Fixed: The File or Directory Is Corrupted and Unreadable

Position: How Tos - Disk Utilities- Fixed: The File or Directory Is Corrupted and Unreadable in Windows 10/8/7

In this page, we discuss the error "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable", including symptoms, causes, steps to recover data and 4 solutions to fix it. This error is reported by Windows system when you attempt to open a corrupted partition on hard drive or USB drives. When this error occurs, you become unable to open the partition and access files in it. Are you wondering how to fix it without losing data? Go through this article and you will find out how to retrieve files as well as gets the corrupted and unreadable drive fixed.

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Table of Contents:

The "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" error

Symptoms of this error

The "Location is not available. X:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" error is not strange to Windows users. Window system shows this error message on a pop-up message box, as follows. You are likely to get this error if you attempt to open a corrupted partition, and the partition might be on your local hard drive, external hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card, etc. This error indicates that the partition is no longer accessible and there should be logical or physical problem with the disk. Apart from the error message shown in the picture below, there are some other symptoms of this issue: In File Explorer, right-click on the partition and choose Properties, and you can see the used space and free space are 0 bytes; Open Disk Management (right-click Start menu > choose Disk Management), and you can find the file system of this partition is RAW.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Example: "One of my external hard drive ran into a weird problem, and I have no idea how to fix it now. All of a sudden, this external HD couldn't be opened, and Windows said 'Location is not available. G:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable'. I found a solution which suggested to run a disk check. I did the disk check and fix it. However, the next day it turned into inaccessible again! Now it cannot be fixed by chkdsk commands. Does that mean the external HD is failing? How can I retrieve files from it as well as get rid of this error?"


  • This error can happen to various devices, including internal hard drive, external HDD, memory card, USB flash drive, etc.
  • The file system of the partition could be NTFS, FAT32 or exFAT when it was working.
  • The drive letter shown in the picture below could be "F", "G", "H", etc., which does not make a difference.
  • Do not format the partition nor perform disk check of this partition contains important data.

Why do I get file or directory is corrupt or unreadable error?

There are quite a few causes that can lead to a corrupted and unreadable partition. Let's take a look at some common reasons behind the error.

  • USB disk is not safely ejected: File system tends to get corrupted if USB drive gets disconnected before Windows finishes reading/writing data on it. Besides, a sudden system shutdown or power cut can lead to a similar situation. Windows provides the function to safely eject USB drive to help us prevent corrupted file system: click the icon "Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media" before removing external disks.
  • Virus/malware: some virus can destroy vital part of file system, for example, BDR, the MFT of NTFS file system, or the File Allocation Table of FAT file system. The consequence is inaccessible partition.
  • Improper operations: some improper action can also damage a partition, for example, partition resizing process gets interrupted; 4K alignment fails to complete; error occurs during converting file system type, etc.
  • Bad sectors: bad sectors are no longer readable or writable, and they can occur on any area of your disk. If the disk space where file system is stored contains bad sectors, then Windows cannot access it, resulting in an inaccessible partition.

Is it possible to fix corrupted and unreadable drive without losing data?

Although the direct consequence of such error is that you lose access of files stored in the partition, there are ways that can help you fix it in Windows 11/10/8/7. However, it is worth noting that many solutions you find out on the Internet will remove files off the corrupted drive. Thus, it is recommended not to follow those guides without estimating possible outcomes. Therefore, if you want to fix this error without losing data, the well-advised process should be:

Phase 1: Recover lost data from inaccessible drive to a safe location.

Phase 2: Repair the corrupted drive.

Phase 1: How to recover files from corrupted and unreadable partition?

DiskGenius Professional Edition is the recommended tool to recover files from RAW, corrupted, damaged, unformatted partition. It can find out lost data with original names in a very short time. Apart from RAW partition recovery, it also supports to recover deleted files, restore lost partition, recover files from formatted partition, etc. If you haven't registered it to the Professional edition, you can start with the trial version to verify if it works on your disk. Free download and install DiskGenius and you can follow steps below to get back files from corrupted and unreadable partition.

Step 1. Launch DiskGenius, select and right-click the corrupted partition, and choose Load Current Partition Intelligently, as follows.

As shown in the picture below, the corrupted partition is on HD2 and it is labelled as Damaged by the software. Load Current Partition Intelligently works on most corrupted NTFS partitions and it is able to display files existing in the partition when it was accessible. If this function does not work, you need to move to Step 2.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

After wanted files are loaded by the software, you can copy them to another partition to complete the partition recovery. Note: DiskGenius Professional Edition is needed in order to copy files found by this function.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Step 2. Select the corrupted partition > click File Recovery > click Start button.

File Recovery function will run a complete and deep scanning for the selected partition; if you also want to look for those files that had been deleted before the partition got corrupted, you can select the "Recover Deleted Files" option.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Step 3. Wait for the scanning to finish.

Tip: there is no need to scan the partition from beginning to end if wanted files have been listed in the software.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Step 4. Preview files to check recovery quality.

Not sure if files can be recovered as before? Preview it! The scanning result shows all recoverable files, and you are allowed to open files in the software to preview if these files are correct or corrupted. After checking recovery quality, you can decide whether to buy the software.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Step 5. Copy files you want to recover to a safe location.

Choose files you want to recover in the software, right-click on selected data and choose Copy To, as below. Then a window will pop up to let you specify a location to store recovered data.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

The tutorial guide to recover files from RAW drive whose file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Tips to prevent losing data in USB disks

  • Create backups: backing up data regularly can greatly reduce the chance of data loss. As long as there is a backup, you can retrieve lost files from it easily. So, it is necessary to keep a regular and systematic backup to safeguard yourself against data loss risks.
  • Safely remove USB disk: click the Safely remove hardware icon before disconnecting USB disk from computer.
  • Take good care of the disk: storage devices are venerable and they may get damaged if you do not move it with gentle, drop it to floor, place in an environment that is too hot, wet or dusty.
  • Use anti-virus: install third-party anti-virus software or enable Windows Defender to protect your data away from virus and malware.

Phase 2: How do you fix error the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable? – 4 Solutions

Disclaimer: Solutions provided in this part may remove your data from the disk. All files that are important and/or critical to you should be backed up (or recovered) to another drive prior to trying any methods.

Solution #1: Run a full scan for virus and malware

It has the possibility that the corrupted partition infects virus. To fix this, you can simply run a quick full scan for your computer. Windows Defender provides the option to keep your computer protected online, maintain device' health, dun periodic scans, manage your threat-protection settings, and more.

Step 1. Right-click on Windows 10 Start menu and choose Settings.

Step 2. Click Update & Security > Windows Security > Virus & threat protection.

Step 3. Click Scan Options > choose Full scan > click Scan Now.

Solution #2: Format the partition in Windows

Formatting is the easiest solution to corrupted partition, and you can easily perform it in Windows:

Step 1. Connect the disk to computer and open File Explorer.

Step 2. Locate the corrupted partition, right-click on it and choose Format option.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Step 3. Select file system type for the partition, choose Quick Format, and click Start button.

Tip: If you want to format the partition to EXT4/3/2 file system, you can use DiskGenius Free edition to carry out formatting task: select the partition > click Format button > select wanted file system type > click Format button.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Solution #3: Check and repair bad sectors using DiskGenius Free edition

Step 1. Install and launch DiskGenius Free edition on your computer. Select the disk that contains the inaccessible partition, and click Disk menu to choose "Verify Or Repair Bad Sectors".

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Step 2. Click Start Verify button and DiskGenius starts to scan the disk.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Damaged blocks mean bad sectors; Severe means the sector had a good chance to turn to bad sector in the future; Poor means the sector is relatively slow to read.

If your disk has bad sectors, you can click Repair button after verification process completes.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Solution #4: Convert RAW drive to NTFS/FAT32 via CMD

Step 1. Type cmd in Windows searching box to find Command Prompt. The launch it as administrator.

Step 2. In Command Prompt, Type diskpart and press Enter key.

Step 3. Continue typing following command one by one, and press Enter key after each command.

List volume (remember the volume number of the RAW drive)
Select volume # (replace # with the volume number that represents the RAW drive)
Format fs=FAT32 quick

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you fix error the file or corrupted and unreadable?

A corrupted or unreadable partition can be fixed by formatting as long as the disk does not have bad sectors. Formatting process create a new file system for the partition, after which you can open the partition and store data. The shortage of formatting is that it removes all data off the partition. So, data recovery should be performed in advance.

2. How do I fix a corrupted and unreadable external hard drive?

You can follow these steps to fix a corrupted external hard drive:

Step 1: Connect the external hard drive to computer. Then install and launch DiskGenius.

Step 2: Recover lost files from this corrupted and unreadable external hard drive using DiskGenius.

Step 3: Check recovered files and make sure they are recovered correctly.

Step 4: Open Windows File Explorer and format the external hard drive.

3. Why does external hard drive get the error file or directory corrupted and unreadable?

This error indicates the file system part of the external hard drive gets damaged, there can be a lot causes behind a corrupted file system. For example, remove external hard drive without clicking the safely removal hardware icon, the disk infects virus, etc.

4. How do you recover a corrupted hard drive?

Hard drive recovery software can help you recover files from a corrupted hard drive, and you can create a bootable USB drive if your computer is not bootable.

Step 1: Install and launch DiskGenius from your computer.

Step 2: Locate the corrupted hard drive in DiskGenius and use File Recovery function to scan the disk.

Step 3: After scanning, you can preview lost files and copy them to a working drive.


The error "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" turns partition inaccessible and causes data loss issues, and yet you can follow methods above to fix it without losing data. Should you need any help regarding this error, feel free to email us please.

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