How To Repair Corrupt External Hard Drive Without Losing Data?

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When external drives get corrupted, drive becomes inaccessible and your data is jeopardized. To access your important files and folders existing on the corrupt external drives, you need to fix the it. With the help of the troubleshooting steps offered in the article, you can repair the external drive and recover data without causing any damage to it.

Corrupt External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Most of the external hard drive users encounter problems like “external hard disk corrupted and data can’t be accessed any more”. An external drive could get damaged or corrupt by various factors.

The major reason behind the external drive corruption could be errors in the file system. This can be caused by bad sectors, sudden system shutdown (crash), software or hardware issues and sometimes physical damage. Any damage caused to file system makes hard drive RAW and data becomes inaccessible.

Quick Navigation:

Indications of Corrupt External Drive Signs of drive corruption encountered while using the external HDDs.
Recover Files from Corrupted External Hard Drive Recovery of external drive data is important to keep your data safe
and intact. Most of the repair methods involves data loss situations.
Fix Corruption in External Drive Using 2 Methods 1. Using CHKDSK in Command Prompt

2. By Formatting the drive

Few Errors Messages That Prompts When External HDD Is Damaged/ Corrupt

When external drive is corrupted, error messages are prompted to indicate that the drive is no more accessible by the user. A few common error messages are given below:

Error1: “External hard drive not recognized”. The message immediately pops up when device plugged into system.

Error2: “G:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable“. Where G is the external drive connected

Error3: If drive letter becomes inaccessible and says “format the disk in the drive before using it“.

Error4: The hard drive becomes RAW and prompts “Disk needs to be formatted” error.

Error5: External hard disk shows 0 bytes.

Not only on Windows, but you can also encounter the error External hard drive not recognized on Mac computers.

When any of the above-mentioned errors or any other possible signs of data corruption are seen, the first step to keep your data secure is recovering it from the drive. Because, the methods used to fix the external drive may involve data loss.

If you are wondering, how to recover inaccessible data from the corrupt drive, here is best and professionals recommended tool. With SFWare hard drive recovery tool, you are not only able to recover corrupt external drive but can also recover formatted data from the drive. however, it is recommended to recover your data initially before heading to repair.

Free Download for WindowsFree Download for Mac

How to Repair Corrupt External Drives?

You can try fixing corruption on external hard disk using 2 methods: CHKDSK in Command Prompt and Formatting the drive.

Where, CHKDSK is a Windows system inbuilt utility to check for logical errors and fix them. Formatting the drive fixes the drive by erasing all the corrupt data stored on the drive.

Method 1: Repair External Hard Drive Using CMD(CHKDSK)

If you the corruption is due to missing or damaged System Files, all you need to do is restore corrupt system files. To fix corrupt system files, you can make use of CHKDSK.

Type cmd in search, Select Command Prompt and Run as Administrator

Next, type chkdsk C:/f -> press Enter where, C is an external drive
CHKDSK to fix corrupt external drive

Finally, type sfc /scannow -> Enter.

Where, sfc /scannow is a system file checker utility in Windows that helps scan for corruption in Windows File System and restore them.

Run CHKDSK To Fix Errors and Bad Sectors

If you want to perform CHKDSK on your disk, please ensure you don’t have any important data on the external hard disk. There may be chances of data loss. If all the important data is properly backed up, you can attempt to fix corrupted hard drive with CHKDSK utility. Or you can try recovering data using a trusted tool and go ahead with the following steps.

Step 1: Next to the Windows Start menu, in the ‘Search Windows’ box, type cmd.

Step 2: On the search result, right-click on the Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.

Step 3: Type the command: CHKDSK F: /f /r /x (F should be replaced by your external drive letter)

The “/f” parameter tells CHKDSK to fix any errors it finds.

“/r” tells it to locate the bad sectors on the drive and recover readable information.

“/x” forces the drive to dismount before the process starts.

If you fail to repair corrupt external disk using CHKDSK, you can try formatting the external storage drive. Although, formatting is the easiest way to fix a corruption in external hard drive, it also involves losing data permanently. Therefore, have backup of your important data or recover data from the drive.

Method 2: Fix External Drive Corruption by Formatting the Drive

To fix corruption by formatting the drive, all you need to do is connect external drive to your computer and navigate to the drive or go to My computer.

Find the external drive and right-click on the drive. Select Format from the option and click ok. The prompted, message appears on the screen saying, Formatting the drive will erase all the data on the disk, click OK. Now, your drive is completely formatted.

What if you have not taken backup? Do not worry. With SFWare, you can recover corrupted data from the external drive. Also, not only corrupt but also recovers data from formatted external drives and RAW drives when no file system was recognized.

How to Recover Data from Corrupt External Hard Drive?

To recover data from corrupt external drives, download and install the application on your Windows or Mac systems. Connect the external hard drive to your computer and launch SFWare External Hard Drive Recovery tool.

Free Download for WindowsFree Download for Mac

Step 1: Click on the Recover Drive/Partition from the main screen -> Drive/ Partition Recovery, it scans for the lost files and displays the disks found

Select Recover Files to Restore Files from Missing Recycle Bin

Step 2: Check the disk with suitable file system and select the file types you want to recover form corrupted external hard drive

Select C Drive

Step 3: Once the scanning completes, you can use the File Type View or the Data Type View option to view recovered files.

View recoverable files in Either Data View or File Type View

Step 4: Double click on the recovered files to preview the recovered files and save the them in the desired location.

Preview recovered files from missing recycle bin


Hope you have found out the best solution for the most distressing problem of recovering data from corrupted external HDD. To keep your data safe always take a regular backup and still if you miss out any data from External hard disk, SFWare External Hard Drive can help you out in recovering files from external as well as internal hard disk.

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