There are times when we want to access some parts of our disks but Windows doesn’t seem to cooperate. Sometimes it just freezes up until Explorer crashes, or the disk isn’t physically removed. Other times, you’ll get a message “The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable.” That is an indication that your device has incurred some physical problems that needs immediate attention. This issue usually occurs with removable media such as USB drives, memory cards, or older mechanical hard drives. This can be brought on by simple corrupt data, or it can be as bad as a damaged Master File Table (MFT).

With any kind of storage-related issue, there needs to be a preliminary test to see if there is any visible physical damage to the device in question. If either of those two things are true, then it is very unlikely that a software solution can fix the problem. So, below are the ways on how you can fix this issue with your removable media.

Unplug and Replug the Device

If you are using an external device, then this is a pretty simple process. If you plug in your USB, SD card, Removable storage, etc. and get the error “The Disk Structure is Corrupted and Unreadable,” remove it from your system. Wait for a few seconds to make sure no programs are freezing, and plug it back in.

It is very easy to access the internal storage drive on most dekstops. Power down the system and unplug everything. Then just remove the case’s screws and expose the side panel. Once in, track down your hard drive. It is usually located in the hard disk housing of your chassis (unless you have a customized chassis, in which case you may need to refer to your PC’s manual) and unscrew the hard drive.

On a laptop, a hard drive is easier to locate. Flip your laptop cover and look at the bottom, and find the helpful little symbols in it. The stacked disks represent the location of the hard drive. Next, remove all the cables, but make sure you take note of all the parts you will unplug. Then put everything back the way it was, making sure that the wires are inserted completely (the connection shouldn’t be wiggly), and then place back the screws securely before you turn it back on to see if your problem has been resolved.

Otherwise, proceed to the next troubleshooting option.

Reinstall the Device

Please take note though that this option is not recommended to be done on the drive where your current operating system is installed.

In the Windows search, type in “Device Manager” and the open the Device Manager app from the search results. Expand the Disk drives section, right-click on the name of the problematic disk, and then select Uninstall.

Once you have successfully uninstalled the problematic disk drive, click on Scan hardware changes, which is the last icon on the Device Manager screen’s menu.

Run Check Disk (CHKDSK)

In case you are experiencing the issue with a non-removable storage (storage that you cannot simply unplug and then re-plug instantly), you’ll need to run a basic test of all connected storage devices, called CHKDSK. This is ideal for troubleshooting internal storage, but is also just as effective for any type of storage device. CHKDSK is a DOS-based command, so you’ll need to go to the Command Prompt with administrative privileges in order to perform a Check Disk.

Once you’re in the Command Prompt window, type in “CHKDSK” and then press [Enter]. You can go about doing your other chores as it analyzes the condition of your drive. This process may take a few hours depending on the size and type of the drive.

Check Disk When Windows is Inaccessible

In case you are experiencing a corrupted disk that won’t allow you to access Windows altogether, you need to boot the system and access the Advanced Boot Options. Some laptops require pressing [F12], while some desktops require you to press [F8] to access the Advanced Boot Options. Once you’re in the Advanced Boot Options menu, select Repair, then click on Command Prompt in the System Recovery Options. On the Command Prompt, type in “CHKDSK /r X:”

Replace “X” with the drive letter of your problematic drive. If your Advanced Recovery Options do not give you access to the Command Prompt, you are going to have to get your hands on a recovery disk, and for that you need to contact your computer manufacturer for one.

Verify Using Disk Manager

Again, this solution is not recommended if the partition you are going to remove is where the operating system is currently installed in (which is usually the C: drive).

If your Windows is booting, but everything else has failed and you are still having problems, you can temporarily alleviate your worries by making your drive disappear by removing its drive letter. Your data will still be safe but you will not be able to access it from a hidden partition. Be careful here, otherwise you will risk deleting the entire contents of your disk.

Access your Start menu, type in “computer management” in the search, then press [Enter]. In the left side of the menu, look for Disk Management, then click it. If you know which partition is causing the problem, right-click on it, and then select Change Drive Letters and Paths… Click on Remove, and then click Yes to confirm. That should remove the disk from booting up, and allowing you to access your system normally while you identify the problem.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 6:13:41 AM and is filed under Tech Tips & Tricks.

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