How to fix drive is not accessible in Windows 11/10/8/7

If you are getting the drive is not accessible error on your Windows PC, then it can be a scary experience. Thankfully, it should still be possible to retrieve your trapped data by using the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. We show you how to fix the error on your HDD, USB drive, or memory card and ensure your files are safe.

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Table of Contents

Quick Fix to the 'Drive is not accessible' error:

Fix 'Drive is not accessible

If you are seeing an Access is denied error message, then it could be that you need to adjust the Owner’s status in Windows. This sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. Here’s what you need to do.

  • Right-click on the inaccessible hard drive, select Properties.
  • Go to the Security tab, hit Advanced, then click the Edit button.
  • On the Owner tab, modify the ownership of the specified account.

Overview of Drive is Not Accessible

Sometimes hard drives, external storage and USB flash drives can be affected by viruses or power failures, rendering them inaccessible by Windows. If the disk has become corrupted in any way, reformatting the partition can be a quick fix. However, all data on that partition will be erased during the reformatting, which is a problem if you want to recover the data.

drive is not accessible on drive f

As the ‘Drive is not Accessible’ error doesn’t allow you to open any files on the disk, you are not able to back up the data stored there. So, you’ll want to hold off reformatting the partition until your files are safe.

Should you have already reformatted your drive and lost the data, you still may be able to get the files back. When you delete something on a PC, the files aren’t actually destroyed, but the space they occupy on the disk is made available to the system so it can write over them. it’s very important then that you don’t use your PC at all, as writing anything to the disk could overwrite your files. Instead, download the EaseUS hard drive recovery software and use it to recover formatted partition data.

Common Error Messages

With this particular kind of problem, you’ll often have the main error message 'Location is not available' which is followed by a secondary one pointing at the type of issue the PC is experiencing. These can be very helpful when it comes to working out what repair method to employ. Here are some of the most common problems.

Effective Solutions

Of all the reasons listed above, probably the most common is ‘drive is not accessible, access is denied’. So, in the next section we have a step-by-step guide for how to fix this issue in Windows.

Fix the 'Drive is not accessible. Access is denied' error

Usually, when your external hard drive shows the "Drive is not accessible. Access is denied" error message, it is because you don't have the right privilege settings in Windows. So, to fix the issue, you have to take ownership of the drive. Here's how to do it:

Right-click on the inaccessible hard drive, select Properties. Go to the Security tab, hitAdvanced, then click the Edit button. On the Owner tab, modify the ownership of the specified account.

Fix 'Drive is not accessible. Access is denied' error in Windows Explorer

In the above image you can see how you’re able to change the ownership of the drive. It’s also possible to add a new user so that anyone with access to the PC will be able to read the drive. This ‘Everyone’ setting is definitely convenient, but it does increase the risk of exposing your computer to anyone who knows the password to your PC.

Here's a demonstration of how to fix the 'drive is not accessible, access is denied' error:

step-by-step guide to fix drive is not accessible error

Fix the 'Drive is not accessible' issue with other error messages

If the "drive is not accessible" issue is accompanied by a secondary message that isn't "access is denied", then there's a strong likelihood that the cause could be a file system or data corruption, disk errors or bad sectors. In this case you'll need to run the CHKDSK tool in Windows. Here’s what to do:

Warning
Running chkdsk can hopefully fix the drive is not accessible errors, so change it to the letter that matches the one showing on your PC.

Step 1:Plug the external hard drive, USB drive, or memory card to your PC.

Step 2:Open a Command Prompt.

  • In Windows 7, Click Start, type in "cmd" in the search box, hit Enter, and then click "cmd.exe" under the list of programs.
  • In Windows 10/8, press the Windows Key + X buttons and select the Command Prompt (Admin) option.

Step 3: In the new Command Prompt window, type chkdsk E: /f /r. (Here E is the drive letter of the disk which shows the "drive is not accessible" error.)

EaseUS CleanGenius is a user-friendly computer fixing tool that is both safe and lightweight. It's a perfect alternative to CHKDSK command. Use this one-click tool to fix the damaged file system easily.

Step 1.  DOWNLOAD EaseUS CleanGenius on your computer and complete the installation. 

Step 2. Run the software. Click "Optimization", and then choose "File Showing" . 

select the file showing option

Step 3. Select the drive with a corrupted file system. Tick the "Check and fix file system error" option and click "Execute".

fix file system

Step 4. Wait the tool performs the repairing task. After that, click the "here" button to check the drive.

fix file system

Recover data and format drive affected by "not accessible" error.

If you still experience the error after trying all of the above methods, we recommend using the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. This excellent hard drive data recovery program can help you retrieve files from inaccessible drives and can be a lifesaver when you fear you've lost your data.

For the best results both with restoring data and getting your drive working once more, it’s always a good idea to try the recovery first, followed by reformatting.

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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 on the selected hard drive.

Preview lost hard drive data

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

recover data from hard drive

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Once the data recovery is complete, you are now able to reformat the drive and hopefully get it back to a healthy state. To do this, take the following steps:

  1. 1. Go to My Computer or This PC and right-click the disk you need to repair.
  2. 2. Choose the "Format" option.
  3. 3. In the pop-up window you can set the file system and cluster size, then click the "OK" button and Windows will take care of the rest.
format a not accessible hard drive

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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Approved by Martyn Casserly

Martyn Casserly has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews. He is a professional content contributor for many known ITwebsites like Macworld.co.uk and techadvisor.com.

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