There are times when you plug in an external hard drive or a flash drive, then see a message on Windows saying: “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.” This usually means that you may be unable to open the drive or even access the files on it. This can be quite problematic especially if you have a lot of important files on that drive.
While this problem can be quite a bother for most people, there are still several things you can do to fix it. In this article, we are going to focus on the symptoms and causes of “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable”, as well as some effective solutions to this error and how you can access your files.
Part 1. Symptoms of “The file or directory is corrupted”
Before we get to the solutions, the following are some of the symptoms of this problem since it may present in different ways for different versions of Windows:
- The file system on the drive could be a RAW file system which explains why you are unable to access the drive.
- You may also not be able to access the drive when you see “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable” error and you may therefore lose some of the data on it.
- You may also see the “H:\ is not accessible” message popup when you try to open the drive (H is the drive letter of the drive you are trying to access).
If these are the things you experience when you try to open the external storage device, keep reading for the best way to fix the problem.
Part 2. Carry Out CHKDSK to Check and Repair Errors
CHKDSK is a command tool in Windows that allows you to check for disk errors. Once it detects the problem, this tool can easily fix the issues. Usually, this tool will find and fix the problems like directory errors, lost clusters, cross-linked files, etc. Follow these simple steps to do it:
- Click on the Start button and search for “Command Prompt”. When the results appear, right-click on it and then select “Run as Administrator”.
- When a warning message appears, tap on “Yes” to allow it to change the computer.
- Now, in the command prompt box that appears, type in “chkdsk /f h:” without the quotes and “H” represents the drive letter for the unreadable drive. Hit “Enter” on your keyboard and the process will begin automatically. Depending on the number of files on the drive, the process may take a while.
- Command prompt will let you know if the process has been successful.
Part 3. Format the Corrupted Partition without Data Loss
Formatting the damaged drive is another way to fix the problem. As you probably already know, formatting a drive often causes total data loss. To avoid losing the data on your drive, we recommend using Fucosoft Data Recovery – a professional tool that allows users to recover all the files from the drive before formatting it. Some of the program’s features include the following:
- It can be used to easily restore deleted, lost or formatted files from your Windows system or any other storage device.
- It can be used to recover up to 1000 different types of files including Office documents, photos, videos, emails, audio files and so many more.
- It utilizes the most advanced technology to ensure that you can recover all these types of data quickly and has a 98% success rate.
- It is also very easy to use with a simple user interface, allowing anyone to use the program even beginners.
Follow these simple steps to recover data from the inaccessible drive:
Step 1: Download and install the program on to your computer and then open it. In the main interface, select a location where you have lost data to begin the recovery process.
Step 2: After selecting the location you want to recover lost data, simply click on “Scan” and the program will immediately begin scanning the selected storage location for the deleted files.
Step 3: When the scanning process is complete, the program will provide a list of all the deleted files on your computer. You can click on a specific file to preview it in details. Then select the specific files you would like to save and click “Recover” to restore the data.
Now that all the data on that drive has been recovered, you can go ahead and format the drive to try and fix it. Follow these simple steps to format the drive:
- Open This PC/My Computer depending on the version of Windows you are running and then find the unreadable drive.
- Right-click on the drive and then choose “Format”.
- Check “Quick Format” and then click “Start” to begin the process.
Part 4. Possible Causes of “The file or directory is corrupted”
It is also important to understand some of the reasons why Windows may be displaying this error. This way, you can easily avoid the problem in the future. The following are some of the main causes:
- An MFT (Master File Table) or FAT (File Allocation Table) error may cause the drive to be inaccessible.
- If the USB, memory card or external hard drive is infected with a virus, you may not be able to access the drive and Windows will display the “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable” error.
- The drive may also be corrupted because of damage to the drive itself or bad sectors within the drive, making it completely inaccessible.
- This problem can also occur when the external storage device is not removed from the computer properly. You should always unplug a removable drive from the device safely to avoid these problems.
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