"Try to access a 2-year-old WD MY BOOK ESSENTIAL, but failed with an error saying 'the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable.' What's the matter? This issue is very frustrating as all my important data is stored on this drive. Anyone can show me instructions on how to recover data when the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable?"

Don't worry if you encountered "The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" error while trying to open a storage device on your PC. Follow the content navigation with presented fixes, you'll make your device accessible again without losing any data:

Drive Not Accessible: Disk Structure Is Corrupted and Unreadable

What is "the disk structure corrupted and unreadable" error? "The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" is one of the most common partition corrupted errors that happen to external HDDs, memory cards, USB flash drives, and other storage devices. 

With this error, users can't access the device nor open the saved files. Also, Windows will pop up a warning message, "Location is not available. Drive: \ is not accessible. The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable"

Why a hard drive, USB, or SD card suddenly becomes inaccessible? Generally, the error "disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" is caused by the following listed reasons:

  • Improper ejection or unplugging device 
  • Connection issue
  • Unstable power supply
  • Corrupted File system errors - RAW, etc.
  • Hardware issue
  • Virus infection

The solutions to "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" error may differ based on the diverse causes. Fortunately, the fixes are easy and you can simply address this error with the listed solutions in the next part.

5+ Fixes for "The Disk Structure Is Corrupted and Unreadable" Error

Don't worry if you couldn't figure out how your USB, SD card, or external or internal hard drive become unreadable. Follow the fixes as listed here one by one to make the problematic drive work normally again:

  1. #1. Unplug and Re-plug the Corrupted/Unreadable Device
  2. #2. Check and Repair Disk Errors via CHKDSK
  3. #3. Reinstall Disk Drivers
  4. #4. Format Drive
  5. #5. Recover Data

Note that some methods for repairing corrupted/unreadable devices may lead to data loss, especially Method 4 - formatting device, and if you lost data during the process, turn to reliable EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard as shown in Method 5 for help.

Method 1. Unplug and Re-plug Corrupted/Unreadable Device [Easiest]

Applies to: Fix device with structure corrupted or unreadable error due to improper ejection, connection, or power supply issue.

The first method that you can try is to reconnect the device to your PC when the computer pops up with the error "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable".

Step 1. Unplug corrupted/unreadable USB, SD card, or external drive from the PC.

Step 2. Re-plug the device into your PC and check if it's accessible.

Step 3. If inaccessible, change a USB port or a new USB cable, and reconnect it to PC.

Step 4. Connect the device to another computer if Step 3 doesn't work.

Change unreadable or corrupted device connection

After trying all the steps, if your USB, external hard drive, or SD card shows up and can be accessed, congratulations. You may stop here and make use of your device and data again.

If these simple fixes don't help, it's likely caused by file system errors or by hardware corruption in rare cases. Don't worry. Following the methods below, you still have a high chance to recover your data and make your device usable again.

Method 2. Check and Repair Disk Errors via CHKDSK

Applies to: Fix hard disk, USB, SD card, or external hard drive corrupted or unreadable issue caused by the invalid file system, RAW error, bad sectors, etc.

With an invalid file system, RAW error, or bad sectors on a storage device, you won't be able to access the device and its files. Also, a high possibility that Windows will pop up "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" error message.

You can either run CHKDSK in CMD or perform drive error checking to check and repair any error found on your disk. Both work exactly the same way.

Run CHDKSK to Fix Corrupted File System

Running chkdsk can hopefully fix the disk structure corrupted and unreadable issue, however, it can also result in total data loss. So, perform data recovery in advance, and then continue with the CMD method.

Step 1. Click "Start" and type cmd in the Search box.

Step 2. Right-click "Command Prompt" and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 3. Type CHKDSK F: /f /r /x hit Enter.

(Replace F: with the drive letter of your corrupted or unreadable device. )

Fix corrupted or unreadable device

CHKDSK Alternative - Check Disk via Error Checking

Step 1. Go to "This PC". Right-click your drive and choose "Properties".

Step 2. Go to the "Tools" tab and click "Check" > "Scan drive".

The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable fix - perform disk checking

The error checking tool will automatically scan and fix found errors on the target device for you.

Method 3. Reinstall Disk Drivers

Applies to: Fix corrupted or unreadable devices that were not detected or inaccessible due to corrupted or outdated disk drives.

Sometimes, when the disk driver of your device is problematic or outdated, Windows PC may not detect it nor fail to display it in File Explorer. So the best way out is to update the disk driver of your USB, SD card, or external storage devices.

Here are the steps that you can follow to update the device driver:

Step 1. Connect the malfunctioned drive to the PC.

Step 2. Right-click This PC and choose "Manage".

Step 3. Click "Device Manager", then expand Disk drives.

Step 4. Find and right-click the problematic USB drive and select "Update driver".

Step 5. Click "automatically search for driver software online".

Toshiba external hard drive not working - update device driver

Wait for the driver to be updated, then reboot your computer. Afterward, you can try to reconnect your problematic drive to your PC and check whether the drive is accessible.

Method 4. Format to Fix Corrupted or Unreadable Drive [Most Effective]

Applies to: Fix the device is corrupted or unreadable issue due to an invalid file system, RAW error, or unsupported file system.

There is more than one way to format a hard drive in Windows 10 so as to make the problematic device readable again. Here we'll show you the easiest one:

Step 1. Open "This PC".

Step 2. Right-click the disk with the "structure is corrupted and unreadable" error and choose "Format".

Step 3. Assign a file system to your drive and click "Start".

  • For USB, SD card - FAT32, exFAT
  • For External/Internal Hard Drive - NTFS

Fix disk structure is corrupted and unreadable - format drive

If you prefer to format drive to ext2/3/4 or other file systems, the best formatting tool - EaseUS Partition Master could offer you a helping hand.

Method 5. Recover Data after Fixing Corrupted/Unreadable Device [Essential]

Applies to: Recover lost files after fixing the disk with the structure is corrupted or unreadable error, restore data from an inaccessible device with ease.

You may try CHKDSK, update the disk driver or formatting to fix the error "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" error on your USB, SD card, or external or internal hard drive. However, none of the above 4 methods can protect all the saved data on the malfunctioned device. In other words, data loss is possible.

Professional hard drive recovery software will help you recover data from an inaccessible drive, including a RAW drive. To recover lost files from a hard disk on which the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable:

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

Step 1. Select the drive where you lose your data and click "Scan".

select and scan the hard drive

Step 2. Use "Filter" or "Search" to find the lost files when the scan completes.

Preview lost hard drive data

Step 3. Select all the files you want and click "Recover". Then, browse another secure location to save them.

recover data from hard drive

How to Protect Device from "Structure Corrupted or Unreadable" Error

After trying all the solutions mentioned above, the error "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" should have been addressed. And the valuable files will be all safely restored via EaseUS data recovery software.

Besides fixing this error, what matters more is protecting your device from this error. Here we've listed some tips for you to follow and safeguard your hard drives, USB, external hard drives, etc. from getting "USB drive not showing up", "the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable", etc. errors:

  1. #1. Plug and unplug devices in a proper way
  2. #2. Update the device's driver timely
  3. #3. Set a Windows or device-compatible file system to your device
  4. #4. Check disk health regularly

There are many ways to check the health of a hard drive, including using the manufacturer's tools, CHKDSK, and WMIC. Here we will show you how to use WMIC to check your drive status:

Step 1. Click "Start" and type cmd.

Step 2. Right-click "Command Prompt" and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 3. Enter the following commands in order:

diskdrive get status

If your disk status is not so well, back up all data in advance and send it for repair immediately.

The Bottom Line

This page explained what is "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" error is, the causes of this issue, and five efficient fixes to remove this error from your device.

Although there are many potential causes of the error, many users found the main cause is file system errors, which can be perfectly fixed by formatting the device. To protect precious files existing on the hard drive, it's necessary to run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and then perform formatting.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

Also, the presented fixes can also be applied to fix similar issues:

  • Fix a corrupted disk
  • Fix a corrupted hard drive
  • Fix a corrupted external hard drive
  • Fix a corrupted SD card, USB, etc.

Hope this guide is helpful to you.

Was This Page Helpful?

Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is a senior editor and data recovery specialist of EaseUS. He mainly writes articles and how-to tips about data recovery on PC and Mac. He has handled 10,000+ data recovery cases and is good at data recovery of NTFS, FAT (FAT32 and ExFAT) file systems, and RAID structure reorganization.

Read full bio

Approved by Evan Galasso

Evan Galasso is a digital forensics and data recovery engineer with over 10 years of experience in the field. He presents opinions on the current state of storage media, reverse engineering of storage systems and firmware, and electro-mechanical systems of SSDs and HDDs.

Read full bio