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Fix ‘The Disk Structure Is Corrupted and Unreadable’ in 2022, No Data Loss

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 toward “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.

Fix corrupted system files in all Windows systems (4 Ways)

After getting the reasons for corrupted files, you can try the given methods below to fix it. To prevent data loss due to file corruption, it’s suggested to backup files automatically. And I’ll introduce this method in the next part.

#1: Repair corrupted files using Windows Properties 

If your computer has bad sectors, you can use disk check utility to repair corrupted system files.  And the steps will be a little different in different operating systems. 

For Windows 7 users: 

Open Computer, right-click the hard drive you want to check bad sectors and select Properties. Then, in the Properties window, click Tools > Check now under the Error-checking. Afterward, click Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors and hit Start.  

Win7 Properties

For Windows 8/10/11 users:

Go to the Properties of your computer, click Tools and then Check option under the Error-checking. Then, review the scan result and click Scan and repair drive. And choose when to repair the file system. 

Win10 Properties

Step 4. Review the scan result and click Scan and repair drive.

Step 5. Choose when to repair the file system and wait for the final result.

#2: Fix corrupted system files in Windows 7 using SFC

The SFC is a command line utility in Windows 7/8/10/11, which is used to scans for missing or corrupted system files and repairs them. If your problem is related to system boot files, you can try the following steps to fix it.

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box, right-click it and select Run as administrator.

Step 2. In the command prompt window, type sfc/scannow and hit Enter to excute this repair process.


After scanning, you will receive one of the following messages, which will tell you if the corrupted boot files are repaired.

  • Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations. This message indicates that there are no missing or corrupted system files.
  • Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation. This message means that you need to run SFC command in the safe mode and make sure that the PendingDeletes and PendingRenames folders exist under %WinDir%WinSxSTemp.
  • Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them.

SFC Scannow Fix Corrupted Files

  • Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them. This message means that you need to find the corrupted files and manually replace it with the right one (check this article for detailed steps). To view the details, you can go to CBS.Log %WinDir%LogsCBSCBS.log.

#3: Repair corrupted boot files in Windows with DISM 

If you receive the Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them message in the previous, try DISM command line. It’s a replacement tool for SFC command line, especially when SFC scannow not working. 

Step 1. Run cmd as administrator and type the following command in the command prompt window.

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth


Step 2. Wait and restart your computer to make the change available.

#4: Change the file format to fix corrupted files

If the corrupted files is a Word or Excel file, you can try this method to fix it. Please follow the steps below. 

Step 1. Open corrupted Word or Excel file, click Save As and select Web Page from the Save as type. 

Web Page

Step 2. Right-click on the previously saved files, select Open with > Microsoft Office Excel. If it’s opened normally, go to Save As option again and then select an Excel format .xls or .xlsx as instead. After saving, the corrupted Excel file will be recovered.

How to run CHKDSK in Windows 10

There are multiple ways to run CHKDSK in Windows 10, even when your PC doesn’t seem to be working. If you have to repair your Windows 10 hard drive in an emergency, CHKDSK might be the answer.

Here are three CHKDSK options you can try:

Run CHKDSK from your computer

You can use the CHKDSK utility from within Windows, and it’ll scan your drive for errors. Here’s how to run CHKDSK in Windows 10:

  1. Type chkdsk in the search box in your taskbar.

     A picture of a taskbar with

  2. Right-click chkdsk and choose Run as Administrator.

This method may cause CHKDSK to run without showing you the results. For more detailed and customized results, try running CHKDSK from the command prompt.

Run CHKDSK from Command Prompt

The Command Prompt is a useful tool that lets you execute commands in Windows — when you directly tell Windows what to do. If you’re not careful, this can result in additional complications, so make sure to follow these steps closely.

Here’s how to use Command Prompt to check your disk:

  1. Type cmd (or command prompt) in the search box in your taskbar.

    A picture of a taskbar with

  2. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator.

    A picture of the command prompt, with

  3. Type chkdsk and hit Enter. This command will make the CHKDSK utility scan for problems without making changes.

    A screenshot of command prompt with

  4. To run CHKDSK on a drive other than your C drive, specify the volume right after chkdsk. For example, check your D drive by typing chkdsk D: /f.

    Keep reading to find out what “/f” means and how to make CHKDSK corrupted filesrepair . But if there are no problems at this stage, you don’t need to do anything further.

    An example of results from running chkdsk. The results say that no problems were found.

The best part about Command Prompt is that it’s been consistently used across all Windows operating systems. Whether your computer is brand-new or 20 years old, you can use the same commands.

Run CHKDSK from Windows 10 Installation Disk

Your Windows 10 installation disk is a partition of your hard drive isolated from the rest of your data. If you can’t access your main hard drive, the installation disk will let you install a fresh version of Windows if necessary. It should be accessible as long as you can turn your computer on. 

If you can’t access your main drive, running CHKDSK from here might do the trick. Here’s how to run CHKDSK from your Windows 10 installation disk before boot:

  1. Turn on your computer and repeatedly tap F8 before the Windows logo shows up.

  2. When prompted, click Repair Your Computer.

  3. Click Troubleshoot and then select Advanced Options.

  4. Click Command Prompt. You can use this command prompt just the same as any other, and you can run CHKDSK on your Windows drive before it boots.

    A screenshot of the advanced options you can access when you boot from Windows 10 Installation disk.

CHKDSK should identify and remove bad sectors or corrupted data so that your computer will work normally again. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does chkdsk work on an external drive?

Yes, you can use the chkdsk command on an external drive. All you need to do is indicate that drive in the command when executing.

Here’s an example:

1. Open up Windows Power Shell or Command Prompt as an Administrator, as shown above.

2. Then, type in “chkdsk d: /f“, and hit Enter. Windows PowerShell

For this example, the external drive is listed as the D drive, the /f command scans the disks and attempts to repair it.

How do you view the output logs of the chkdsk scan?

1. Type Windows key + R at the same time to open the Run program, type in “eventvwr“, and hit Enter. Run - Event Viewer

2. Now, click on Windows Logs. Event Viewer

3. Next, click on Application. Event Viewer 2

4. Now scroll through the logs and look for Wininit in the Source tab, you want the one that has chkdsk information in the General tab.

How do you scan a drive with CHKDSK that’s in use?

Sometimes, scanning a drive with chkdsk can cause a message to pop up that states the drive is still in use. If this happens to you, you’ll either need to unmount the drive or boot up a flash drive with Windows Recovery Tools on them.

CHKDSK Troubleshooting

Here are some common issues that people struggle with before CHKDSK can run a disk scan.

Helpful hints: Prevent data loss due to file corruption 

You may feel upset when you want to open certain files, but cannot. In this case, you can choose fix corrupted files in Windows 7/8/10/11 or turn to data recovery software, but there is a risk of data loss. To avoid this situation, the best way is to backup files to external hard drive, USB drives, NAS, network share, etc. You need a reliable backup and restore software.

I strongly recommend you use AOMEI Backupper Standard for continuous data protection, not just after repairing the corrupted files. And you can choose different backup methods according to file types. 

For the common files, like music files, video files, word, excel, you could consider creating a file backup with its File Backup. If it is stored in a specific partition, select Partition Backup.For the system or boot files, like dll file, cbs.log files, you’d better perform system image backup. Both System Backup and Disk Backup help and will select system files automatically.

And either way, you can backup files automatically with its  schedule backups , you can choose among daily, weekly, monthly. But this may result in backup disk full sooner or later, it’s suggested to use all the disk space savior features, such as, incremental backup, normal compression, automatic splitting, etc. 

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Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Standard, click Backup and File Backup.

Select the corresponding method in the following picture if you want to backup specific partition or system files. 

File Backup

Step 2. Click Add File or Add Folder to select files or folders you want to backup.

You can  backup files with certain file extension as long as you enable the File Filter feature (supported by professional version). It’s shown as a funnel-shaped button next to the selected files or folders.

Add Folders

Step 3. Set up a destination path for your backup and set advanced features. Then, click Start Backup to backup files automatically.

✿ Options: You can comment on a task, compress backup image with normal or high compression level, split backup image to a smaller one, etc.
✿ Schedule Backup: You can create a daily/weekly/monthly backup or enjoy Event triggers and USB plug in feature in the Professional version.
✿ Backup Scheme: You can set incremental or differential backup to backup only changed files if you modify your files frequently. Also, you can delete old backups to free up disk space with one of the cleanup methods – By quantity, By time, By daily/weekly/monthly. Note most features in the Backup Scheme are not free.

Start Backup

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There is a growing trend to backup files to cloud storage. If you create an AOMEI account, you can backup files to AOMEI Cloud. You’ll get 1TB free storage for 15 days after you sign up for an AOMEI account.



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You can easily fix corrupted files in Windows 7/8/10/11 with given solutions. But there is still a risk of data loss. If you cannot afford it, the best way is to backup files automatically.

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a good option, since it still helps you minimize disk space with multiple features. The most complete way is to enable automatic backup cleanup methods and delete backup files automatically. To protect files on unlimited computers, try AOMEI Backupper Technician. 

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Why is the file corrupted?

No matter what is wrong, there is a reason for it. Here we summarize the most common reasons in the following. 

1. Your files corrupted during saving due to loss of power or computer crash. 

2. Bad sectors, virus, or malware on hard drive or other storage devices.

3. Bad update on your computer.

Why do I need to use CHKDSK?

You need to use CHKDSK when a boot error occurs. Corrupted data can break Windows, and CHKDSK can find those bad files and let Windows install a fresh copy in a new location. You can also use CHKDSK to prevent data loss.

How does data go missing or get corrupted in Windows?

Ruined parts of a hard drive are called bad sectors, and CHKDSK can detect them with a disk scan. CHKDSK will then attempt to fix the bad sectors so they’re usable again, potentially recovering the data in the process.

A mockup of a hard drive, showing scattered red segments representing bad sectors and the order that results after running a CHKDSK scan in Windows.
A disk with red segments representing bad sectors (above) and an organized disk (below).

Here are the ways data gets corrupted:

  • Hard bad sectors occur when the media is physically damaged, like when a speck of dust lands on the disk or the read/write head makes contact and ruins the surface.

  • A soft bad sector is when malware or an improper shutdown confuses the disk drive. From that point on, the computer remembers that this data wasn’t verifiable and marks it as a bad sector. You lose disk space and possibly even the file that didn’t get written correctly.

How to prevent corrupted data

An increasing number of bad sectors means your hard drive is about to fail. Back up your data immediately to avoid losing it, and get a new hard drive. In the meantime, run CHKDSK regularly to keep your PC running as fast and smoothly as possible and tune up Windows 10 when you can.

A large number of bad sectors can also indicate malware, which must be taken care of immediately if you don’t want to lose any more data. Malware can cause your computer’s performance to suffer, with 100% disk usage at all times.

When your hard drive is healthy, your PC boots up quickly and functions properly. Keep yours in top shape by running the defragger or letting your chosen malware and virus removal tool do a sweep to make sure there’s nothing hindering your computer’s performance.

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  • https://www.easeus.com/resource/fix-the-disk-structure-is-corrupted-and-unreadable.html
  • https://www.ubackup.com/windows-7/how-to-fix-corrupted-files-windows-7.html
  • https://www.avg.com/en/signal/how-to-use-chkdsk-windows
  • https://www.alphr.com/fix-hard-drives-chkdsk-windows-10/
  • https://www.crucial.in/support/system-maintenance-repair-hard-drive-errors
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