Solved: WD Elements 1TB Cannot Format in Windows PC

Sometimes, you cannot format 1TB WD elements. If so, you can read this post, which explains why you are unable to format 1TB WD elements hard drive, as well as how to solve this formatting problem effectively.


By Emily / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Unable to format 1TB WD Elements hard drive

“Hi, I have a WD elements 1TB external HDD, when I plug it in, it installed the drivers but refuses to let me access it and asks me to format... so click to format and it says that Windows was unable to complete format .... please help me to get rid of the “WD Elements 1TB hard cannot format” issue. Many thanks.”

Wd Elements 1tb

The Western Digital Elements is a compact and high-capacity external storage device. At present, you can bought 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB and 5TB WD Elements portable drive. They can work well with computers and game consoles, and you can use it as either storage expansion or a backup drive as long as you format it to a compatible file system. However, sometimes you cannot format the 1TB or other higher-capacity WD Elements successfully. Now, this article aims to tell how to solve this problem.

How to format 1TB Western Digital Elements hard drive successfully?

When you cannot format 1TB Western Digital Elements external hard drive, you can take those following factors into consideration: the 1TB WD Elements hard drive is write-protected; the hard drive has disk errors; the file system of the WD Elements is damaged; trying to format 1TB WD Elements to FAT32 file system for both Mac and Windows PC. According to the possible causes behind the 1TB WD Element format failure, you can try the 3 methods listed below.

Method 1. Remove the write protection attributes from 1TB WD Elements

If the 1TB WD Elements external hard drive is write-protected, you need to first remove this attribute, then format it again. To disable the write protection, you can check the following tricks

1. Clear write protection via DiskPart

Press Windows key + R combination. In the pop-up Run dialog box, type “diskpart” and hit Enter to open the DiskPart Command Prompt. Then type the following commands one by one and hit Enter after each:

  • list disk

  • select disk #: select the 1TB WD Elements hard drive

  • attributes disk clear readonly: this will clear the write protection attributes from the selected WD Elements.

Attributes Disk Clear Readonly

At last, execute “exit” command to close DiskPart Command Prompt, re-connect your WD Elements hard drive and reformat it again to check if you can succeed. If not, go for the next trick.

2. Remove write protection by editing the registry

Open “Run” dialog box (refer to the last ), type “regedit” and hit Enter to open the Registry Editor. Expand the entries on the left-hand pane and navigate to the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies. Double click WriteProtect and change Value data from 1 to 0; then, click OK.

Method 2. Check if there is any disk error on the 1TB WD Elements

You cannot format the 1TB WD Elements external hard drive when it has some disk errors. To check and fix them, you can use the CHKDSK.exe tool. Open Run dialogue, input cmd and hit on Enter to open Command Prompt Window. Then type in “chkdsk *: /f (* represents the drive letter of the specific drive that you want to scan and fix) and then press Enter. This command will scan the target drive for errors and try to fix any it finds. Take “chkdsk g: /f” as an example.

Chkdsk Check Error

Method 3. Force format the 1TB WD Elements via freeware

If your file system of the 1TB WD Elements is damaged, or you are trying to format the WD Elements hard drive to FAT32 so that you can use it on Mac and PC, this formatting cannot be completed, either. In either situation, you can force format it via the free partition manager like AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. 

It can format a drive, which is larger than 32GB, to FAT32 file system successfully and Windows native tools do not support formatting an 32GB+ drive to FAT32. 

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Free download, install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Right-click the 1TB WD Elements drive and choose “Format Partition”. 

Format Partition

Step 2. Select a proper file system based on your needs. Here we select “FAT32” as an example and click on “OK”.


Step 3. In the main interface, click on “Apply” and “Proceed” to commit the pending operation.


Besides, it has the "NTFS to FAT32 Converter", which permits you to convert file systems between FAT32 and NTFS without formatting this partition again and ensure the data security.


When the “WD Elements 1TB cannot format” problem occurs, the above 3 methods can be useful. Worth to mention, the AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard can force format the drive when Windows Disk Management or Diskpart cannot do. Besides, it also comes with many other powerful functions: clone WD hard drive, wipe WD external hard drive, convert WD external hard drive to MBR or GPT without losing data.

To enjoy more advanced features like recovering lost partitions on WD hard drive, allocating free space from one drive to another, quick partitioning the WD hard drive, splitting the drive, transfer OS between MBR and GPT disk, you can upgrade to Professional.

Emily · Staff Editor
Emily is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; she has a great passion for providing easy solutions for people to tackle with all disk or partition management problems. In addition to writing articles about disk/partition management, she also edits great tutorials on how to back up and restore disk for data security. In her spare time, she loves to learn computer skill to improve herself or stay with her family to enjoy a good day.