How To

File or Directory Is Corrupted and Unreadable: How to Fix It?

Running the Windows memory diagnostic tool is an effective way to resolve the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable error


The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable error is one problem that could be very annoying, as anyone who has ever encountered it will attest. Regardless of the operating system version, this error can occur when you connect an external storage device to a Windows computer, such as a hard drive or flash drive.

The data on your external storage device cannot be accessed or processed as a result of this problem, and in this post, we will look at the reasons behind this issue and offer effective troubleshooting techniques to help you repair it.

Before trying out some advanced troubleshooting techniques, we recommend the quick fix below.

  • The first step to take is to reboot your system. This simple step can help resolve minor glitches and potentially fix this error.

If the step above does not work, go ahead with our more detailed solutions below.

1. Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool

A built-in Windows Memory Diagnostic program can be used to check for issues with your computer’s RAM. It accomplishes this by performing several RAM checks, including reading and writing data and checking for mistakes. There is a probability that you cannot access some files or folders due to memory-related problems. In this case, running the diagnostic tool is your best bet.

  1. Press Windows + S to open the search bar, type Windows Memory Diagnostic, and choose the required option.
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  2. Choose the Restart now and check for problems (recommended) option.
  3. Let your computer restart, when it does, the memory diagnostic will launch automatically. Reboot your computer after allowing the process to complete.
    file or directory is corrupted and unreadable
  4. After logging back in, the result should appear on your desktop.

2. Perform a Malware Scan

You might have a virus infestation if you’ve experienced other issues with your computer and the inability to access external hard drives. You can use a Windows built-in utility or third-party antivirus software to resolve it. The example below will make use of a third-party program.

  1. Your antivirus program can be selected by clicking the upward-pointing arrow in the taskbar’s lower right corner, then by right-clicking it and choosing the option to launch the application.
  2. Click the button to start the virus scan, depending on your antivirus program. If you want dependable antivirus software, you can also check out our selection of the top antivirus programs for PCs without ads.
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  3. After performing the scan, check to see if the performance of your device has improved.

3. Run the CHKDSK command

If you continue to experience the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable error when you try to open an external hard drive, this could mean that your drive has a bad sector. In this situation, running a CHKDSK command is your best bet.

  1. Hold the Windows + R keys simultaneously, type cmd in the text field, then hold Ctrl+ Shift + Enter to open the command prompt as an administrator.
  2. Once you are in the command prompt, input the command below and hit Enter. Do not forget to replace x with the letter of your drive.
    chkdsk x: /f /r
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  3. This process will check for damaged sectors, directory issues, lost clusters, and will also restore data if needed.

4. Run the Windows Startup Repair

Any issues found can be diagnosed and fixed using startup repair. This tool will automatically check the system files, registry settings, configuration settings, etc., and make an independent attempt to fix the problem. Follow the steps below to run this command.

  1. Press Windows + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Update & security > Recovery > Restart now.
    file or directory is corrupted and unreadable
  3. Navigate to Troubleshoot > Advanced, then click the Startup Repair option.

    file or directory is corrupted and unreadable
  4. Windows will now look for and fix any issues and then restart. Try to access your files once more after the procedure is finished.

Final Thoughts

Following the steps outlined in this guide should help you overcome the file or directory is corrupted error and get your system working without any issues. If you have further questions, contact us via the comment section below.

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David Ogbor
David is a tech guru with extensive knowledge in technical articles. He is passionate about writing and presents technical articles in an easy-to-understand format for easy comprehension. He aims to present easy solutions for day-to-day problems encountered while using PC. In his spare time, he likes traveling, playing sports, and singing.