There may be different reasons why a pen drive is not being formatted. Check whether there is any physical damage. If this is the case, you cannot use it. You can try this out by putting the pen drive in different USB ports and computers.
Check whether how many partitions are there in there in the pen drive. There should be only one. Try to format from disk management console.
When some programs are running, sometimes they may prevent you from formatting. Restart the computer and format it as soon as possible.
If these methods are not working, taking the administrator rights you can format the pen drive through the command prompt. In the command prompt enter format pendrive_letter:/FS:FAT32 /Q
Windows XP automatically detects the usb2 pen-drive. Try this: Disconnect the usb2 pendrive and restart the computer, and when it is back to the desktop. Insert the USB plug into the USB socket on the computer, and it will give a message that it has detected the drive. If it does not do this, Try another USB port, do the same again and plug it into the second port.
You still have not given details of your computer, you state only that you have XP .What are the specs of your computer. Motherboard, Processor, etc. Is there any other hardware working with us, IE printers etc. Try this first. Is it a PC or a Laptop.
If it does not work. Further instructions are for you to go into the Control panel, and click on the System icon, then select Hardware, then open Device Manager, and with the USB pendrive plugged in you will see if it is recognized in the USB Devices.
If Microsoft Windows is no longer able to format your USB flash drive prompting you with “Windows was unable to complete the format”, it means your USB flash drive has come to its end and when this happens there’s no way you can fix it. A USB flash drive is similar to a microSD card where it stores data into a microchip.
When you write data to a USB flash drive and microSD card, it deducts a point in its life. As you copy, delete, move, or rename files on the drive, it continuously deducts a point in its life for every action performed. Opening a file is not counted since there is no modification done on the file because you are only reading it from the media.
When it reaches the last point in its cycle, this is the time that it will start malfunctioning like the one you encountered where Windows was unable to format the drive. There is no remedy actually. Just buy a new USB flash drive to replace the old one.
But don’t worry, a USB flash drive has millions of thousands of write cycles and it will take many years before it runs out. Just like with my Imation USB flash drive, it has a 5-year storage warranty. If you don’t frequently delete or copy files to your USB flash drive, it will last longer than its guaranteed lifespan.