5 Ways to Fix Corrupted External Hard Drive

By Dominic Chooper on July 15, 2023

When a hard drive, external or internal, gets corrupted, it will not work anymore and you may think that every data, files, and images close to your heart is gone, forever.

However, that is not true. There are some reliable and effective third-party software tools that allow you to fix a corrupted hard drive most efficiently. However, not all users are comfortable with using such software.

Here is an article that will tell you about the other ways to fix a corrupted external hard drive without using a third-party data recovery tool.


Why Does an External Hard Drive Get Corrupted?

One common cause for an external hard drive, or even an internal hard drive, to get corrupted is due to sudden power failure. Also, when the USB port is loose and the CPU is moved during data transfer, the external hard drive may get corrupted.

Sometimes, your PC may have viruses or malware, which may corrupt the external drive as well.

Some other reasons for an external hard drive to get corrupted are:

There are also some instances when the driver of the external hard drive can also corrupt the device.

Irrespective of the reason, a corrupted hard drive, internal or external, will not let you it and cause a lot of frustration. Fortunately, there are a few quick and easy fixes t this issue.

How to Fix Corrupted External Hard Drive?

Fix Corrupted External Hard Drive

You may start with the simple fixes to a corrupted external hard drive by connecting it to a different computer, operating system or even use the same computer and operating system but a different cable or a different USB port.

If that does not work, you can try other fixes, such as:

You can follow these specific steps for the different methods to fix a corrupted external hard drive.

Method 1: Run Check Disk Command

A lot of times, simply running the Check Disk command can solve a lot of issues with computer hardware and software, including a corrupted external hard drive. So, start by trying it.

You can run the Check Disk command in the Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell. The outcome will be the same.


Typing in the command chkdsk E: /r

(The letter ‘E’ here is just for an example. Replace it with your drive letter).

This will start scanning the hard drive for errors and bad sectors and fixing them, if there is any. The process may take some time to complete depending on the size of your external hard drive and the amount of data stored in it.

Wait for the scanning process to be complete and then type exit and hit Enter to close the prompt.

If you are using the Command Prompt, you can also run the command chkdsk f: /r/f, as shown in the image below:

the command chkdsk f: /r/f

This will also scan and repair the issues in the hard drive. Restart the system and find out whether the issue has been resolved or not.

Method 2: Perform a Quick Format

Sometimes performing a Quick Format on your corrupted external hard drive may resolve the issue and make it work again.


Selecting Format from the options

Read Also:  12 Ways to Fix PC Stuck on Let’s Connect You to a Network

Clicking on the small square box next to Quick Format

This will format the disk.

Note: Make sure that you select Quick Format. Otherwise, the system will perform a full format, which will erase all data permanently.

You can also repair the corrupted external hard drive by clicking on Properties after right-clicking on the drive icon in This PC as before. (Drive (F:) in this case).

Clicking on Properties after right-clicking on the drive icon

check the drive for file system errors

This will open the Error Checking USB Drive (F:) window, which will say that ‘We found errors on this drive. To prevent data loss, repair this drive now.’

Clicking on Repair drive

This will repair the drive by fixing the internal issues and errors. It will take some time. When the process is complete and the following window says that it has been completed successfully, close the window.

Restart your computer and check whether the issue has been resolved or not.

Method 3: Using the Disk Management Utility

Another useful feature of Windows is the Disk Management utility that helps in solving a lot of issues. You can use this feature to format the external drive as well.


Clicking on New Simple Volume

This will open the New Simple Volume Wizard. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to initiate and complete the formatting process for your external hard drive. It will be functional again.

You can also try assigning a different drive letter to the external hard drive to resolve the issue. This is also done from the Disk Management utility.

Selecting Change Drive Letter and Paths

Clicking on the Change button

Assign the following drive letter

Remove the drive properly, restart your system, connect the external drive again and the issue will probably be resolved.

Read Also:  How to Fix a Broken Router Antenna?

Method 4: Running the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

You may not know that there is a Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter in Windows which is not accessible from Settings. However, you can access it in the following way and use it to fix the errors in the corrupted external hard drive.


Typing the command msdt.exe -id devicediagnostic

Hardware and Devices troubleshooter window

It will scan the hard drive automatically for any existing errors and issues of corruption and fix them.

Click on Apply this fix in the window that appears once the scanning and fixing process is complete, and it will fix the issue to restore it back to normal.

It will also notify you about the issues that it cannot fix by itself and provide you with a probable solution.

Whatever the case, restart the system and your corrupted external hard drive may be functional now.

Method 5: Reinstall the Drivers of the External Hard Drive

Sometimes, the drivers of your external hard drive can even corrupt it. Reinstalling the drive may resolve this issue most of the time.


Clicking on the Uninstall device option from the drop-down menu

Uninstall Device window

Reinsert the external hard drive after the computer restarts and the issue will be resolved.


So that is all you have to do in order to fix a corrupted external hard drive.

However, keep in mind that these steps will make your corrupted external hard drive functional again and do not guarantee data recovery.