Open or Repair Corrupted Hard Disk Without Formatting in Windows 10/8/7

Roxanne updated on Sep 18, 2019 to Data Recovery | How-to Articles


Here are two parts to open and repair the corrupted hard disk without formatting. Part 1 - Repair your hard disk in 5 effective ways. And part 2 - Access the corrupted hard drive with data recovery software. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can access your corrupted hard drive and get back lost data. Follow the steps below to repair your hard drive without losing data.

Part 1: How to Repair Corrupted HDD or External Hard Drive (5 Ways)
Part 2: How to Recover Data from Corrupted HDD or External Hard Drive

Symptoms of Hard Disk Drive Corruption

Sometimes, your hard drive can be damaged and become unrecognized or inaccessible in Windows 10/8/7 due to various reasons. No matter it is an internal hard disk or an external hard drive, you can find solutions. Here are some common causes and symptoms of hard drive corruption.

  • External hard drive not recognized, reading or showing up while plugging into PC.
  • Get "X:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" error message.
  • The hard drive has a drive letter in My Computer but becomes inaccessible and says: "You need to format the disk in the drive before you can use it".
  • The hard drive becomes RAW and prompts 'disk needs to be formatted' error.
  • Hard disk shows 0 bytes.
  • Others.....

Part 1 - How to Repair Corrupted Internal & External Hard Disk 

When you encounter one of the situations, you have to repair corrupted hard disk to make it work. Here are five ways to repair your corrupted hard drive. Before you try any of them, you should try the simple fixes first:

  • Check the power supply.
  • Change the USB port.
  • Try the hard drive on another PC, if your PC can’t detect it.
  • Change the drive letter assigned to the storage media to restore the corrupted hard drive. 

Also read: Fix/Repair Corrupted USB Drive Without Formatting

If you have important data on it, you should recover data to 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.

1. Check the Hard Disk(Power Supply and Connection Errors)

If you are using an external hard drive, you should check the connection. It’s possible that the storage media is taking the power from the USB port itself. Try to unplug it and connect it to your PC again. Try another USB port or another computer. It is possible that only your PC can't read your device.

Then check the power supply. Some external hard drive has a separate power supply. So you must check if it works properly. Also, run a thorough check:

Step 1: Open This PC or Computer, right-click the hard drive and select "Properties".

Step 2: Click "Tools > Tab Error checking > Check".

Step 3: Select "Check local disk" and click "Start".

run a through disk check

Close all running and open programs, select the option to let the system check upon the next boot. After this, restart PC.

2. Update the Disk Driver (Driver Issue)

If you try another computer and it works, you need to update the disk driver. There might be some issue with your device driver installed on your PC. Follow the details below:

Step 1: Right-click on This PC/My Computer and choose "Properties".

Step 2: In the taskbar on the left, click Device Manager and expand "Universal Serial Bus controllers". Then you'll see a yellow exclamation mark if your disk driver is out of date.

Step 3: Right-click and choose "Update driver".

Step 4: Choose "Search automatically for updated driver software..."

update drivers

3. Use the CMD Command (For File System Errors)

CHKDSK command prompt checks the file system and file system metadata of a volume for logical and physical errors. If used without parameters, CHKDSK displays only the status of the volume and does not fix any errors. If used with the /f, /r, /x, or /b parameters, it fixes errors on the volume. 

The "/f" parameter tells CHKDSK to fix any errors it finds. "/r" tells it to locate the bad sectors on the drive and recover readable information. "/x" forces the drive to dismount before the process starts. 

Step 1: Next to the Windows Start menu, in the 'Search Windows' box, type cmd.

Step 2: On the search result, right-click on the Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.

Step 3: Type the command:

Click to copy

Here you should replace E with your drive letter. 

repair the hard disk

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

4. Run Antivirus to Check Your HDD

As we know, viruses and malware can cause hard drive corruption. Therefore, an antivirus scan may repair the corrupt hard drive and make the drive accessible again.

Step 1: Connect the hard drive to a Windows PC.

Step 2: Use a reliable antivirus/malware tool to scan the drive or the system. Bitdefender, Norton, Kaspersky, Avast or AVG, any one of them is my suggestion.

5. Run SFC Scan to Fix Damaged HDD

SFC checks system file integrity and replaces a corrupt or damaged system file with a cached copy. It helps fix the damaged or missing Windows system files that may cause drive corruption. Follow the steps below:

Step 1: Type Command Prompt in the search bar, right-click it and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 2: Type the following cmd and hit "Enter".

Click to copy

run sfc scan to repair corrupted hard disk drive without formatting

If the drive is an external device, follow this command:

Click to copy

Replace letter c: with your hard drive letter. Wait for the scan to finish and then restart the system. Check if you can access the drive.

Part 2 - Access and Recover Files from Corrupted Internal & External Hard Drive 

If you have important data on the corrupted device, the best choice is to access the device and get the data to another place. To access hard drive without formatting, there is no other way but ask a data recovery program for help. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is able to read the device and recovers data even the drive becomes RAW. You can download the demo version of the hard drive recovery software and give it a try.

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

EaseUS has a success rate of 99.75%. If you need manual service, you can also contact the support team through live chat.

Do You Need Specialized Data Recovery Services?
You may need further help for tough data loss situations like reformatting drive, RAW disk, partition loss, repartition failures, and system boot error. Consult with EaseUS Data Recovery Experts for cost-efficient one-on-one manual recovery service. They could offer the following services after FREE diagnosis:
1. Unformat the drive
2. Repair the RAID, RAW disk or operating system
3. Recover lost partition (the one that cannot be recovered by software)

Bonus Tips - Back Up Your Data Frequently

Recovery or repair is not the perfect way to prevent data loss. It just can reduce data loss. If you want to completely recover your files, you need to create a backup for your files and save it to a safe place.

To back up files and folders, I recommend you try file backup software - EaseUS Todo Backup. With this software, all things become easier. And you can back up files with a schedule or a password. Besides, this software can back up the system, any type of file or the whole disk or partition.

Details: Back up Files before Formatting

back up files before formatting

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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 to better 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.