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

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.

Table of Contents

5 Fixes for Chkdsk Cannot Open Volume for Direct Access:

When you execute the chkdsk command with option /f, it will find and repairs errors. If anything blocks it from repairing, you will receive this error message - chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access. When the error shows up for the first time, try to restart your PC. Then, read further and learn from the five advanced troubleshooting fixes.

chkdsk cannot open volume for direct access

  1. #1. Recover data from corrupted drive
  2. #2. Format corrupted drive
  3. #3. Disable suspicious third-party application and service
  4. #4. Run chkdsk in a Clean Boot environment
  5. #5. Repair bad sectors

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

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

All Solutions to 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.

Solution 1. Recover Data from Corrupted External Drive/SD Card/USB Drive

When your hard drive gets corrupted, the first thing you should do is try to access the files on it. However, you can't access the files as usual. Fortunately, reliable hard disk recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can help.

It allows you to retrieve data from an inaccessible hard drive, external hard drive, USB, SD card, and more. Besides, as 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.

See how to recover data from corrupted drives on your own:

Step 1. Select a location to scan.

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, hover on the partition, external hard drive, USB, or memory card where you lost data, and then click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Select files to recover.

Wait until the scanning completes. Afterward, choose the files you want to recover. To locate the data faster, use the search bar or filter to search for specific files. To check a file, double-click the item to preview its content.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Recover lost data.

Click "Recover" and choose a location on another drive to save the files.

Recover lost data

Solution 2. Format Corrupted External Hard Drive/SD Card/USB Drive

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.

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.

Solution 3. 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

Solution 4. 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

Solution 5. 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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Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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Written by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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