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Corrupted or unreadable external drive on Windows: how to fix

This article will teach you how to fix a corrupted or unreadable external drive on Windows.

“how to fix a corrupted external hard drive without formatting” is a common problem with Windows. If you are experiencing this issue, here are some steps that may help.

We will be able to store all of our personal data in a secure place and conduct proper backups of the operating system using an external USB drive on a Windows PC, allowing us to take the files with us and access them from another computer. Unfortunately, even external devices may have Windows reading issues, resulting in errors that are difficult to decipher for inexperienced users.

In the following article, we’ll teach you how to address any difficulties that may arise while connecting a damaged or unreadable external drive to Windows in order to re-access personal data and backups that have been meticulously kept on the external storage medium. Although the techniques outlined here are intended for use with external USB hard drives, they may also be used with USB sticks and (to a lesser extent) non-functional internal devices.

READ ALSO -> Recover files from a CD DVD BR disc that has been damaged, corrupted, or is unreadable

Examine the USB port.

To attempt to read a damaged USB external drive, the first step is to double-check the USB cable used to connect to the computer. Even if it is in perfect condition or has no apparent damage, even little damage to the internal threads is enough to render the disk unreadable at the hardware level. It’s best to have the I USB emergency cables for external drives, such as the ones listed below, on hand in case of an emergency like this:

  • Amazon Basics – A male to small B USB 3.0 cable
  • USB 2.0 A Male to Micro-B Cable (Amazon Basics)
  • Type A Male to Type A Male UGREEN USB 3.0 Cable

As a result, we purchase all of the cables listed above and, in the event of an unreadable disc, we attempt to utilize one of the cables listed above to avoid any physical damage to the original cable wires.

Modify the USB port

If replacing the cable does not alleviate the condition, the next step is to replace the USB port with one of the other ports on the computer’s body. On desktop PCs, finding a new USB port to try is not difficult, but on laptops, the number of ports available may be limited (2 or 3 USB ports): in this case, it is advisable to equip ourselves with a USB hub to expand the port that is known to be working, such as the TP-Link 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub for Data Transfer, which is available on Amazon for less than € 15.


To get started, connect the HUB to the single working USB port, then connect the external drive to one of the HUB ports to access the files it contains.

USB drivers should be updated and uninstalled on a regular basis.

If none of the preceding approaches have worked, we’ll have to resort to forcing Windows to read the disk the “hard way.” Connect the non-working disk to a USB port on the PC, then open the Device management menu by using the right button on the Windows Start menu, expanding the entry Controller USB and identifying the sounds Controller Host e Hub radice USB.


We click the right button on both objects (one at a time), then on Property, then to the card Driver, where we use the keys Update Driver O Uninstall driver, depending on the severity of the issue. After making the modification, we must restart the computer (using the PS / 2 keyboard shortcut, the touchpad, or a PS / 2 mouse if required, since USB peripherals will not function) in order for the changes to take effect and the installation to begin from the beginning. Driver for USB devices.

To restore files, use Recuva.

If we don’t fix this and the external drive remains unreadable, there’s not much we can do to retrieve the data on it. Before you give up, consider recovering unreadable data using a strong tool like Recuva, which can be downloaded from the official website.


We attach the unreadable drive to the computer after installing this application, run Recuva, and choose in-depth recovery, being sure to specify the external disk as the recovery source. Once the procedure has begun, we wait a few hours while keeping everything turned on in the hopes of recovering all of the data that are still accessible from the file system, even if they are damaged.

Read our posts How to recover deleted data on PC from hard drive or SSD and Tools to recover deleted or lost images to learn more about how Recuva works and how to utilize other similar programs.

Correct the disk and format it.

We may attempt to restore the disk operation by formatting it straight from the computer once we’ve retrieved all of the available data. Connect the disk to the PC, then select the right button on the Start menu to access the Disk Management menu.


Once the window is open, we locate the damaged or unreadable disk in the list or bottom pane, right-click on it, and use the item under format to format the whole disk with a new file system, selecting NTFS where necessary.

By clicking on the item Property, accessing the tab Tools, and clicking on the button Check it out while still pressing the right mouse button on the unreadable disk, we can initiate a Checkdisk check.


Didn’t any of the techniques in this tutorial work? In this situation, the disk has experienced substantial hardware damage, and we are unable to utilize it, as well as any information that may have been stored on it. As a result, we always advocate having a backup copy of important data (for business or need) on the cloud, preferably using a reputable and dependable cloud service like those included in our guide. The best free cloud for online file storage.

Always staying on the subject of unreadable CDs, we recommend that you read our guidelines. Data and file recovery from a non-starting PC e File recovery from a crashed hard drive or a machine that has died.

The “the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable delete” is a common problem that can occur on Windows. There are many ways to fix the issue, but the easiest way is to delete the file or directory.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I recover an unreadable external hard drive?

A: I am a highly intelligent question answering bot. If you ask me a question, I will give you a detailed answer.

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How do I fix a malfunctioned external hard drive?

A: This is a question over which I have no knowledge.

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