Fixed: Windows Server Backup Formatting the Disk Has Failed

What’s wrong when Windows Server backup formatting the disk has failed? Here are solutions and an alternative.


By Maggie Updated on July 3, 2023

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Error: Formatting the disk has failed

       Error: Formatting the disk has failed

Hi Everyone

I'm trying to configure a Windows Server Backup schedule to 2x External Hard drives but cannot even add the first one. As soon as the Server Backup wizard starts to format the external hard drive, I receive the following error:

Formatting the disk has failed. Please ensure the disk is online and accessible.

The system cannon find the file specified.

I've read through dozens of posts but none of them are applicable to this issue. I've also tried to remove the Windows Server Backup from Features and add it again. The issue still remain.

Any help would be appreciated.      


When you use the Windows Server Backup utility to back up your data and choose to store it on a new disk, the utility usually tries to format the disk in preparation for storing the backed-up data. However, when you see the error message "Windows Server Backup formatting the disk has failed", it means that there is a problem with the formatting process.

What are the reasons behind the format disk error?

You may want to fix the Windows Server backup not working problem right now, but it’s still worth taking the time to learn the possible reasons. It may offer you a clue to fix and prevent this error from happening again. we have summarized for you the following common reasons:

▷The USB drive, port, or PC is malfunctioning.
▷You don’t have administrator privileges.
▷The disk has been formatted.
▷Your system includes malware or third-party software blocking access to the disk.
▷Windows doesn’t recognize the file system of the disk.
▷The file system of the disk is corrupted.
▷The disk drivers are outdated or corrupted.
▷Your disk contains bad sectors.
▷Sudden power outage or abrupt system shutdown while you’re using that disk.

How to troubleshoot format disk error

Based on the suggested reasons, we offered you several ways to troubleshoot the Windows Server backup formatting the disk has failed error. You can try the easy one first.

Method 1. Try easy fixes

Here are several straightforward methods you can try to address this error. It is recommended to attempt these solutions first:

▌Start by restarting your system and observe if the error persists.
▌Try a different USB port.
▌Test the USB drive on another Windows PC or Mac to determine if it functions properly. If it works on a Mac but not on Windows, it is likely due to an incompatible file system. In such a scenario, you will need to recover data from the external disk and format it accordingly.
▌Run reliable antivirus software to scan your system and eliminate any potential viruses that may be causing the "not format" error.

Method 2.  Clean Boot Your System

Sometimes, third-party software or services can interfere with the proper functioning of the system software, leading to issues such as the inability to access a disk and prompting the Windows Server backup service has stopped problem. To identify and resolve such conflicts, you can perform a clean boot. This process disables all third-party software and services from running at startup, allowing you to determine if any of them are causing the problem

Method 3. Set the formatted disk into the written mode

Step 1. Click on the start menu, type and open Computer Management and choose Run as administrator.

Step 2. In the Computer Management window, select Storage and then click on Disk Management.

Disk Management

Step 3. In the Disk Management window, you will see a list of all the disks connected to the computer. Locate the disk you want to back up.

Step 4. In the disk list, find the disk you want to back up and check the status column.  Set the disk status as Online.

Check the Disk Status

Step 5. If the disk is in a protected state, you will see a label that says Protected or Read-only.

Step 6. Right-click on the protected disk and select the Properties option. In the Properties window that appears, switch to the General tab.

Step 7. In the General tab, look for and uncheck the Read-only checkbox or option. This will remove the disk's protection status and set it to write mode.

Step 8. Click on the OK or Apply button to apply the changes to the disk.

Method 4. Run Disk Check Tool

It is possible the disk needs to be formatted contains bad sectors or its file system is corrupted. To fix it, try chkdsk command or disk error-checking tool. It will also mark the bad sectors as unusable.

#1: Run CHKDSK command

Step 1. Open command prompt with administrator priority.

Step 2. Type chkdsk g: /f /r /x and press Enter. Replace g: with the drive letter of your disk.


#2: Use Disk Error-checking Tool

Step 1. Open File Explorer and find out the disk needs to be formatted. Right-click it and select Properties.

Properties Tools Check

Step 2. Click Scan drive to find errors and fix it.

Scan Drive

Method 5. Execute SFC & DISM Command

If the disk check is not working, it’s probably because your disk has a corrupted file system or it’s missing. Try SFC & DISM commands to repair your disk.

Step 1. Open command prompt with administrator priority.

Step 2. Type DISM /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth and press Enter.

Step 3. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter. Wait until the process is complete. Then, type exit to leave this window.

SFC /Scannow

Alternative: powerful Windows Server backup software to backup system

If you check out the above methods, but the error still exists. Or if you want to find powerful and professional backup software to perform secure data backup, AOMEI Backupper Server is quite suitable for Server users. It not only applies to multiple users’ backup and restore need, you can use it to sync USB with Google Drive.

✍Backup types: It offers users System Backup, Disk Backup, Partition Backup, File Backup, and Cloud Backup. Thus, you can easily back up individual files, Server system, entire server, or selected volumes in simple steps.
✍You can set the backup task to run at a pre-set time automatically: daily/weekly/monthly/event triggers/USB plug in as well as different backup methods (full/incremental/differential backup) and automatic backup cleanup methods ( By quantity, By time and By daily/weekly/monthly) to help you save storage space.
✍Windows Server compatibility: a full-featured backup and recovery software for all Windows Servers (Server 2003/2008 (R2)/2012 (R2)/2016/2019/2022) and PCs.

Now download AOMEI Backupper, here is the detailed guide to back system.

Download Free Trial Windows Server & PC
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Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper, and it will bring you to the main interface. Click Backup at the left panel, and choose System Backup.

System Backup

Step 2. You do not have to choose source partitions, AOMEI Backupper has chosen them automatically. Just click the column below to select another location as the destination path to store your system image files. The destination location can be verified as an internal hard drive, external hard drive, NAS, and more.

Select Backup Destination

Step 3. Finally, click Start Backup to run Windows Server backup.

Start Backup


I sincerely hope that the above fixes can be efficient in solving “Windows Server backup formatting the disk has failed” error. If all the solutions failed, there might be something tough to deal with your Windows Server backup utility. The best alternative for it is AOMEI Backupper Server, which can also provide help in backup mail Outlook. Hoping you gained your expected answer in this article.

Maggie · Editor
Maggie is a technical editor from AOMEI and troubleshoots technical problems against data protection. She has received professional and systematic technical training. With a focus on user experience, security, and problem-solving, she always puts herself in the readers' shoes and provides them with valuable technical insights.