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  • How to reformat a USB SSD drive that is not recognized by Windows

    Posted on LHiggins Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware How to reformat a USB SSD drive that is not recognized by Windows

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      • LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        Hello,

        I have  a 240 gb external USB SSD drive that was formatted for Linux and has a full install of Linux Mint on it. I want to reformat it for use on a Windows laptop. My problem is that it is not recognized by Windows, so I can’t choose to reformat it.

        I have used the diskpart utility in Windows before to reformat USB drives, and this drive does show in the list disk command, but I wasn’t sure whether I should go farther in that utility to clean that disk, as I wasn’t sure if I would be able to then format it or if it would still not be visible to Windows. Since it is a SSD, I wondered if there was some other way to do that.

        I also am not sure what to choose to reformat that drive – NTFS or exFAT or something else – if I ever get that far.

        I also still have my older Linux install on a 64 gb USB drive – would possibly using that to boot into Linux then allow me to use the Linux disk utility to reformat that SSD? If so – how would that work and how should it be formatted?

        I may also have an original backup of that drive in Macrium that I made before I did the Linux install. If I can find that, would that work to restore the drive back to its original state so that I can use it?

        Or is there something else that might work? It is a large drive and I really would like to be able to use it for additional storage – just want to choose the right way to format and get it all set up properly.

        Thanks for the help!

         

         

      • #2304741 Reply
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        Who is the manufacturer of the USB SSD device?
        Reason I ask is, there are dedicated OEM software utilities that can do this for you, once installed in a windows PC

        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2304754 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Who is the manufacturer of the USB SSD device?

          It is a Pioneer External Solid State Drive. I can look into whether Pioneer has such a utility.

          Thanks!

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2304771 Reply
            Microfix
            AskWoody MVP

            @LHiggins, don’t bother looking, I just have and unfortunately,
            Pioneer don’t provide a utility for either of their External SSD devices.

            No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2304759 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        I have used the diskpart utility in Windows before to reformat USB drives, and this drive does show in the list disk command, but I wasn’t sure whether I should go farther in that utility to clean that disk, as I wasn’t sure if I would be able to then format it or if it would still not be visible to Windows. Since it is a SSD, I wondered if there was some other way to do that.

        @LHiggins, what you suggest doing below is exacrly what I would do.

        I also am not sure what to choose to reformat that drive – NTFS or exFAT or something else – if I ever get that far.

        I would reformat that SSD as NTFS. It’s the most popular format nowadays for Windows.

        I also still have my older Linux install on a 64 gb USB drive – would possibly using that to boot into Linux then allow me to use the Linux disk utility to reformat that SSD? If so – how would that work and how should it be formatted?

        Yes, I’d boot into a live Linux CD or USB and use its disk utility to perform the reformat as NTFS on the SSD. Just make darn sure, before telling it to do the reformat, that you have selected to reformat the drive you want. (The details will vary depending on the flavor of Linux that you’re using.)

        I may also have an original backup of that drive in Macrium that I made before I did the Linux install. If I can find that, would that work to restore the drive back to its original state so that I can use it?

        If the Macrium backup was a full-system image, then it should work. But now I have a question for you. From the way that you wrote the question, it’s not entirely clear what was on the SSD before the Linux install. If it was a Windows installation, then this may be your easiest course of action–to overwrite Linux and put Windows back on that SSD in one step. Note that if you don’t intend to use Windows off that SSD, then it may still be useful to reformat the SSD to erase what’s on it and make the space available.

        Or is there something else that might work? It is a large drive and I really would like to be able to use it for additional storage – just want to choose the right way to format and get it all set up properly.

        I think you’ve covered all the bases above.  🙂

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2304763 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks!!

          Just make darn sure, before telling it to do the reformat, that you have selected to reformat the drive you want. (The details will vary depending on the flavor of Linux that you’re using.)

          Yes – that is always my worry – choosing the wrong drive! I should be able to tell by the size – the hard drive on my laptop is 500 gb – the SSD is only 240, so hopefully it would be clear.

          But now I have a question for you. From the way that you wrote the question, it’s not entirely clear what was on the SSD before the Linux install. If it was a Windows installation, then this may be your easiest course of action–to overwrite Linux and put Windows back on that SSD in one step. Note that if you don’t intend to use Windows off that SSD, then it may still be useful to reformat the SSD to erase what’s on it and make the space available.

          Yes – probably not clear. The SSD drive was new and didn’t have anything on it. I got it specifically for the Linux install, and it worked great for several months, but then developed a sleep issue – would not let the laptop ever sleep, so I went back to Windows. I don’t plan to use it for Linux anymore and would like it for storage. It was never a Windows install – just formatted originally to use with Windows.

          Sounds like I have a few choices – and I am leaning toward trying the diskpart one first if it would work, only because it doesn’t involve either the Linux boot or finding that Macrium backup. I did make that when I first got the SSD just in case, but where it ended up, I’m not entirely sure!

          Thanks so much!

      • #2304767 Reply
        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        And an update! Since my laptop won’t recognize that SSD drive – I can’t restore my Macrium backup.  I did find it – but there doesn’t seem to be a way to restore it to that drive, since the drive isn’t visible.

        Guess I’ll look into the diskpart process.

        • #2304769 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          Is is visible when you boot off the Macrium Rescue disk/USB?
          Caution: be careful which drive is which, the letter designation may not be the same.
          You would have you laptop’s drive, the USB dirve you cannot now see, and the drive your backup is on, in addition to the Rescue USB.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2304783 Reply
            LHiggins
            AskWoody Plus

            I’ll give it a try and see – thanks! Will report back if it works.

      • #2304786 Reply
        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        I have used the diskpart utility in Windows before to reformat USB drives, and this drive does show in the list disk command

        … when my kids have this problem, that’s the part where I tell them that see, it *was* recognized by Windows…

        Of course we’d just connect it to one of the various Linux boxes in the house and reformat it as NTFS on GPT that way… and all but one of the kids have gone to some kind of specialist school for computing. (Because the youngest is still in lower comprehensive.)

        (These can happen in funny situations like TV set-top boxes and… well that one set-top box wanted to have its storage device formatted in one of the ways Windows doesn’t like at all. Turned out to be an oddball embedded Linux and the format was… don’t remember exactly, might have been XFS on LVM on unpartitioned raw disk or something like that.)

        • #2304789 Reply
          Microfix
          AskWoody MVP

          (These can happen in funny situations like TV set-top boxes and… well that one set-top box wanted to have its storage device formatted in one of the ways Windows doesn’t like at all. Turned out to be an oddball embedded Linux and the format was… don’t remember exactly, might have been XFS on LVM on unpartitioned raw disk or something like that.)

          hmm yeah, come across a situation like that for a Humax TV recording set top box with an obscure file system on a specific HDD model from the 2008 era (some sort of multimedia FS) Turns out the device could format itself via buried settings as I never got round to finding out which filesystem it used.
          Edit: ‘Tuxera’ FS was later on 2012

          No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
      • #2304791 Reply
        SFB
        AskWoody Lounger

        If the SSD shows up under list disk it should also be visible using using windows Disk Management. Windows Disk Managemet is a more of graphical user interface than the command line (list disk / diskpart).

        Links:

        7 Ways to Open Disk Management in Windows

        Create and format a hard disk partition

        If the disk is not visible you can use a third party tool and make a live CD/USB. Gparted is good choice.

        GParted is a free partition editor for graphically managing your disk partitions.

         

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      • #2304795 Reply
        BNL
        AskWoody Plus

        Since you are interested in a windows platform solution, install partition wizard; it’s a free partition manager which I have used it on many occasions.  It’s very intuitive.

        https://www.partitionwizard.com/free-partition-manager.html

        1. plugin your SSD
        2. run mini-partition
        3. right click on SSD and delete partition
        4. format SSD to NTFS or exFat

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2305190 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          ETA: Tried a different USB port and it is now visible! Sorry ’bout that!

           

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          A little late coming back to this – but I ran the minitool and it doesn’t recognize the SSD. It only shows my hard drive – bot the SSD which is 240 gb.

          Minitool

          Is there a way to force it to see the drive? Or should I use diskpart to clean it and then try?

          Thanks!

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by LHiggins.
          • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by LHiggins.
          • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by LHiggins.
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          • #2305335 Reply
            Paul T
            AskWoody MVP

            Windows can see the drive but MTPW can’t?

            Run Disk Manager and post a screenshot. (Win R, diskmgmt.msc, Enter)

            cheers, Paul

            • #2305387 Reply
              LHiggins
              AskWoody Plus

              Thanks! As I had added – I did get it to work in a different USB port, and all went fine. Seems that the full space is now available and formatted and aligned properly!

              1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2304896 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        As it’s an SSD you need to make sure you align the partition. This is less easy in Diskpart – I would use Partition Wizard, as mentioned by BNL.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2304960 Reply
        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks for all of the links and information! I’ve downloaded Partition Wizard and will give that a try first! Great help and suggestions – much appreciated!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
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