How to fix "Drive not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable"?

Updated by Admin to RAW Drive Recovery & Repair on June 10th, 2019

The symptoms of 'The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable'

One day, when you plugged an external hard drive, USB drive, flash drive, SD card, memory card or other storage device into your Windows computer and was prompted: Location is not available. Drive H:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.

Drive not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.

Here are some symptoms of "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" error:

1. If you check the file system of the storage device in Disk Management or Properties, it has become RAW file system or unknown file system.

2. When encountering "Location is not available. Drive H:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" error, you can not access the storage device without formatting it, but if you format it, the data will be lost.

3. The used space and free space are 0 bytes in Properties.

RAW drive 0 bytes

To avoid data loss, next, we will show you how to fix the error on Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP with three solutions.

Three solutions to fix "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable"

Solution 1: Repair disk errors and corrupted file system with chkdsk

Chkdsk.exe is a command line tool built-in Windows to check and repair disk errors and file system errors, like lost clusters, cross-linked files, directory errors, etc.

Step 1: Click Windows Start menu, type CMD in the search bar.

Step 2: Right click on Command Prompt from the search results and choose Run as Administrator.

command prompt

Step 3: After seeing Command Prompt window, type chkdsk H: /f (Replace H with the drive letter of your inaccessible partition or drive) in the command window and press Enter.

It takes some time to finish the process depending on the amount of the files and folders on that partition, the read speed of the drive and the capacity of the volume, etc.

Although chkdsk is always the way that comes to your mind at the first time, but it won't work in some cases and reports: "The type of the file system is RAW. Chkdsk is not available for RAW drives" or sometimes it may over-repair the drive and cause data loss, so this method is not recommended to fix the error if you want to recover data.

Solution 2: Fix the inaccessible drive with RAW partition recovery software

M3 Data Recovery is a RAW partition recovery software which can easily fix "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable." issue without formatting and data loss on Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP.

M3 Data Recovery not only can fix RAW drive, recover RAW file system, convert RAW to NTFS, change RAW file system to FAT32, but also recover data from RAW drive, inaccessible or corrupted drive.

Step 1: Download and install M3 Data Recovery software.

Step 2: If the inaccessible drive is an external hard drive, please connect it to your Windows computer.

Step 3: Launch M3 Data Recovery software and choose RAW Drive Recovery module.

Free data recovery software

If the inaccessible drive is Bitlocker encrypted, please choose Bitlocker Recovery module to recover data from inaccessible Bitlocker encrypted drive.

Step 4: Select the inaccessible drive and click Next to scan the lost data.

Scan the data from the inaccessible drive

Step 5: After the scan completes, please check and preview the found files.

Check the found files with M3 Data Recovery

If there are some files missing after the scan completes, please return to home window, choose Data Recovery module, select the same inaccessible drive and then check deep scan option to scan again.

Step 5: Click "Fix Drive" to repair the inaccessible drive.

Fix the inaccessible drive with M3 Data Recovery

Once the inaccessible drive is fixed by M3 Data Recovery, you can access the drive without being prompted "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" error, but in some cases, the damage to the file system is severely damaged so that the inaccessible drive cannot be fixed, data recovery is the last choice for that case.

Solution 3: Fix the inaccessible drive by data recovery and reformatting

Besides to fix the corrupted/inaccessible drive, M3 Data Recovery software can also recover data from inaccessible, corrupted, RAW, deleted, lost partition, recover deleted files even if emptied from Recycle Bin, recover data from Bitlocker encrypted drive, etc.

Step 1: Download and install M3 Data Recovery software.

Step 2: If the inaccessible drive is an external hard drive, please connect it to your Windows computer.

Step 3: Launch M3 Data Recovery software and choose Data Recovery module.

Free data recovery software

If the inaccessible drive is Bitlocker encrypted, please choose Bitlocker Recovery module to recover data from inaccessible Bitlocker encrypted drive.

Step 4: Select the inaccessible drive and click Next to scan the lost data.

Scan the data from the inaccessible drive

Step 5: After the scan completes, please check and preview the found files.

Check the found files with M3 Data Recovery

If there are some files missing after the scan completes, please try deep scan built-in Data Recovery module to find more files.

Step 6: Click Recover button and select another drive as the storage destiation to start data recovery process.

Step 7: After ensuring all the lost files are recovered and all the recovered files can be opened, please right click the inaccessible drive in My Computer or Disk Management and select "Format" to reformat the inaccessible drive. After the format completes, you can open the drive again without seeing "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" error.

4 causes for "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable"

Although the drive not accessible error is common to many of us, but the causes are still unknown for most users. Why did this error happen? Let us see the details:

1. MFT or FAT corruption

For Windows users, the most frequently used file system is NTFS and FAT32. Then what is MFT, MFT is short of Master File Table and is one part of NTFS file system structure. MFT is used to describe all files on the volume, including file names, timestamps, stream names, and lists of cluster numbers where data streams reside, indexes, security identifiers, and file attributes like read-only, compressed, encrypted, etc. Therefore, once MFT got corrupted, the Operating system won't able to access the files from NTFS drive.

FAT is short of File Allocation Table and is one part of FAT file system structure. FAT is used to tell the Operating System where the file is stored, so FAT corruption caused drive not accessible.

2. Virus infection

Once the file system (Such as DBR, MFT, FAT) of the drive is damaged by the virus, the drive will become inaccessible and the files are not visible for users without a data recovery software. At that time, it is too late to scan the virus by anti-virus program after finding drive not accessible.

3. External drive is not safely ejected from PC

In our digital life, we usually transfer files via external drive, but we don't keep a good habit to safely eject the external drive. What's strange is that the most common data loss reason is - directly unplug the external drive from the computer when it is transferring or reading data, so next time, please always click "Safely remove hardware" option to safely eject the external drive and unplug it from the computer when seeing the notification.

4. Hardware issue

Hardware issue is another cause reason, while the common hardware issue is bad sectors. What is bad sector? Bad sector is a kind of the sector that is not writable due to permanent damage. We know the file system information is stored on a specific location on the drive. If there are bad sectors on this specific loation, the operating system fails to access the file system and causes the users not to access the drive and get the error: "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable".

If the storage device has hardware issue and you lost the important data due to it, please send the physically failed storage device to a local data recovery service for help (hardware issue is beyond of any data recovery software), it will cost you several hundreds dollars, even several thouhsands dollars, depending on the amount of the files and folders you lost.

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