3 Steps to Repair a Corrupted Portable Hard Disk

Yes, a corrupted portable hard disk can be repaired.

A hard disk drive (HDD) is a common storage device favored by photographers, business owners and personal users. Hard disk corruption is one of the common issues that Windows users experience. When you try to access a corrupted hard drive, it shows an error message, “You need to format the disk in drive: before you can use it.”

The most common symptoms of a corrupted hard drive.

  • The connected hard drive is not detected by the computer system.
  • Error message: The drive is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.
  • Error message: Disk needs to be formatted.
  • The hard drive shows 0 bytes.
  • Error message: Please insert a disk drive.

Try the following solutions to fix corrupted hard drive:

Fix 1: Run Antivirus Scan on your Hard Disk

Malware or viruses can lead to hard drive corruption. You can run a malware scan on your hard disk to get rid of the issue. Windows comes with a built-in antivirus program Windows Defender Antivirus. To run a scan, follow these steps:

  • Press Windows + I to open System Settings and then navigate to Update & Security > Windows Security.
  • Now, click Virus & threat protection on the right panel.
  • The tool will scan the device. If it detects any virus, you’ll see it in the scan results.
  • Follow the further instructions given on the screen (if any) to fix the issues with the hard disk. Then, reboot your system and see if you can access the hard disk now.


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Fix 2. Run CHKDSK Command to Fix Corrupted Hard Drive:

Both Windows and macOS provide built-in utilities to fix hard drive corruption and recover lost data.

Repair Corrupted Hard Drive in Windows

  • Step 1. Press Win + X shortcut, then click Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  • Step 2. In Windows PowerShell, type chkdsk g: /f /r /x (Replace g with the letter of the corrupted hard drive).
  • Step 3. Hit Enter and wait for the scanning to process.

Annotation of the command parameters:

  • chkdsk stands for “check disk”
  • g: specifies the drive to be scanned
  • /f tells the process to fix any errors it detects
  • /r tells it to recover the data in the bad sectors
  • /x forces the drive to unmount so that process could start

Fix 3. Run SFC Scan to Repair Corrupted Hard Drive:

SFC (System File Checker) is another system utility for checking corruption in Windows. The process will scan the integrity of the hard drive and try to fix the corrupted or damaged files.

  • Step 1. Run Windows PowerShell as administrator as described in Fix 1.
  • Step 2. Type sfc /scannow and hit Enter.
  • Step 3. The scanning will start automatically, and then you need to restart your computer.

Note: On Step 2, if the disk is an external drive, please use the command below:

  • sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows

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