By Bryce / Last Updated March 10, 2022

Unable to format WD Passport external hard drive

“Having a 1TB WD Passport external hard drive with RAW file system, I want to format it to exFAT for using in Mac and Windows computer. But I only got “Windows was unable to complete the format” when I tried to format it from Windows Explorer. Then, I tried Disk Management but only received “The format did not complete successfully”. Can I fix WD external hard drive won’t format issue? Any advice will be appreciated!”

How to solve it?

WD external hard drive format failure can occur due to virus infection, corrupted file system, write protection and so on. To solve this issue, you can check out one or more solutions that will be demonstrated next.

✔ Fix 1. Remove write protection from WD external hard drive

If WD external hard drive is being write-protected, it won’t be formatted successfully and you can receive a message –The disk is write-protected. To disable write protection for WD external hard drive, you can clear readonly attributes from Diskpart or change Value data of WriteProtect to 0 in Registry Editor.

Clear readonly attributes

1. Press Windows + R simultaneously to open Run dialogue.

2. Input "diskpart" and click OK.

3. Type the following commands and hit Enter after every command:

  • list disk

  • select disk n

  • attributes disk clear readonly

  • exit

Change Value data of WriteProtect

1. Go to Run, input regedit and click OK.

2. Navigate to the following path:


3. Double click WriteProtect and change Value data from 1 to 0; then, click OK.

✔ Fix 2. Clean WD hard drive and create new partition

If WD external hard drive won’t format problem is not related to write protection, you can clean it and create new partition. Here are detailed steps:

Warning: This way will erase all data on the WD external hard drive.

1. Go to Diskpart.

2. Run commands listed below:

▪ list disk

▪ select disk n

▪ clean

▪ create partition primary

▪ format fs=ntfs quick

▪ assign letter=h


▪ “n” refers to the disk number of the WD external hard drive.

▪ “h” is one of the available drive letters that can be assigned to the created partition.

If you are not an experienced computer user, it might be a lit bit complicated to clean WD external hard drive and create new partition using Diskpart for you. In such condition, here introduce you a third party free but reliable format tool – AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It is not only very helpful in settling WD external hard drive won’t format issue, but also in C drive full, file is too big to copy to external hard drive problem and etc. Now, free download and install it; then have a look at how it works.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Warning: This way will erase all data on the WD external hard drive.

1. Open it, find out the WD external hard drive that you want to format, and right-click the partition on it. Then, choose Format Partition.

Format Partition 500GB Drive

2. On this page, you can choose a file system among six options based on your own demand. Here I choose exFAT.

File System 500GB Drive

3. Return to the main console where you can preview the result of the operation. If it is OK, you can click Apply and Proceed to commit operation.

Apply 500GB Drive

✍ Notes:
◆ AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is compatible with Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7, XP, and Vista (64Bit and 32Bit).
◆ To enjoy more functions such as converting dynamic disk into basic without losing data, quick partition, and so on, you can upgrade to its Professional version