Fixed: The file or directory is corrupt and unreadable error

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The error file directory is corrupt and unreadable is displayed by Windows computers when there is an issue with external hard drives such as USB drives, SD cards, etc. When you encounter the error, it clearly indicates that you are no longer able to access or read any data stored on the external drives. Stick till the end of the article to access your data by fixing the file or directory is corrupt and unreadable error.


error the file or directory is corrupt and unreadable

Tale of contents:

What causes file is corrupt and unreadable error?

Signs of the error file directory is corrupt and unreadable

Recover data lost due file or directory is  corrupt or unreadable

Fix the error the file directory is corrupt and unreadable

Reasons for “The file is corrupt and unreadable” error

There are various reasons that lead to the above-explained error. Most common reasons are listed below:

  1. Corruption in FAT or MFT partitions [ File allocation table, Master file table]
  2. Virus affecting the external hard drive
  3. Physical damage on the external drive or USB drive
  4. Improper insertion or removal of storage drives from the computer

Meanwhile, it is also important to know the symptoms that occur when you encounter the file directory is corrupt or unreadable. 

How do you get to know that the drive is corrupt? What are the indications of the error?

Signs of the error file directory is corrupt and unreadable

    1. The file system turns RAW when you encounter the error and external drives become unreadable.
    2. The error Location is not available along with the file directory is corrupt and unreadable is displayed.
    3. H:\ is not accessible error message pops up on the screen of a Windows PC.

Any of the above-mentioned indications can be a result of a corrupt or unreadable drive. To fix this error you will need to perform certain manual methods that involve formatting which results in data loss. Hence, you have to take a backup before you move on to perform any of the below-mentioned methods.

However, with the file or directory is corrupt and unreadable error taking away your access to data, taking backup is not at all possible. Worry not, You can still recover data from corrupt hard disk or unreadable drive.

SFWare external hard drive recovery tool is designed with an advanced scanning feature that searches the drive based on file signatures and helps you locate lost, deleted, missing or RAW partition data. Download now to recover the data in a few clicks.

Follow the below-mentioned methods to recover data and fix the error file or directory is unreadable.

  1. Recover data from the unreadable drive 
  2. Repair and fix the file directory is corrupt or unreadable error
  3. Format the drive to fix the error

4 Simple Ways to Fix the Error “The File Directory Is Corrupt and Unreadable”

Scan Drive from Disk Properties

If the error is caused to system error, this method helps you scan for bad sectors and fix errors.

  • Open My Computer or This PC. Locate the hard drive that has the issue “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable”. Go to Properties.
  • Now, click on the Tools tab -> click on Check button -> Repair. Once you check the button it scans the hard drive for bad sectors.
  • If your drive has any error on the hard drive this method helps you fix it

Perform the Startup Repair of the Disk to Fix the Error

If you are encountering the error “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable” problem, you can try the startup repair, the built-in tool on Windows. To perform this method, you need to boot your PC into Advanced Startup Options menu. Follow the below given steps to run Repair options on Windows 11/10:

Update & Security

  • Go to Start menu > Settings > Update & security > Recovery > Restart Now.
  • When your computer shows option menu -> Troubleshoot and then Advanced Options.Select troubleshoot
  • Now your PC is in Advanced Startup Options menu and you need to click the Startup Repair

Once you click Startup Repair, the system will repair all the potential errors and restart after that. It takes few minutes to complete the whole process, once the process completes, restart the computer and connect the external drive.

Perform CHKDSK to Examine and Fix File System Error on Windows 11/10/8/7

Windows provides a command-line tool for examining and fixing partition errors. This tool is named CHKDSK and can help you to fix problems like directory errors, cross-linked files and lost clusters.

Step 1: Type cmd in the search bar. Select command prompt and run as administrator
CHKDSK to fix the USB error file is corrupt and unreadable
Step 2: Type chkdsk c:/f: Here G represents the letter of the corrupted partition

Step 3: If you encounter the message Chkdsk cannot be executed because the volume is being used by some other process. Do you wish to schedule the checking of this volume the next time the PC restarts? then type Y and press Enter. Restart your PC.

If CHKDSK fails to repair the error, you can format the complete external hard drive using the format option. Follow the next section to know how to format the drive to fix the fire directory is corrupt or unreadable.

Format the Corrupted Volume or Partition

The formatting process will replace the damaged file system by configuring the hard disk with a new file system. 

Step 1: Connect your external hard drive to the computer

Step 2: Go to Windows file explorer and locate the external hard drive connected. Right-click on the drive and select format

Step 3: Select the system of the file format of your choice. Choose the Quick Format option. Now, format the drive by clicking the Start button.

The above-mentioned methods can help you in fixing the error message – The file directory is corrupt or unreadable. However, by using repairing techniques you will always have the possibility of losing out all the data that is stored on your external hard drive.

If you are wondering how to recover data from the formatted hard drive after fixing the error the file or directory is corrupt and unreadable, follow the steps given below and get your access back to the data stored on the drive.

Recover Data Lost due file or directory is  Corrupt or Unreadable:

You can quickly recover data lost due to the error file is corrupt and unreadable by following the steps given below:

Download and Install the software. Connect the external hard drive to your computer and launch SFWare external hard drive recovery tool.

Free Download for WindowsFree Download for Mac

Click on the Drive/ Partition Recovery, it scans for the lost files and displays the disks found. Check the disk with the suitable file system and select the file types you want to recover from corrupted hard disk

Recover data from USB

The software initiates the scan of the selected drive and displays files in File Type View or the Data Type View. Double click on the recovered files to preview the recovered files and if you are satisfied with the results, save the files.

Recoverable files available on drive

with the help of SFWare, you can also recover data from any unbootable hard drive. Click on the link to know how to perform unbootable hard drive recovery.


The above-mentioned methods used to fix the error will surely help you in solving the issue, but using CHKDSK and format techniques might lead to the data loss stored on the drive. Hence, it is recommended to use a safe and secure hard recovery tool. SFWare External hard drive recovery tool supports data recovery from both Windows and Mac computers of any version. 

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