format failed because bad sectors were encountered during the format? In this section, this post collects several possible methods to solve this format issue. You can have a try if you run into the same problem.

Before any complex operations, you can try to troubleshoot this issue with some simple tips first. For example, you can restart your PC and try reformatting the drive, perform a virus scan, make sure the drive only be used by the current PC, check your computer power, etc. If the issue persists, continue with the following methods.

Method 1: Check Your Hard Drive

When the “bad sectors were encountered during the format” issue occurs, you can use the CHKDSK utility to check your hard drive and fix the possible disk errors. To do this, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Press Windows and R keys simultaneously to open the Run dialog.

Step 2: Type cmd in the text box and then press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to run Command Prompt with administrative privileges.

Step 3: In the prompted Command Prompt window, type chkdsk *: /f /r /x and press Enter.

Replace * with your drive letter. The /f switch will check and fix the file system corruption. The /r switch will locate the bad sectors on the hard drive and try to recover readable information from the bad sectors. The /x switch will force dismount the target hard drive.

Step 4: Once done, restart your computer to see if the error disappears.

Further reading:

If CHKDSK won’t run, you can try to check your drive health with another Windows built-in disk checking tool – Error Checking. Here’s how to use this tool.

  1. Press Windows + E to open File Explorer and then click This PC.
  2. Right-click the target drive in the right pane and select Properties.
  3. Go to the Tools tab. Then click the Check button under Error checking.
  4. In the pop-up window, click Scan and repair drive.
MiniTool Partition Wizard is also a great choice to check your hard drive due to its Check File System and Surface Test features. Here’s how to do this: How to Check Hard Drive and Fix the Error? Solutions Are Here!

Method 2: Format the Drive

After experiencing the “bad sectors were encountered while formatting” issue, you can try formatting the drive on another computer. For some reason, this may help you execute the format without any problems. Here, we mainly discuss how to format the drive with Disk Management on another PC.

If any important files are stored on the drive, you should make a backup in advance to avoid data loss.

Step 1: Connect the target drive to another well-running PC.

Step 2: Right-click the Start icon and select Disk Management.

Step 3: Right-click the target drive and select Format.

Select Format

Step 4: Choose a desired file system from the drop-down menu.

Step 5: After that, check the Perform a quick format option and click OK. If prompted, click Yes to confirm the operation.

You can get more ways to format the hard drive from this post: How to Format a Hard Drive with Ease in Windows 10/8/7?

Method 3: Run the Windows Built-in Troubleshooters

When bad sectors were encountered during the format, you could try to fix it by using the Windows in-built troubleshooters as well. The following instructions may help you run the specific troubleshooters.

Way 1: Run the System Maintenance Troubleshooter

Step 1: Open Control Panel and then set View by Small icons.

View by small icons

Step 2: Scroll down to find and select Troubleshooting. Then click Run maintenance tasks under System and Security.

Click Run maintenance tasks

Step 3: In the prompted window, click Next to run the System Maintenance troubleshooter. If necessary, click Try troubleshooting as an administrator to continue.

Step 4: If any problems exist, follow the on-screen instructions to repair them.

Step 5: After the process ends, restart your computer to check if the error persists.

Way 2: Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

Step 1: Open Command Prompt on your PC.

Step 2: Type msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic and press Enter.

Step 3: In the Hardware and Devices window, click Next to run this troubleshooter.

Step 4: For any detected problems, follow the given instructions to fix them.

Step 5: Once done, restart your PC and check if the error is still here.

Also Read:Fixed! Hardware and Device Troubleshooter Is Missing Windows 10

Method 4: Replace the Hard Drive

If the format failed due to the “bad sectors were encountered during the format” issue, it might indicate that the hard drive to format got corrupted or damaged. In this case, you’d better stop using it. If you don’t want to lose data on this drive, you can try cloning it to another drive by using reliable drive cloning software.

Here, we highly recommend MiniTool Partition Wizard to you. It can be used as more than a powerful data recovery tool but also a professional disk cloning program. It is capable of assisting you to copy all partitions and data from one disk to another one. The following are detailed steps.

MiniTool Partition Wizard FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 1: Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard to enter its main interface.

Step 2: Select Copy Disk Wizard from the left action panel. Then click Next.

Select Copy Disk Wizard

Step 3: Choose the disk you want to copy and then click Next.

Step 4: In the next window, choose a destination disk and click Next. Then click Yes in the warning box to continue.

The destination disk you choose to copy the damaged disk should be large enough to store all the content of the damaged disk. Moreover, in case of data loss, you need to back up important files on the destination disk.

Step 5: Modify the copy settings according to your need and then click Next.

Change the copy settings

Step 6: Once done, click Finish > Apply to carry out the pending changes.

Apply the changes
Also Read:Guide - How to Clone a Bad Hard Drive to Avoid Data Loss

This post provides a complete guide on what to do when the “bad sectors were encountered during the format” issue appears. If you get stuck in the same issue, you can follow this guide to solve your problem.Click to Tweet

Bottom Line

When facing the “bad sectors were encountered during the format” issue, you can try to fix it with the above methods. If you have any problems with this issue, you can leave a message in the comment area below.

For any issues related to MiniTool Partition Wizard, you can contact us via [email protected]. We’ll reply to you as soon as possible.

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