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How to Fix Corrupted External Hard Drive Without Formatting

Are you interested in learning how to repair a damaged hard drive without the need to format it? This blog will delve into methods for fixing external hard drives without the necessity of formatting.


External hard drives can suffer corruption or become inaccessible due to factors like file system problems, bad sectors, virus attacks, sudden disconnection, or mishandling. While reformatting can resolve non-physical errors, it also wipes all data. But is it feasible to restore a corrupted external hard drive without reformatting? Certainly!

The Reasons to Causes Hard Drive Corruption

If your external hard drive prompts you to format it before use, various factors might be at play. Understanding these common causes is vital for effective data recovery.

One reason for this prompt could be hardware or software issues, rendering the drive unreadable due to a failing drive reader, a malfunctioning hard drive, or cable/connectivity problems. In such cases, attempt data recovery before formatting. In this scenario, data recovery may involve reformatting or salvaging data. Additionally, a corrupted file or directory could lead to this prompt when the drive reader can't access it. The best approach is again data recovery before considering formatting.

  • Software glitches
  • Malware-related harm
  • Manufacturer defects
  • Read/write problems
  • Unfavorable operating environments
  • Physical harm
  • Corrupted Master Boot Record (MBR) on the disk
  • Faulty sectors on the hard drive

Prior to repairing an external hard drive or attempting file recovery, it's essential to grasp the reasons behind hard drive corruption.

Can i Recover Lost Files on Corrupted External Hard Drive Without Formatting

You can effortlessly retrieve data from a damaged hard drive using a trustworthy hard drive data recovery program like iDATAPP Data Recovery. This software is compatible with the recovery of data from formatted, damaged, or RAW hard drives, swiftly scanning your hard drive to locate lost or corrupted files. Moreover, iDATAPP Data Recovery offers additional features that enhance its utility as a data recovery tool.

iDATAPP Data Recovery
Get Back Deleted/Lost Data from Windows/Mac Computer.

The software supports various file system formats, including FAT32, NTFS, VXD, XFS, LNFS, and more. It also accommodates split hard drives, enabling recovery for the entire drive or specific folders. iDATAPP Data Recovery boasts a user-friendly interface for easy data selection and management. When dealing with data recovery from a damaged hard drive, iDATAPP Data Recovery proves to be a reliable and practical software solution.

Step 1: Download and installed iDATAPP Data Recovery Tool on your computer, connect your external hard drive to your computer.

Step 2: Select the Data type and scan it from your Hard disk Drives.

Step 3: Select the Location of Your Lost Data .

Step 4: Recover Lost data from your corrupted external hard drive without formatting.

Ways to Fix Corrupted External Hard Drives Without Formatting on computer

Way 1: Initiate an antivirus scan on your hard disk.

Malicious software and viruses have the potential to inflict substantial damage on your computer's hard drive, resulting in the loss of data, reduced operational speed, and system instability. In order to avert these complications, it is essential to conduct a thorough malware scan on your hard disk. Windows furnishes a pre-installed antivirus solution, known as Windows Defender Antivirus, specifically crafted to shield your system from malware and viruses.

Step 1: Press the Windows + I simultaneously to access System Settings.

Step 2: Then, proceed to Update & Security, and subsequently, Windows Security. On the right panel, select Virus & threat protection.

Step 3: The tool will commence a device scan, and if it identifies any viruses, the results will be displayed.

Step 4: If additional on-screen instructions are provided, follow them to address any hard disk problems. Afterward, restart your system and check if the hard disk is accessible.

Way 2: Conduct a virus scan on your computer.

You can scan your computer for viruses without the need for third-party antivirus software. Windows Defender, included with recent Windows versions, offers robust protection, often outperforming paid solutions. This built-in antivirus scans swiftly and accurately. It excels in speed and virus detection compared to paid alternatives. Additionally, Windows Defender offers extra security features, including automatic virus database updates and real-time malware protection. To safeguard your computer from viruses, enabling Windows Defender at startup is a simple and effective choice, accessible via the System tab in Settings.

Guidelines for conducting a virus scan using Windows Defender:

Step 1: Enter "windows security" in the Taskbar search box and hit ENTER.

Step 2: Pick "Virus & threat protection" from the left-hand menu.

Step 3: Click "Scan options" below the "Quick scan" option.

Step 4: Opt for a "Full scan" and select the "Scan now" button to examine all files and active programs on your hard drive.

Way 3: Fix damaged external hard drives using Windows utilities.

There are various tools available for attempting to recover a problematic hard drive. Each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses, but all of them have the potential to help restore the drive to its original state. It is important to try out a few different tools to see which one works best for you.

Step 1: Access "This PC," right-click on the drive displaying bad sectors, and select "Properties."

Step 2: Navigate to the "Tools" tab.

Step 3: Choose "Check" to scan and mend the problematic sectors on your hard disk.

Way 4: Execute the CHKDSK tool.

The CHKDSK utility is a command-line tool designed to scan and resolve issues across your entire hard drive. It's essential to run this tool in the command prompt to ensure thorough issue identification and resolution.

Step 1: Click the Search button on the taskbar and enter "cmd" in the search box. Right-click "cmd" and choose "Run as administrator."

Step 2: Enter the command "chkdsk F: /f /r /x" and hit Enter. Replace "F" with the letter corresponding to the corrupted external hard drive.

Step 3: Input "exit" and press Enter to exit the Command Prompt.

Tip: To clarify the parameters employed, "/f" instructs chkdsk to rectify discovered errors, "/r" directs it to identify and salvage data from faulty sectors, and "/x" compels the drive to disengage before initiating the process.

Way 5: Repair system files that are corrupted using an SFC scan.

Occasionally, a hard drive displaying unusual symptoms may have missing or damaged system files, often resulting from issues during the file-saving process. Hence, if your hard drive appears to be compromised and inaccessible, it's advisable to first address the corrupted system files.

Step 1: Initiate a Command Prompt window by clicking Start, typing "cmd," and pressing Enter.

Step 2: Input "chkdsk g:/f" (replace "g" with the external hard drive's letter) and press Enter.

Step 3: Enter "sfc /scannow" and hit Enter.

After completing the repair process, you will see a "Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations" message and unless the corruption is not found, it will be repaired automatically. This means that during the repair process, the system will automatically check and fix any potential integrity issues, ensuring the integrity of the data and system. This functionality is important for protecting your system from malware and other security threats.


Handling a corrupted external hard drive can be challenging, and losing data through formatting is typically avoidable. No matter the cause of the corruption, this article outlines effective solutions to restore access to your data. The next step is to apply these solutions.

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