How to Fix or Repair Corrupted External Hard Drive

Summary: In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of repair corrupted external hard drive, so you can regain access to your valuable files and mitigate any potential data loss.

A corrupted external hard drive can be a nightmare for anyone relying on it to store important files and data. Whether it’s due to a sudden power outage, physical damage, or a software issue, the consequences of a corrupted external hard drive can range from frustrating to devastating. However, before you panic and assume that all your data is lost forever, there are several methods and techniques you can try to fix corrupted external hard drive.

  1. Safely disconnect the drive: Before attempting any repairs, make sure to safely disconnect the external hard drive from your computer to avoid further damage.
  2. Run a disk check: Use built-in utilities like CHKDSK (Windows) or Disk Utility (Mac) to scan and repair any logical errors on the drive.
  3. Try data recovery software: If the disk check doesn’t work or you have important files that are inaccessible, consider using reliable data recovery software.

The Causes Behind of External Hard Drive Corruption

  1. Power surges or fluctuations: Sudden changes in power supply can cause the external hard drive to get corrupted.
  2. Physical damage: Dropping or mishandling the external hard drive can lead to corruption of its internal components.
  3. Exposure to extreme temperatures: Exposing the external hard drive to extremely hot or cold temperatures can cause damage and corruption.
  4. Virus or malware infections: If the external hard drive gets infected with a virus or malware, it can result in data corruption.
  5. Improper ejection: Disconnecting the external hard drive from the computer without properly ejecting it can cause corruption.
  6. File system errors: Errors within the file system of the external hard drive can lead to corruption of files and folders.
  7. Software conflicts: Conflicts between different software applications running on the computer can cause issues with the external hard drive’s functionality, leading to corruption.
  8. Bad sectors on the hard drive: Physical damage or wear and tear can result in bad sectors on the external hard drive, which may cause corruption of data stored in those sectors.
  9. Outdated firmware or drivers: Using outdated firmware or drivers for the external hard drive can result in compatibility issues and eventually lead to corruption.
  10. Accidental formatting or deletion of files: Mistakenly formatting or deleting important files from the external hard drive without proper backup can result in permanent data loss and corruption.
  11. Overheating: Continuous usage without adequate cooling mechanisms may overheat the external hard drive, causing it to malfunction and corrupt data.
  12. Age of Hard Drive: As an external hard drive gets older, its internal components may start deteriorating, increasing the risk of corruption.

Data Recovery Methods for a Corrupted External Hard Drive

Data recovery methods for a corrupted external hard drive involve several techniques that can help retrieve lost or inaccessible data. One common method is using specialized software designed for data recovery. These programs scan the corrupted drive, searching for any recoverable files and allowing users to select and restore them. Another approach is to connect the corrupted hard drive as a secondary storage device to another computer and attempt data recovery through file explorers or command line tools.

Repair corrupted external hard drive by using specialized software designed for data recovery and repair. Data retrieval from hard drives involves extracting stored information for analysis or backup.

Use a Different USB Cable or PC

  1. Check the USB cable: Inspect the USB cable that you are currently using. Look for any signs of damage or wear, such as frayed wires or loose connectors. If you notice any issues, it is recommended to replace the cable.
  2. Try a different USB cable: If you have access to another USB cable, preferably one that is known to be in good working condition, try using it instead. Connect your device to your computer using the new cable and see if it resolves the issue.
  3. Verify the USB ports: Make sure that both the USB port on your computer and the port on your device are clean and free from debris. Sometimes dirt or dust can interfere with the connection. Use a soft cloth or compressed air to gently clean both ports if needed.
  4. Connect to a different computer: If possible, connect your device to a different computer altogether. This will help determine whether the issue lies with your current computer’s hardware or software settings.
  5. Update drivers: Ensure that you have installed the latest drivers for your device on your computer. Outdated drivers can sometimes lead to connectivity problems. Visit the manufacturer’s website and download any available updates for your specific device model.
  6. Restart devices: Sometimes simply restarting both your computer and device can resolve temporary glitches or conflicts causing connectivity issues.
  7. Test other USB devices: To further troubleshoot, try connecting other USB devices (such as a flash drive or external hard drive) to both your current computer and alternate computers to see if they are recognized correctly.

For a comprehensive guide on how to navigate through operating system recovery, check out our detailed article here.

  1. Begin by downloading a reputable data recovery software from a trusted source.
  2. Install the software on your computer following the provided instructions.
  3. Launch the data recovery software and select the storage device or location where you want to recover your lost data.
  4. Choose the type of file you want to recover (e.g., documents, photos, videos) or select the option for recovering all types of files.
  5. Start the scanning process by clicking on the Scan or Start button.
  6. Wait for the software to scan your selected storage device thoroughly. This may take some time, depending on the size of the storage and the amount of data to be recovered.
  7. Once the scan is complete, review the list of recoverable files displayed by the software.
  8. Preview each file to ensure it is intact and recoverable before proceeding with restoration.
  9. Select all desired files or choose specific ones that you wish to recover and click on the Recover button.
  10. Choose a safe location for saving the recovered files, preferably on a different drive or external storage device to prevent overwriting any existing data.
  11. Wait for the recovery process to complete, which may take some time depending on file size and quantity.
  12. Verify that all recovered files are successfully restored by accessing them in their new location.
  13. Safely exit or close out of the data recovery software once you have confirmed successful recovery.
If you’ve accidentally deleted important video files, don’t worry—our step-by-step guide on how to recover deleted large video files has got you covered.

How to Fix External Hard Drive without Formatting

If you’re experiencing issues with your external hard drive and want to repair corrupted external hard drive without formatting. There are a few steps you can take.

Reassigning or Changing the Drive Letter

Here are the steps to assign or change the drive letter for a corrupted external hard drive without formatting:

  1. Connect the corrupted external hard drive to your computer using a USB cable or any other suitable connection method.
  2. Open the Disk Management utility on your Windows computer. You can access it by right-clicking on the Start button and selecting Disk Management from the menu that appears.
  3. In the Disk Management window, you will see a list of all connected storage devices. Locate your corrupted external hard drive in the list.
  4. Right-click on the partition of the corrupted external hard drive that you want to assign or change the drive letter for.
  5. From the context menu, select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  6. In the new window that appears, click on the Change button.
  7. Select an available drive letter from the drop-down menu and click OK. Make sure to choose a letter that is not already assigned to another drive.
  8. A warning message might appear stating that some programs may rely on drive letters to function properly. If you are sure about changing the drive letter, click Yes to continue.
  9. Once done, close all windows and restart your computer if necessary.

After following these steps, your corrupted external hard drive should now have a new assigned or changed drive letter without requiring formatting.

Utilizing CHKDSK to Mend File System Errors

One common method to repair corrupted external hard drive is to run a disk checking tool such as CHKDSK in Windows.

  1. Connect the corrupted external hard drive to your computer using an appropriate cable.
  2. Open the File Explorer on your Windows computer by pressing the Windows key + E.
  3. Locate and right-click on the corrupted external hard drive in the list of available drives.
  4. From the context menu, select Properties.
  5. In the Properties window, go to the Tools tab.
  6. Under the Error-checking section, click on Check (or Check now).
  7. If prompted, select both options: Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors.
  8. Click on Start. This will initiate a scan of your external hard drive for any file system errors or bad sectors.
  9. Wait patiently while CHKDSK completes scanning and fixes any detected issues with your external hard drive’s file system.
  10. Once CHKDSK completes its process, you will receive a summary of actions taken and any problems found during the scan.
  11. Safely eject or disconnect your external hard drive from your computer.
  12. By following these steps, you should be able to use the CHKDSK utility to fix file system errors for a corrupted external hard drive successfully.

Looking to access memories from an old device? Dive into our tutorial on how to get data from an old hard drive.

repair external hard drive

How to Format Corrupted External Hard Drive

  1. Determine the type of formatting: Decide whether you want to perform a quick format or a full format. A quick format erases the file system metadata but doesn’t scan for bad sectors, while a full format performs a more thorough check of the entire disk surface.
  2. Access disk management: Go to your computer’s control panel and find Disk Management or Storage settings. This option allows you to view all available drives connected to your system.
  3. Select the problematic hard drive: Locate the hard drive that needs repairing from the list displayed in disk management. Make sure you identify it accurately to avoid formatting the wrong drive.
  4. Format the hard drive: Once you’ve selected the correct hard drive, right-click on it and choose the Format option from the context menu that appears.
  5. Choose formatting options: A new window will open with various formatting options. Select either quick format or full format, depending on your preference and requirements.
  6. Start formatting process: After selecting your preferred options, click on Start or OK to initiate the formatting process. A warning message may appear, indicating that all data on the selected drive will be erased during this process.
  7. Wait for completion: The time required for formatting depends on various factors such as disk size and computing speed. Be patient and wait until the process completes; do not interrupt it prematurely.
  8. Verify completion: Once formatting is finished, there should be an indication stating that it was successful. Double-check if any error messages are displayed during or after this step.
  9. Reinstall operating system (if necessary): If you intend to use the hard drive as your system disk, you may need to reinstall the operating system and necessary drivers after formatting. Follow the specific instructions provided by your operating system’s installation wizard.

Another option to repair corrupted external hard drive is using third-party data recovery software that can scan and retrieve files from the damaged drive.

Struggling with a faulty external drive? Learn how to repair a corrupted external hard drive with our in-depth guide.

Tips for Hard Drive Protection

  1. Backup your data regularly: Create a habit of backing up all important files and documents on your hard drive. This can be done by using external hard drives, cloud storage services, or dedicated backup software.
  2. Install reliable antivirus software: Protect your hard drive from viruses, malware, and other malicious threats by installing reputable antivirus software. Ensure that it is kept up to date to defend against the latest threats.
  3. Avoid physical damage: Handle your hard drive with care to prevent physical damage. Avoid dropping it, exposing it to extreme temperatures, or subjecting it to excessive vibrations.
  4. Use surge protectors: Connect your computer and hard drive to surge protectors or uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) to safeguard them from power surges or sudden power outages that can potentially damage the hardware.
  5. Keep your system updated: Regularly update your operating system and software applications to ensure they have the latest security patches. These updates often include bug fixes and security enhancements that help protect your hard drive.
  6. Be cautious with downloads and email attachments: Exercise caution when downloading files from the internet or opening email attachments. Scan them for viruses before accessing them to avoid potential harm to your hard drive.
  7. Encrypt sensitive data: If you store sensitive information on your hard drive, consider encrypting it with strong encryption algorithms. This adds an extra layer of protection in case someone gains unauthorized access to your files.
  8. Avoid overloading storage capacity: Do not fill up your hard drive to its maximum capacity as this can lead to performance issues and higher chances of data corruption. Leave some free space for smooth operation.
  9. Perform regular disk maintenance: Conduct regular disk maintenance tasks such as disk cleanup and defragmentation to optimize the performance of your hard drive and improve its lifespan.
  10. Secure physical access: If possible, keep your computer and hard drive in a secure location to prevent unauthorized access. Consider using locks or password-protected enclosures to enhance security.


Repair corrupted external hard drive is an essential task for anyone who wants to retrieve their valuable data and restore the drive’s functionality. In this article, we have explored various methods and steps to fix a corrupted external hard drive effectively.

Firstly, we discussed the importance of diagnosing the root cause of the corruption before proceeding with any repair method. This ensures that you choose the most appropriate solution for your specific situation.

Next, we examined some common software-based solutions such as using disk checking tools like CHKDSK or third-party data recovery software. These tools can help identify and fix errors within the file system, allowing you to regain access to your files.

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