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Quickly Fix - The Disk Structure Is Corrupted and Unreadable

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    Issue: The Disk Structure Is Corrupted and Unreadable

    Recently one of my friends asked me to help him remove "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" error. Through several tryings, I finally worked it out. This morning I searched on the internet and found that there were so many people discussing the same issue. Here is a question quoted from Tomshardware:

    "Recently, I bought a new computer and I connect my external hard drive to the computer. After I done with the transferring I tried to disconnect it but it said I can't because it's still in use. so, without any hesitated I just plugged out the external HD from the computer and when connected it back to the computer it said that the external HD is corrupted and unreadable. I try to perform a check disk but it won't allow me to do that. it says, it cannot perform the disk check because it can't access the disk. please help me, I have my family and my girlfriend pictures in there. I really need it."

    So I feel it is time to share my own experience with you.

    Generally speaking, "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" is a hard drive issue that happens when the computer tries to access a partition that has a corrupted or unreadable disk structure, thus resulting in a failed attempt to access it. Normally, this error message can be caused by hard drive's Master File Table (MFT) being damaged or data corruption, and always presents itself like the following picture shows in Windows:

    drive not accessible

    Have you ever met such an error? How did you finally resolve this issue? If you have no idea, you may just keep reading on.

    In this post, I put forward 4 possible solutions to help you get out of drive not accessible issue. Please try them out one by one and check whether a certain one is helpful.

    recommend Top Recommendation:

    You may have the experience of seeing "Hard drive is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" message. This error is very similar with today's topic, and the post How to Fix: The File or Directory Is Corrupted and Unreadable tells how to address this issue.

    Possible Solutions to Drive Not Accessible

    Solution 1. Check Hard Drive for Errors

    When you meet "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable", the first measure you can take is to check and repair file system. Here I think two ways are helpful to do this job.

    ①Run MiniTool Partition Wizard
    MiniTool Partition Wizard is a good choice to check and fix file system. Developed by MiniTool Solution Ltd., this disk partition manager has helped numerous Windows users to cope with kinds of hardware management issues, such as move/resize partition, migrate system to SSD, copy partition, rebuild MBR, hide/unhide partition, etc. With clear interface and straightforward wizard, users only need to click several times and then a job is finished. Thus, this free partition magic has won great reputation all over the world.

    Then how to check file system using MiniTool Partition Wizard? Before you can use it, you need to download and install it on your computer. Press the button below to get this freeware right now!

    Step 1. Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard to the main interface. Then you can see all your hard drives connected to this PC are listed in the middle area, together with the key information about your drives.

    Step 2. Now select the partition that keeps reporting "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" to choose "Check File System" feature from the available operations.

    check file system

    Step 3. Now you are expected to choose "Check & fix detected errors" and click "Start" button. When Partition Wizard has finished, click "Cancel" and exit.

    check and fix errors

    Now restart computer and check whether the problem is resolved.

    ②Run CHKDSK
    Another choice is to run CHKDSK on the partition which is causing this trouble. CHKDSK is a utility that is built into Windows OS and can be used to check hard drives connected to PC for issues and try to fix errors that have been found.

    Then how to correct this problem using CHKDSK?

    You can run this command in cmd on the partition that spews out "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" error message whenever you try to access it. To do this, follow the steps below.

    Step 1. Press "Win+R" keys to open "Run", then type "cmd" in the box and hit Enter.
    Step 2. Type the command "chkdsk n: /r" (without quote) and hit Enter key (n is the drive letter of the corresponding hard drive showing the error, be sure you are entering the right drive letter).
    Step 3. Type "exit" when CHKDSK finishes.

    Finally you can restart computer and check whether the problem is resolved.

    "I used MiniTool Partition Wizard to resolve 'the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable' error, which is easy to use and works great. So I would like to share this freeware to all of you. Hope it also saves your day."

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    Solution 2. Uninstall and Reinstall the Disk Drive

    In some cases, it is a simple hiccup between your hardware and software which allows Windows OS to communicate with the hard drives that causes this issue. If this is the case, you should be able to fix this error by un-installing and re-installing the problem drive. Look you can accomplish this job by doing the followings:

    Note: this solution should never be used on your system disk. If it is the system disk that reports drive not accessible or location is not available, you can skip to solution 3.

    Step 1. Press "Win+R" keys to open "Run". Then type "diskmgmt.msc" in the Run dialog and press Enter key. Now select "Device Manager" from the left menu. (Tip: you can also get into Disk Management by right clicking This PC > Manage > Device Manager)

    Step 2. Unfold Disk drivers, then you can see your hard drives that are connected to this PC. Now right click the disk that is saying "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" and choose "Uninstall" from the options.


    Step 3. You will receive a warning message asking to confirm that you want to uninstall this device from your system. Click "OK" to continue. In a minute, the drive will be uninstalled successfully.
    Tip: sometimes this operation requires a reboot.

    confirm uninstall

    Step 4. And finally, you just click "Scan for hardware changes" under Action bar.
    Tip: please wait for the uninstalled disk to be detected and reinstalled. Then you can restart your computer and see if the issue is resolved.

    scan hardware change

    Solution 3: Recover Data from Unreadable Hard Drive and Reformat
    The third solution you can rely on is to use professional data recovery software to get important data back and then do reformatting on the drive. Here I recommend using MiniTool Power Data Recovery to help you. In brief, this data recovery solution is a powerful yet easy-to-use program that has helped numerous users to get lost data back.

    There are five modules you can choose from, and they are: Undelete Recovery, Lost Partition Recovery, Damaged Partition Recovery, Digital Media Recovery and CD/DVD recovery, each of them focus on recovering data from different situations. For example, choose Undelete Recovery if you accidentally deleted a file and emptied the Recycle Bin; choose Lost Partition Recovery if you cleaned the wrong disk; choose Damaged Partition Recovery if you cannot access a partition with RAW file system; choose Digital Media Recovery if you are trying to recover data from digital media, and choose CD/DVD recovery if data loss happens on CD/DVDs.

    I will show you how to recover data from hard drives with "corrupt master file table".

    Step 1. Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery to the main interface. When you see the five modules, just choose Damaged Partition Recovery because the MFT of the drive is corrupt.

    damaged partition recovery

    Step 2. Then you should distinguish which hard drive is the one that needs data recovery by viewing the hard drive capacity. Usually when the file system is damaged, the hard drive will be displayed as an "Unidentified" disk. Then just click "Full Scan" to start.

    full scan

    Step 3. Depending on the capacity and data amount stored on the drive, Power Data Recovery needs unequal time to finish scanning the drive. Then it will list all partitions that had been created in history. Please note that each time it only shows 10 partitions at most. If the listed partitions do not contain needed data, just go back to the partition list and select other possible ones.

    list partitions

    Step 4. Then you just unfold each folder under RAW to check data. It is recommended to use "Preview" and "Filter" options to do a quick check. After that, click "Save" and choose a safe location to store selected data.
    It is recommended to choose another location to save data so as to avoid possible data overwriting on the source drive.
    If Power Data Recovery fails to save data, you can try again to keep these files under a root dictionary.

    check files

    View this video to get more intuitive tutorial:

    Tip: the free edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery has a 1GB data recovery limit, because it is designed for users to have a try on data recovery before they purchase. To recover more, you need to upgrade to full edition. Press the button below and get the best price here.

    Now data recovery is finished, it's time to reformat the hard drive to remove corrupt master file table.

    In fact, there are too many ways to do hard drive formatting. And here I just tell you how to format hard drive using the tools you already have.

    Top Recommendation: if you use the "Format" option on the GUI of Windows Explorer, probably you will fail. Check the post Windows was unable to complete the format to get the solutions.

    First of all, let's see how to format in Partition Wizard.

    Since you use MiniTool Partition Wizard to check and fix file system, you can also use it to do formatting. On the main interface of this tool, select the target partition and choose "Format". Then enter the partition label, choose file system and cluster size before you click OK. Finally hit "Apply" to make the change.

    Besides, you can format the partition in Disk Management.
    Run "diskmgmt.msc", then Disk Management appears. In the disk map, right click the partition of which the master file table is corrupt to choose "Format". Then in the new presented window, customize the volume label, file system, and cluster size. Windows will ask you do you really want to do the format, please confirm.

    Solution 4. Check whether the Hard Drive Has Failed or Is Failing

    If Partition Wizard, CHKDSK, and Power Data Recovery all fail to fix the problem and even can't gain access to scan the hard drive for errors, there is a possibility that the hard drive is no longer in health state, which means it is already failed or is failing. In this case what you need to do is to use Partition Wizard to do "Disk Surface Test". If the hard drive is proved to have physical bad sectors, you need to send it to repair center or you just replace this drive.


    In this post, I mainly tell what is "the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable" error, and also give 4 possible solutions to help resolve this issue. Hope they are helpful. In the future days, if you also encounter this error message when trying to access a hard drive, you can use the methods mentioned here to help resolve issue. If you have better suggestions, please leave it in the following comment zone; if you have difficulty using MiniTool software, you can contact support@minitool.com to get further technical support.