Quick Fix: The File or Directory is Corrupted and Unreadable

Sometimes, you may plug in your external hard drive into your Windows OS PC to retrieve important data and get the prompt: “Drive H:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.” If you have encountered this error, stay calm, you can always retrieve your valuable data. In this article we will be considering three different ways to fix this error.

file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

1 How to Retrieve Data When “The File or Directory is Corrupted and Unreadable”

Third-party data recovery tools like AnyRecover can help you not only fix corrupt or unreadable files and drives, but also recover lost data. Although there are many such tools out there, AnyRecover is known for its versatility and reliability as it helps users fix errors and recover lost data within minutes. Fast, reliable, and requiring no technical knowledge, it is a good recovery tool for every computer user.


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Key features of AnyRecove
  • Recover any type of deleted or lost data files, including documents, photos, music, emails, videos, etc.

  • Fix any kind of external storage device and quickly recover lost data from all storage types, including hard drives, USB drives, camcorders, cameras, etc.

  • Recover files lost to varying data loss situations, including sudden power cut, file corruption, data loss, software crash, and accidental formatting or deletion.

  • Experience the power of the software for free before making your cost-efficient purchase.

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Steps to recover your data if the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable:

Step 1: Run AnyRecover and select your preferred recovery mode. Note: You can select “External Device Recovery” to cover for any external device data loss situation.

anyrecover screenshot

Step 2: Connect your damaged external storage device to PC using a USB cord.

anyrecover screenshot

Step 3: With your device connected, select the disk and file type you want to recover and click “Scan” to proceed.

anyrecover screenshot

Step 4: Preview identified lost files to ensure you have the right files and click “Recover” to retrieve lost data.

For a deeper scan, the “All-Round Recovery” mode enables you retrieve even more difficult to access lost data.

anyrecover screenshot    anyrecover screenshot

Note: Avoid overwriting or formatting lost drives before attempting recovery as it makes the process more difficult and waters down the guarantee of success.

2 Other Solutions to Repair Corrupted or Damaged Disks

Your computer provides you with two methods by which you can check and repair your damaged disk in order to access your lost files. It is important to try out these methods before considering any more advanced options.

1. Carry out Chkdsk to check and repair errors

The command line tool “Chkdsk” provided by Windows allows users to run checks on faulty disks and fix the errors. This method has saved many Windows users currently in your position from heartache. Chkdsk can be used to fix everything from cross-linked files to lost clusters, and directory errors. However, this tool might have problems retrieving files from a corrupted partition.

Go to the search option besides your “Start” button and input “cmd”.

Command Prompt should appear on your search list. Right click and select Run as Administrator. Click "Yes" on the dialog box that appears.

Input the command "chkdsk /f drive" (where “drive” is a letter representing the faulty drive) and click enter.

Wait for the process to run.


2. Format the corrupted volume or partition

Formatting your drive is your best option if you do not have any important files on the drive. The format process replaces the damaged file system on your drive and replaces it with a new one. However, it also wipes off all data stored on the partition and can make recovery of lost files extremely difficult.

Connect the external drive and open your Windows File Explorer.

Right click on the corrupted drive and select "Format…"

Select "Quick Format" after choosing your preferred file format or system. And click Start to begin formatting the drive.

format drive

3 Causes of “The File or Directory is Corrupted and Unreadable”

“The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable” is a fairly common error message generated by Windows when it cannot access the external hard drive plugged into your system. It is basically a way of telling you your external hard drive is damaged and the content inaccessible in the meantime. There are multiple reasons why this error message may appear on your computer. Some of these include:

Virus and malware attack on the external hard drive

Unplugging the external drive from your system improperly

Corruption of the drive’s FAT or MFT partitions

Physical damage of the external storage device

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By  James Crawford , to External Device Recovery

Posted on Dec 10, 2018  ( Updated: Dec 16, 2019 )

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