"The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable"

Those users who often use external data storage devices such as external hard drives, memory cards or thumb drives can face the error:

File or directory is corrupted

There are the following reasons of the “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable” error:

  1. File system error.
  2. Physical damage of the data storage device. External impact, moisture penetration, static electricity and other factors may be the cause of the "The file or directory is corrupted or unreadable" error.
  3. Different viruses can change the file system metadata on your hard drive or thumb drive.
  4. Unsafe removal of the device can lead to inconsistent filesystem metadata.
  5. Damage of the USB port to which the device is connected.

How to fix "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" error

  • Reboot the PC. Sometimes it helps.
  • Check the USB cable. Try to connect the device to a different USB port.
  • Format the drive. Generally, formatting the device solves most cases of file system damage (especially, low-level formatting). However, the approach has some specifics - formatting deletes all data stored on the device and in the end you get a completely empty storage. If you do not need this data, do the following:
    1. Click Start, type diskmgmt.msc in the search box and press Enter.
    2. Identify the device in question.
    3. Right-click the partition and choose Format.
    4. Set formatting parameters like a file system type. For small devices like memory cards and USB thumb drives choose FAT32 or exFAT, for external hard drives use NTFS.

If the data is important, before formatting you need to recover data using special data recovery software like ReclaiMe.

How to recover data in case of "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" error

In this case data recovery process is simple, it doesn't require any special preparation and usually does not take a lot of time. Just decide in advance where you are going to copy the recovered data to. If you deal with a thumb drive, you will probably find a couple of gigabytes on your system drive. But if you have a hard drive of several terabytes, you will have to prepare a storage to copy the recovered data to – use an external hard drive or a NAS device.

  1. Download, install, and run ReclaiMe File Recovery.
  2. Choose the device you need to recover data from (pay attention to the device size and the connection type) and click Start.
  3. Data Error Recovery in ReclaiMe
  4. The software immediately starts to bring data and you can preview the files found. Although not all the file formats can be previewed, most common image formats like .jpg, .png, and .tiff are supported.
  5. As soon as the software completes scanning, you can copy the files.
  6. Once files are copied, check the recovered data by opening some of the files - if they are OK, format the drive.

Still have questions?