How to Fix Recuva "Unable to Determine File System Type" Error

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I have an 8 GB PNY flash drive. I've been able to recover some of the files with WinHex. It says it doesn't have a recognizable file system. It says it needs to be formatted. It shows as a drive. Recuva says it is also unrecognizable and needs to be formatted. Any suggestions? If I format the hard drive, is there any way to recover the files?

Have you ever encountered the same problem? You had an external drive and wanted to recover some files that were lost on it. After searching on the Internet, you found the recovery tool Recuva and downloaded it on your computer. You thought everything is done, while Recuva "Unable to determine file system type". That's why you are here now. Fortunately, there are some effective methods on solving this issue. Just read on to find them.

recuva unable to determine file system type

Part 1. What Are the Causes for the Error "Recuva Unable to Determine File System Type"

When recovering data from an external storage device using Recuva, you may encounter a message which reads, "Unable to determine file system type ". This error message can also pop up when files are being transferred to a MicroSD card.

Generally speaking, this error occurs when your external storage device has been corrupted or become a RAW file system. Besides, Recuva may fail to determine the file system type because your computer doesn't support this file type/device. Finally, it's possible that some bugs of Recuva prevent it from determining the file system type.

Part 2. Solutions to "Recuva Unable to Determine File System Type" Error

Then We will talk about the best solutions to fix the error "Recuva unable to determine file system type". Before we list down the answers, ensure that you create a full backup to avoid data loss when formatting the drive.

Solution 1. Quick Format the Device and Try Again

Quick format your external storage device is an effective way to fix the error that Recuva is unable to determine the file system type. It will not really harm your data stored on the device as long as you recover it with tools in time. However, in case of data loss, You need to back up your device with supporting tool first. Now, just follow the steps below to solve the issue.

Quick Format the Drive

Step 1. Connect your external drive to your computer and Open This PC.

Step 2. Right click the drive and click on Format.

Step 3. Select NTFS. from drop down list and then tick the box marked Quick Format.

Step 4. Finally click on Start.

quick format drive

It should be noted that there will be no file or folder after you quick format the drive. But there is no need to worry as those data are still stored in the disk space. What you should do now is using Recuva to restore the files as soon as possible and do not plug the drive into other devices.

Use Recuva to Recover Again

Step 1. Launch Recuva and choose the Advanced Mode.

Step 2. Click on Options to open a dialog box.

Step 3. Then go to Action tab and find Scan for non-deleted files.

Step 4. Select Ok and wait the whole process to finish.

Solution 2. A Perfect Alternative to Recuva for Recovering Lost/Deleted Files

If you have tried the method of quick format and failed, then you need to consider other powerful recovery tools. Here the easy-to-use AnyRecover is strongly recommended. With advanced technology applied, it allows the user to recover the deleted or lost files of different categories from SD cards, hard drives, and many other external and internal storage memory with high success rate. Besides, AnyRecover provides a preview function for you to pick the files that you really want to restore.

AnyRecover also provides a free trial that enables user to perform a deep scan, preview and recover. Thanks to this trial, you can make the final decision based on the first-hand experience.


AnyRecover Key features include:

  • Recover data with high success rate and 100% security.
  • Various file types are supported, including photos, audio files, office documents, videos, zip archives, etc.
  • Almost all the storage devices are compatible, such as camcorders, digital cameras, SSD, external hard drives, USB flash drives and many other mediums.
  • User-friendly interface and guide make it possible for beginners to finish the whole restoration.
  • Exclusive algorithms enable it to scan in a faster speed.
  • Work well on all Windows and macOS versions including the Windows 11.

Recover Your Files with AnyRecover:

Step 1. Open AnyRecover and select "External Removable Devices" mode.

select location external device

Step 2. It will proceed to scan your external device.

start scan 1

Step 3. Preview the files you want to recover by selecting the files. When you are done previewing, you can click on the "Recover" button to get all the lost data.

scanned files preview


If your external storage device has some interior errors, then the files in it may not be recovered.


This article has shown you 2 methods to fix the error that "Recuva unable to determine file system type". They are proved effective on this issue and you can give both of them a try. However, when you find a recovery tool can not satisfy your need or even has some errors, what you need most is a more powerful tool. That's AnyRecover, a professional tool that can restore your data in a quick and easy way.

Just download and give it a try!

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By Taylor Clark , to Deleted Files Recovery

Updated: Nov 03, 2022