'Chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access in Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista' Fixes

Abby Haines updated on Aug 29, 2019 to Resource | How-to Articles


When there is DBR corruption or physical damage on your hard drive, you will get the 'cannot open the volume for direct access' error message if you try to run CHKDSK to repair it. Here we will not only show you an effective way to fix the issue - recover data from the inaccessible device using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and format the device directly but also provide other possible fixes for you.

Overview of 'chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access' Error

The CHKDSK command can be used as a hard drive repair tool since it allows you to repair corrupted USB drive, external hard drive or Micro SD card. But sometimes, when you use it to schedule a disk check, you may receive the 'cannot open the volume for direct access' error message. This issue may happen in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2008 or any other Windows version and prevent you from fixing the corrupted SD card, USB or external hard drive.

Then why cannot CHKDSK open the volume you are going to check for direct access? There are two possible reasons:

  • The DBR (DOS Boot Record) of the hard drive is corrupted
  • The hard drive is physically damaged and thus inaccessible

chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access

If you are now bothered by this issue, read on to follow the most effective method to have a try.

How to Troubleshoot 'chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access' 

Some say disabling the third-party application or service that may lock the partition is helpful to fix the error "chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access". Because they think you are not able to run CHKDSK and cannot open volume for direct access due to a third-party application such as a virus checker or disk monitor tool locking the partition. However, the method is not verified. So its effectiveness is not promised. (In case you need it, we also details the method below.) Actually, the way to fix "chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access" is quite similar to fix a RAW hard drive. That is to recover files from the problematic disk first and then format the hard drive.

First, Recover Data from the Corrupted External Hard Drive/SD Card/USB Drive:

When your hard drive gets corrupted, you cannot access the files on it as usual. Fortunately, you can access the files with the help of the hard disk recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. Besides, since formatting hard drive will remove all the existing files on your device, it's advisable to recover data from the problematic hard drive or external storage device in advance using data recovery software.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is one of your best choices based on its great performance. It allows you to retrieve data from an inaccessible hard drive, external hard drive, USB, SD card, and more. Get it and recover files from your corrupted device right now.

Step 1. Connect your device to PC.

If you lost data on an external hard drive, USB or SD card, connect the device to your PC firstly.

Step 2. Run the data recovery software and scan lost data.

1. Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your PC.
2. Select the device where you lost data under "Hard Disk Drives", "External Devices" or "Specify a location".
3. Click "Scan" to start scanning the lost data now.

Run data recovery software.

Step 3. Preview and restore data.

1. After the scanning, you can double-click each file to preview them from below tabs:

  • Delete Files: All your deleted files are listed here.
  • Drive (with your device name): It loads found files here.
  • Lost Partition Files: Check first if your hard drive is formatted or partition gets deleted.
  • Extra Files: All files that lost names or paths on your drive can be found here.
Preview lost data.

After this, you can even use "Filter" or "Search" to quickly find all your lost data.

2. Finally, you can choose those lost data and specify a safe location on your PC to complete the data recovery process by clicking "Recover" now.

Restore lost data.

Then, Repair the Corrupted External Hard Drive/SD Card/USB Drive by Formatting

When you use CHKDSK to run a check on your hard drive partition and see the notification "Cannot open volume for direct access", you should realize that the file system of your device is corrupted. Thus, to bring your hard drive or external storage device back to work, assigning a new file system to the device by formatting is helpful. Formatting a storage device can be achieved in different ways:

Method 1: Use File Explorer

Step 1. Open "This PC".

Step 2. Find and right-click the device or partition you need to format.

Step 3. Choose "Format".

Step 4. Choose a new file system and set up the remaining options.

Step 5. Wait for the process to finish.

Fix CHKDSK cannot open volume for direct access - method 1

Method 2. Use Disk Management

Step 1. Go to "This PC" > "Manage" > "Disk Management".

Step 2. Right-click the partition you want to format and click "Format".

Step 3. Set up the options and start the formatting process.

Fix CHKDSK cannot open volume for direct access - method 2

Method 3. Use Third-Party Software

You may think it's unnecessary to format your hard drive with a third-party tool. Actually, with the free partition software - EaseUS Partition Master, you can do many other things to manage your computer better. Similar to CHKDSK, the "Check File System" feature of the tool will help you check and repair your disk issue. It can also work as a formatting tool to help you format your local hard drive partition, external hard drive, USB, SD card, etc. Besides, it also has other features like OS migration, disk cloning, partition merging, and more that will help you a lot while managing your computer.

Download EaseUS Partition Master here and follow the see how to use it.

To check partition with EaseUS Partition Master:

Step 1. Download and launch EaseUS free partition software

Step 2. Right-click the external hard drive, USB or SD card and click "Check File System".

Fix chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access error using an alternative software

To format a partition or device with EaseUS Partition Master:

Step 1. Download and launch EaseUS partition software. Right-click the USB drive you intend to format and choose "Format".

Step 2. Assign a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Step 3. Click "OK" if you see the Warning window. Since you have recovered from the device in advance, you don't need to worry about data loss.

Step 4. Click the "Execute operation" button first, and then click "Apply" to format the USB drive.

Fix chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access error by formatting

After formatting your hard drive, SD card or USB drive, you can copy the files you recovered back to your device and use it as normal.

Other Possible Fixes for 'chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access'

In most of the cases, the error "cannot open volume for direct access" can be fixed by formatting your storage device. If the problem remains using this method, you can continue to apply the extra methods below to have a try.

Method 1. Disable Suspicious Third-Part Application/Service

As mentioned, some users think the error "cannot open volume for direct access" occurs because an application or service is blocking the device. In such a case, you can disable the suspicious application or service and check whether the problem still remains. For applications, you can quit them directly. To disable a service, you can:

Step 1. Go to the "Start" menu and type services.

Step 2. In the search result, choose the "Services" app.

Step 3. Here you can see all the services on your computer. Right-click the suspicious service and choose "Properties".

Step 4. In the "Startup type" section, choose "Disabled" from the drop-down menu.

Step 5. Click "OK" and quit Services.

Disable service in Windows

Method 2. Run CHKDSK in a Clean Boot Environment

Clean boot starts your computer only with the necessary drives and startup programs. Thus, you can perform diagnostic tests to determine whether a background program is causing the problem in the normal boot environment.

Step 1. Press "Windows + R" and enter msconfig.

Step 2. In the System Configuration window, switch to the "Services" tab.

Step 3. Check "Hide all Microsoft services" and click "Disable all" > "Apply" > "OK".

Step 4. Then go to the "Startup" tab and click "Open Task Manager".

Step 5. Click each item and choose "Disable".

Step 6. Restart your computer and run CHKDSK again.

Clean boot Windows

Method 3. Repair Bad Sectors

Bad sectors on a storage device will surely cause minor or severe issues. The error "chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access" may result from bad sectors on your local hard drive, USB drive, or SD card. Thus, repairing bad sectors on your device is also a method to apply.

The Bottom Line

Fixing the error "chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access" can be quite easy if it's caused by corrupted DBR and you find the right software to help. When your files on a storage device become inaccessible, using a data recovery tool to rescue data is the first thing you should is to protect your data. If none of the solutions above works to fix "cannot open volume for direct access", your hard drive, USB drive or SD card may be physically damaged and you need to send it for manual repair.


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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

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