Recover Files from Corrupted External Hard Drive

Roxanne updated on Nov 05, 2020 to Data Recovery | How-to Articles

If you lost files from a corrupted external hard drive, relax, we can help. You can download the best external hard drive data recovery software to recover lost files. Then, you will be able to repair your external hard drive with detailed steps.

how to recover data from corrupted external hard disk

To recover data from a formatted or damaged disk, perform the following steps:

  1. 1. Start EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and locate the damaged disk
  2. 2. Scan the damaged disk
  3. 3. View the search results.
  4. 4. Preview the files by double-clicking them.
  5. 5. Mark the files and folders you want to recover
  6. 6. Click "Recover" and choose another location to save the recovered data. More items...

The external hard drive is used almost universally in our daily life because we could store and transfer our important files to it easily and quickly. While we enjoy the convenience it brings to us, we also encounter the trouble it makes. Data loss on an external hard drive is inevitable. You may delete files accidentally, format the external hard drive. The external hard drive itself gets corrupted unexpectedly.

Part 1. Reliable External Hard Drive Recovery Software
Part 2. How to Recover Data from Corrupted Hard Drive
Part 3. How to Repair the Corrupted External Hard Drive
Part 4. How to Avoid External Hard Drive Corruption

Part 1. Reliable External Hard Drive Recovery Software

The fact that external hard drive becomes corrupted is not entirely uncommon. Everyone could be faced with this problem. Corrupted external hard drive recovery with professional software is your best choice. There are lots of external drive recovery programs that claim to recover anything from an external hard drive. 

Frankly speaking, only a few of them can give the desired results. If you are looking for safe and reliable external hard drive recovery software, then try EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. Being one of the most professional data recovery programs, it has 10+ million users around the world. It can also recover data from internal hard disk, SD card, USB flash drives, and more. It has many extraordinary features:

  • Recover deleted, formatted, and inaccessible data in different data loss situations.
  • Recover photos, audio, music, and emails from any storage effectively, safely and completely.
  • Recover data from the recycle bin, hard drive, memory card, flash drive, digital camera, and camcorder.

Why is it the best data recovery software? Can you prove it? Yes, we have tested 5 widely-used data recovery software. We have tested the time and speed when they are scanning the same partition (127GB free of 141GB) searching for deleted/lost files. For a data recovery tool, the scanning speed and the ability to find more files really make sense. According to the results, EaseUS data recovery software is the best. Check the details in the table:

Product Name Recover My Files Recuva Disk Drill Stellar Data Recovery EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
Scanning Time 1h > 1h > 1h 37min 27min
Files Found 321,297 files 111,213 files 2,254 files 414,170 files 784,741 files
File Size 13.80GB no size is shown 1.92GB 19.84GB 38.53GB

Part 2. How to Recover Data from Corrupted Hard Drive

When your external hard drive gets corrupted or damaged, the first thing you need to do is extract files before they’re gone forever. It is the only way to get out of the situation before the hard drive becomes dead forever. But you need to make sure that your external hard drive is showing as "Online" in Disk Management. 

external hard drive is online

Then, you can try the best hard disk recovery software to restore all lost data from the external hard drive with the video. 

You can also follow the guidelines below to get lost files back from a corrupted external hard disk:

Step 1. Choose the external hard drive

Since you're going to recover data from the external hard drive, run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and under the External Devices tab, choose the exact drive where you lost data. Click Scan.

select external hard drive

Step 2. Scan for lost data

The software will start immediately to scan all over the selected drive for all lost data. During the scan, you could see more and more data showing up in the results.

scan external hard drive

Step 3. Preview and recover data

After the scan is over, check the scan results for the desired data. You can preview the file by double-clicking on it. Click Recover and choose another location to save the recovered data.

preview and recover data

Part 3. How to Repair the Corrupted External Hard Drive

A corrupted external hard drive is a wide common situation and thousands of people facing it every day. When you fail to access your external hard drive, you need to follow the solutions below to check and fix it:

  • Check the power supply and connection errors. It's likely that your device has a separate power source. Therefore, checking the power supply will be important.
  • Try another USB cable. Maybe there's something wrong with the old one.
  • Use antivirus to scan your drive if the external hard drive has viruses on it.
  • Run SFC (Open "Command Prompt" and enter sfc /scannow). It helps fix the damaged or missing Windows system files that may cause drive corruption.

Run CHKDSK to Fix the File System Errors (Recommended)

If the three simple ways are unable to help, my suggestion is to run CHKDSK to fix the file system errors on the external device. CHKDSK command prompt checks the file system and file system metadata of a volume for logical and physical errors. 

Step 1. In the Search Window, type cmd. On the search result, right-click on the Command Prompt and select "Run as administrator".

Step 2. Type the command:

Click to copy

Here you should replace E with your drive letter. 

repair corrupted external hard drive

If you don't have any technical know-how and want to minimize data risks, using third-party software could be a better choice. The Command line is suitable for computer professionals since wrong commands can cause severe problems. Therefore, we strongly recommend you try an automatic command line alternative.

EaseUS Tools M is a practical computer fixing tool that is safe and light-weighted. It's a perfect alternative to CHKDSK command. Use this one-click tool to solve your computer issues.

To fix file system error or disk error:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD EaseUS Tools M for Free and install it.

Step 2: Open the software and select the "File showing" option. 

Step 3: Choose the drive and wait for repairing. After the operation completes, click the "View" button to check the drive. 

select the drive and check off file system error

Part 4. How to Prevent the External Hard Drive from Corruption/Failure

The best way to prevent a loss is to reduce the chances of an external hard drive failure by taking preventative measures. Here are some tips that may cause your drive corruption and you can follow to prevent storage devices from corrupting now:

  • Be exceedingly careful with the drive. Always ensure that the drive is in a secure location when powered on. Store the external hard drive away from direct sunlight.
  • Always use the Remove Device option. Never unplug an external hard drive while files are being accessed because this will corrupt its data.
  • Be away from a magnet. A magnet will erase all data on an external hard disk, so keep them far away.
  • Use the USB plug properly. When removing a USB cable from a device, pull gently from the cable connector. Do not yank the cable out as it could damage the connector. 
  • Back up, back up and back up. You can create a copy of your external hard drive files and upload them to a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive. Also, you can copy them to another drive or create a backup schedule to back up files automatically. Having a backup in advance will always help.


It's very common to get a damaged or corrupted external hard drive. You are very lucky if your computer detects an external hard drive even if it seems that all the files are gone. There is a chance to get the files back using professional software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. No matter what data loss scenarios you encounter, EaseUS is always ready to help you.

Was This Page Helpful?


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

It's super easy to recover 250+ types of files after deletion, disk formatting and virus infection. Click the links and compare the difference of each version.