How to Fix a Corrupted and Unreadable External Hard Drive and Recover Data from It?

Has your Hard Drive corrupted and suddenly become unreadable? Read on the tutorial to fix external hard drive not accessible and damaged problem without losing any data on Windows 10.

Aug 20,2020 • Filed to: Hard Drive Recovery • Proven solutions

"How fix a corrupted and unreadable external hard drive and access files from it? I plugged the portable drive on my PC, and now it is showing that drive is inaccessible! Can I fix it? Can I recover my files from the disk if it still doesn't open?"

- a question from Quora

An external hard drive is undoubtedly one of the frequently used electronic gadgets in the world today. You are inclined to use it on multiple computers, which may or may not be infected with some malware.

If you boot up your computer on one of those occasions to access content from the portable hard drive and find that your computer is unable to read that disk, then you need to repair it as soon as possible to gain access to those files again.

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The external hard drive becomes unreadable and corrupted due to carelessly disconnecting or powering down the drive without following the eject drive protocol. You can repair the unreadable external drive with a quick scan on the PC with the help of the disk checking utility and its drive repair function.

Worst case scenario, if you are not able to fix the disk, then there is a way to recover all the valuable data, which you can quickly learn after reading this guide.

Part 1: Situation: Hard Drive is Corrupted and Unreadable

As mentioned earlier, your portable hard drive is prone to damage daily since it is used with such doggedness that one can forget how delicate the gadget is. Because of this scenario, many problems may occur with the drive, and the standard most error that typically happens is the "External Drive or its directory becoming corrupt or unreadable."

Such error comes with a message which is displayed when your operating system fails to read or open the external disk. Many factors may lead to this error, and fortunately, here, you will learn to implement different available fixes to ease your mind.


Part 2: Why the Hard Drive Becomes Unreadable and corrupted?

Whenever you get the error notification upon opening the external drive: "H:\ is not accessible." It means that the file or directory of the disk either corrupted or unreadable, and you need to fix that. There might be numerous factors behind the external drive becoming unreadable, but the leading cause you should consider is that there might be some file system damage to your portable storage device.

Here we will discuss some of those causes that could lead to your disk getting corrupted:

  • Virus infection:

    Virus infection or malware attack occurs due to casual and unsafe browsing on the internet. If you happen to download a suspicious or pirated file from a shady website and open through the file explorer, it might infect your computer and all the devices connected to it, as well. Such a mistake could convert the file system of your external hard drive into RAW and make it corrupt/unreadable. Thus the "Drive is not accessible" notification; it is a known fact that RAW file format makes it impossible for Windows to read and access the partition or flash drive.

  • Corrupted Master File Table:

    Corrupted Master File Table is the other culprit behind the HDD becoming unreadable and you not being able to open the contents of the disk. A partition table is mainly gets damaged due to improper handling of the hardware, such as removing the external hard drive from the PC without using the "Safely Remove Hardware" option.

  • Unexpected Power Failure:

    An unexpected Power Failure may also cause the drive to misbehave and corrupt. Before using the gadget, you necessarily must make sure the USB ports of the PC and the disk alike are functioning correctly.

  • Physical damages

    Physical damages to the external hard drive should also be considered as the reason behind the external drive becoming unreadable. If you have accidentally dropped the device, it may cause some internal damage and making it impossible for the system to access the files. In this case, you must send the drive to an expert for a brief fix.

Part 3: How To Fix Unreadable and Corrupted Hard Disk?

If the damage to the drive is not physical, then you can repair the unreadable and corrupt device without any hassle. There are three popular methods mentioned below that will fix your external storage drive in no time.

  • Run the CHKDSK command through cmd prompt utility.
  • Update the driver.
  • Reformat the Disk to remedy the unreadable hard drive factor.
  • However, before doing something drastic, you should look into the following thing to ensure the fact of whether the problem is with your disk or not.

    • Try using your hard drive on another PC, if your PC can't detect it. It will solidify the fact that the disk is corrupt, and there is something wrong with the drive, and measures should be taken.
    • It is essential to check the power supply of both the PC and the drive. There is a slight chance that due to over-usage, the power cable might have stopped working.
    • There are multiple USB slots on the computer, and you should try changing the USB port or insert some other flash drive to check whether the port is working or not.
    • In the Disk Management utility, try changing the drive letter of the storage media, which could help to restore data inside the corrupted hard drive.

    1. Run the CHKDSK Command through cmd prompt Utility:

    CHKDSK is used to identify the status of the drive, its file system, and the metadata of the drive's format for logical and physical errors. You can enable the command by following the guide below:

    • Open Command Prompt from the Start menu by entering "cmd" and running it as an administrator.
    • Type the command in the display window with the assigned letter of the damaged hard drive: chkdsk I: /f /r /x ("I" is the assigned letter of the scanned drive).
    • The command will take some time to scan the disk and fix the detected issue immediately.
    how to fix a corrupted external hard drive

    It would be best if you were careful while using "Command Prompt" as it can get pretty technical; entering a wrong command could lead to severe damage to the computer.

    2. Update the driver of the USB Device:

    There is a chance the driver of the external device might not be up-to-date. You can update the driver by opening Windows' Device Manager feature, and here is the step-by-step guide to help you through it.

    • Open Device Manager by entering the keyword in the Windows search bar.
    • how to fix a corrupted external hard drive
    • Locate the driver under the "Universal Serial Bus Controllers" section and click on it.
    • hard-drive-corrupted-and-unreadable-fix-4
    • Click on "Update Driver" and pick the option "Search automatically for updated driver software."

    • Let the manager do its work.

    The manager will work its charm if it detects a faulty driver; Otherwise, check the third method to fix the issue.

    3. Reformat the Corrupted Disk:

    Formatting the drive is an extreme step! It should only be done if the file system of your device has become RAW. Here are the instructions to format the external hard disk.

    • Open Disk Management from the Windows search bar.
    • Locate your external drive from the list of disks.
    • Right Click on it and pick the "Format" option.
    • If the file system is RAW, change it to NTFS and click on OK.
    • You can also change the allotted letter of the drive.

    This option should only be picked if you do not intend to recover the data inside.

    Part 4: How to Recover Data from the Repaired Hard Drive?

    Data from an unreadable hard disk is recoverable with the help of a third-party data recovery application. Recoverit - Data Recovery will help you recover items that are under threat of getting deleted. Before performing the recovery operation, it is best to understand the features of the program, which are mentioned below:

    Recoverit Data Recovery

    A Life Saver to Solve Your Data Loss Problems!

    • Recoverit offers data recovery from a lost partition, unreadable or corrupt drives, and every other kind of inaccessible data.
    • The app supports more than 1000 different file formats, which include every bit of media files.
    • You can recover any amount of data from a crashed computer and external devices such as USB, portable hard disks, and memory cards.
    • The software lets you preview the recovered items and allows you to save them to any location of your choice.
    icon security 3,165,867 people have downloaded it

    Here is the three-step guide to use the application and retrieve lost content in a matter of minutes.

    Step 1 Choose the Location of the Drive to Start

    Launch the program on your PC and pick the damaged drive under the "External Devices" section. Push the start button after that.

    hard drive corrupted how to fix

    Step 2 Wait for the Application to Finish the Scan

    You will have to wait for a few minutes as Recoverit will scan the damaged drive and extract all data from it. The app also offers to pause or stop the process in between. The program will notify you once it completes the scan.

    fix corrupted hard drive without losing data

    Step 3 Save your Data

    In the end, you can view through the program's preview feature, which displays the content under different categories. After checking the files, select the needed items, and click on the "Recover" button. You can save the data to a location where you feel it will be safe.

    fix corrupted hard drive

    Bottom Line

    Over and careless use of any machine or biological figure would eventually result in its demise. Now you know the causes behind an external drive becoming readable and how to fix a corrupted external hard drive.

    Want to learn more about recover videos in hard drive? check this article now!

    There's a slight chance that the data inside the corrupt drive may get erased, you can prevent all of the issues if you use Recoverit program. Feel free to spread the word to your friends and family, who are dealing with such a problem.

    Read more: How to Recover Data from Transcend External Hard Drive


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