9 Ways to Get Around Corrupted and Unreadable File or Directory on Windows

The “The file or directory is corrupt and unreadable” error in Windows can prevent users from accessing their important files, but it can be fixed easily. Here is how to solve the file or directory is corrupt and unreadable.

Suppose you have connected a flash disk or an external hard drive containing some important files to your Windows computer. But instead of accessing it, you get the error “The file or directory is corrupt and unreadable”.

Read also: 5 ways to overcome incorrect parameter in Windows

Now, the only way to access your files is to solve the error. Although this might sound a little intimidating. But don’t worry, because in this article the administrator will discuss several ways to get around a file or directory that is corrupt and unreadable on Windows.

What causes the error “The file or directory is corrupt and unreadable”?

There are several reasons for this error but if you can identify the cause, the troubleshooting process will be shorter. Here are some of the possible causes for the “The file or directory is corrupt and unreadable” error:

  • Physical damage – If the storage device is permanently damaged, you cannot access the stored information. Also check that the devices are properly connected, and look for damaged USB ports or cables.
  • Damaged MFT or FAT . The MFT (Master File Table) contains the file type, directory, size, creation or modification time, among other information. So you will not be able to access the file if the MFT file is corrupted or corrupted. FAT (File Allocation Table) is a system similar to MFT, designed for hard disk drives. If FAT does not work, it may also cause the same error.
  • Virus or malware infection. It’s no secret that you can infect your computer with viruses or malware when you download something from an unofficial source. This can damage your connected external devices and prevent you from accessing files.

How to overcome corrupt and unreadable file or directory

After knowing some of the causes of this error, you will now find that it is easy to fix it. Here are some ways to solve the file or directory is corrupt and unreadable.

1. Restart your computer

If you are used to putting your computer to sleep instead of shutting it down, you may encounter various issues and slowness. So there is a possibility that the error “The file or directory is corrupt and unreadable” is just a temporary error that will go away after restarting the computer. If the same error still appears after restarting, continue to the next solution.

2. Disable antivirus

If your antivirus detects a potential threat on your external drive, it can prevent you from accessing it. If you are sure that there are no threats on the drive, you can temporarily disable your antivirus while using the external drive.

3. Change the location of the file

If you get an error when trying to open a specific folder or file, try changing its location. So if you want to open a file or folder from an external drive, copy it to your internal drive and try to access it from there.

4. Scan drive

drive wipe

Scan drives from Properties Effective way to find drive errors. Depending on what error Windows detects, you can choose the right tool to fix it. To erase a drive, right-click and choose Properties. Then in the tab Toolsclick check to start the examination.

5. Set a new drive letter

Although this is a strange trick, it may help you solve the “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable” error on your Windows PC. Follow these steps to change the drive letter:

New drive letter set
  1. press Win + R. to shoot Being dialog boxes.
  2. Writes diskmgmt.msc and click yes.
  3. In the Disk Management window, right-click on the external drive and select Change drive letter and paths.
  4. Select the drive letter and click the button they change.
  5. In the net Change the drive letter or pathtick Set the next drive letter And select a new character from the drop-down list.
  6. Work confirmation.

The external drive now contains a new letter, and you should be able to open it. If you are using a script to open files from the drive, you will need to modify it as well.

6. Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool

Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool

There is a possibility that you may not be able to access certain files or folders due to memory related issues. To fix this, you should use the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool. The easiest way to operate this tool is to log in Windows Memory Diagnostic In the start menu search bar and select Most equal. then select Reboot now and check for problems.

Notes: Before starting the scan, save all your work and close all running applications.

7. Check if your computer has malware

If you notice other problems with your computer, not just the inability to access the external hard drive, it is possible that your computer is infected with a virus. You can use a third-party antivirus or tools built into Windows to fix it:

Check if your computer has malware
  1. to open Settings open Updates and Security.
  2. From the right pane, click Yes Windows Security.
  3. Choose Protection from viruses and dangers.
  4. click Scan Options and choose full scan.
  5. Once the scan is complete, restart your computer and try to access your external hard drive.

Read also: 8 Best Antivirus Apps Today (Free)

8. Run the command line

If the error message “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable” still appears when trying to open the external hard drive, it is possible that the drive has bad sectors. In this case, you will have to run the chkdsk command to fix it. Follow the steps below to do this:

Run command line
  1. In the search bar in the start menu, search for Command Prompt Then right-click and select Run as administrator.
  2. After the Command Prompt window opens, type chkdsk x: /f / r and press Enters. Remember to replace x with your drive letter.
  3. Windows will now scan the drive, look for bad sectors, directory errors, and lost groups, and restore data if necessary. How long the scan takes depends on the read speed of the drive and the size of the data.

If you run the command and the command prompt displays the message “Cannot open volume for direct access”, restart your computer and try again. If you receive the error “Unable to determine volume version and status. CHKDSK aborted.” In this case, most likely the data drive is corrupted.

9. Format the external hard drive

If you are still unable to access the files, there is another solution that you can try. Format the drive. While it fixes the problem, it will also erase the data that you have stored on the drive. Before you format it, you must restore the data.

Format the external hard disk

To format your drive, right-click and choose appearance. In the net appearanceselect File System and select the option Quick Format. then press beginning to start the process.


This is how to solve a file or directory that is corrupt and unreadable. Having errors is always frustrating, especially when they prevent you from accessing files. But with a little patience, you can get through it. This can be a reminder to always back up important files and folders. You can use a cloud storage service to do this as there are many options available.

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