June 18, 2024

Having a corrupted and unreadable external hard drive can be a frustrating experience. In this article, we will explore effective solutions to fix this issue and recover your valuable data.

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Understanding the Reasons Behind Unreadable and Corrupted Drives

When your external hard drive becomes unreadable or corrupted, it can be frustrating and worrisome. However, understanding the reasons behind these issues can help you find a solution more effectively. Here are some common causes and their solutions:

1. File system errors: File system errors can occur due to improper ejection, power outages, or software glitches. To fix this, you can use the CHKDSK command in Command Prompt. Open Command Prompt by typing “cmd” in the search bar, then type “chkdsk /f X:” (replace X with the drive letter of your external hard drive) and press Enter. CHKDSK will scan and fix any file system errors.

2. Physical damage: Physical damage to the hard disk drive can render it unreadable and corrupted. In such cases, you may need professional data recovery services to retrieve your files. Avoid further damage by not attempting to fix it yourself or using unreliable software.

3. Connection issues: Sometimes, the issue lies with the connection between the external hard drive and your computer. Try connecting the drive to a different USB port or using a different USB cable to see if the problem persists. Additionally, using a disk enclosure can help to establish a stable connection.

4. Virus infections: Computer viruses can infect external hard drives and corrupt the files stored on them. Use reliable antivirus software to scan and remove any viruses from your system. Additionally, make sure to keep your antivirus software up to date to prevent future infections.

5. File system compatibility: If you are using the external hard drive on different operating systems, such as Windows and Mac, make sure it is formatted with a file system that is compatible with both. NTFS is commonly used for Windows, while exFAT is compatible with both Windows and Mac.

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6. Bad sectors: Bad sectors on the hard drive can cause it to become unreadable and corrupted. You can use disk utility tools to scan and repair bad sectors. In Windows, you can use the built-in tool called “Check Disk” or “Error Checking” to scan for and fix bad sectors.

Remember to always backup your important files to prevent data loss. Regularly backing up your data ensures that you have a copy of your files in case of any unforeseen issues with your external hard drive.

Initial Steps: Unplugging and Checking Drive Letter

To begin fixing your corrupted and unreadable external hard drive, follow these initial steps:

1. Unplug the external hard drive from your computer.
2. Wait for a few seconds and then plug it back in. This can help reset the connection between the drive and your computer.

Now, let’s check the drive letter:

1. Open File Explorer on your computer.
2. Look for your external hard drive under the “This PC” or “My Computer” section.
3. Take note of the drive letter assigned to your external hard drive. It will be something like “E:”, “F:”, or “G:”.

If you can’t find your external hard drive in File Explorer, try these troubleshooting steps:

1. Make sure the drive is properly connected to your computer and turned on.
2. Check if the drive is recognized in Disk Management. To do this, right-click on the Windows Start button and select “Disk Management” from the context menu.
3. Look for your external hard drive in the list of drives. It may be listed as “Disk X” or “Unknown” with a black bar indicating unallocated space.
4. If the drive is listed in Disk Management, right-click on it and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths”.
5. Click on “Add” and choose a drive letter from the drop-down menu. Click “OK” to assign the drive letter.
6. If the drive is not listed in Disk Management or you encounter any error messages, there may be a hardware issue. In this case, you may need to seek professional help or consider data recovery options.

Remember, it’s important to always have a backup of your important data. If your external hard drive is still inaccessible or you encounter data loss, avoid using any disk utility software or attempting to fix it yourself. Instead, consult with a professional data recovery service.

Advanced Fixes: Running CHKDSK and Updating Drivers

If you’re facing issues with your external hard drive such as corruption or being unreadable, there are a few advanced fixes you can try. These fixes involve running CHKDSK and updating drivers, which can help resolve common issues with external hard drives.

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To begin, you’ll need to open a command prompt with administrative privileges. You can do this by pressing the Windows key, typing “cmd,” right-clicking on “Command Prompt,” and selecting “Run as administrator” from the context menu.

1. Running CHKDSK:

CHKDSK is a built-in Windows utility that checks for errors on a disk and attempts to fix them. To run CHKDSK on your external hard drive, follow these steps:

1. In the command prompt window, type “chkdsk X: /f” and press Enter, replacing “X” with the drive letter assigned to your external hard drive. This command will scan and fix any errors it finds on the drive.

2. If CHKDSK detects and repairs any errors, your external hard drive should now be accessible. If not, proceed to the next step.

2. Updating Drivers:

Outdated or incompatible drivers can cause issues with external hard drives. To update your drivers, follow these steps:

1. Open the Device Manager by pressing the Windows key and typing “Device Manager.” Select the appropriate result from the search.

2. In the Device Manager window, expand the “Disk drives” category.

3. Right-click on your external hard drive and select “Update driver” from the context menu.

4. Choose the option to search automatically for updated driver software. Windows will search for and install any available updates for your external hard drive.

5. Once the driver update is complete, restart your computer and check if the issue with your external hard drive has been resolved.

By running CHKDSK and updating drivers, you can often fix common issues with external hard drives. These steps can help address corruption and unreadability problems, allowing you to access your data once again.

Remember to regularly backup your important files to avoid data loss in the future. Additionally, if these steps do not resolve the issue, it may be necessary to seek professional help or consider using data recovery software like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover your files.

For more advanced troubleshooting or if you encounter any error messages or unusual behavior, it’s recommended to consult official documentation or contact the manufacturer for further assistance.

Data Recovery and Reformatting Solutions

Solution Description
Using Data Recovery Software Install a reliable data recovery software tool and follow the instructions to scan and recover data from the corrupted external hard drive.
Engaging Professional Data Recovery Services If the data on your external hard drive is critical and cannot be recovered using software, consider contacting professional data recovery services. They have specialized tools and expertise to recover data from severely damaged drives.
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Prevention and Protection Strategies

  1. Regularly update your operating system:
    • Ensure that your operating system is up to date by installing the latest updates and patches.
  2. Install reliable antivirus software:
    • Select a reputable antivirus software and regularly update it to protect your external hard drive from potential malware or viruses.
  3. Handle the external hard drive with care:
    • Avoid dropping, shaking, or exposing the external hard drive to extreme temperatures, moisture, or magnetic fields.
  4. Eject the external hard drive properly:
    • Before disconnecting the external hard drive from your computer, make sure to use the appropriate “Eject” or “Safely Remove Hardware” option to prevent data corruption.
  5. Keep backups of important data:
    • Regularly back up important files stored on the external hard drive to minimize the risk of data loss.
  6. Use a surge protector:
    • Connect your external hard drive to a surge protector to safeguard it against power surges or electrical fluctuations.
  7. Perform regular disk scans and error checks:
    • Use the built-in disk utility or third-party software to scan and repair any errors or bad sectors on the external hard drive.
  8. Avoid sudden disconnections:
    • Avoid unplugging the external hard drive while it is in use. Always wait for any ongoing data transfers or operations to complete before disconnecting.
  9. Keep the external hard drive in a cool and dry place:
    • Ensure that the external hard drive is stored in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight, excessive heat, or humidity.
  10. Secure your external hard drive:
    • Consider using encryption or password protection to secure the data on your external hard drive, especially if it contains sensitive information.


Can a corrupted external hard drive be fixed?

Yes, a corrupted external hard drive can be fixed. Hard disk corruption is a common issue experienced by Windows users.

How do I fix external hard drive disk structure is corrupted and unreadable?

To fix the issue of a corrupted and unreadable external hard drive disk structure, you can try these steps: Safely eject the external drive, reboot your computer, and reconnect the USB cable or drive. Additionally, consider changing the USB port being used.

How to fix unreadable external hard drive without losing data?

To fix an unreadable external hard drive without losing data, you can try using data recovery software or retrieving data from backups. Additionally, running CHKDSK in command prompt can help check and repair file system errors. It is also advisable to scan for viruses and malware.

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