How to recover corrupted files in Windows 10

Sometimes it can happen to us that when clicking on a folder or a file, it does not open and shows the message that it is damaged. Said message may be that ” the file or directory is corrupt or damaged ” or something similar. This situation can be stressful, especially if it is a file that you need at the moment. In this post I will try to help you recover damaged files so that you can open them in Windows 10.

If it is an external hard drive or USB drive, the error could be: “Z: \ is not accessible” (Z would be the letter of the respective drive), followed by the name of the file. Then the system will show you another pop-up window suggesting you format the drive: “You need to format the disk in drive Z: before you can use it.” Obviously, you don’t want to format the drive and lose all your files and folders.

Here are some ways to repair damaged files and folders in Windows 10. But first let’s see the possible reasons why the file or folder may have been corrupted.

What causes files to get corrupted?

It is good to understand the main causes of file corruption, and it can help us to fix it easier.

  • The MFT or FAT partition containing the file or folder is corrupted
  • Virus or malware problem
  • The pendrive or external disk is physically damaged
  • Removing the external drive without safely removing it.

The solutions should work for both internal and external drives.

#1. Scan the drive for viruses and other threats

You can run your favorite antivirus or use the Windows Defender that comes pre-installed on all Windows 10 computers.

Install and run malwarebytes. to scan and protect your computer. Malware is not the same as a virus. You need both on your computer to protect your files and folders from getting corrupted.

Finally, you must download and run the Microsoft Safety Scanner application. Always download the latest version before running it. The portable application does not update automatically.

#2. Check for system errors

Open File Explorer (Windows + E) and right click on the damaged drive to select Properties option .

On the Tools tab , click Check in the Error checking section .

The system will now check and fix common drive-related issues in the background.

#3. Run Windows Memory Diagnostic to recover corrupted files

Microsoft recommends running the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool to make sure you are not dealing with a memory leak or similar problem.

Find the Control Panel in Windows search and open it. Now go to System and Security > Administrative Tools. In the new window, double-click on the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool  .

Click the ” Restart now and check for problems (recommended) ” option in the pop-up window. The computer will restart automatically, so make sure you have saved your work first.

#4. Run the check disk command to recover damaged files

One of the most common solutions for the corrupted file and folder error is the  Check Disk command.

It begins by saving any pending work and closing all other open programs.

Find Command Prompt in Windows search and select Run as administrator in the right pane.

Now type the command check disk, as shown below. Replace the letter “E” with the letter of the damaged drive.

chkdsk / f E:

This works for both internal and external drives. The process will take some time, and when it is complete, check if you can access the corrupted file or folder.

Is the message “The file or directory is damaged or cannot be read” still displayed?

If you see a message indicating that the volume is in use by another process, type Y and press Enter within the Command Prompt. This will confirm any scheduled scans for the restart of the computer. Then the scan will start while the PC is in the boot process.

#5. Format and recover damaged files

This solution is appropriate if you are accessing an external hard drive or flash drive and you receive the error “The file or directory is corrupted or cannot be read” with an option to format it. We are clear that formatting the drive will delete all the data it contains.

The first thing you should do is back up your data to a different drive.

Then you should try to recover the data. For this, there are a number of data recovery applications available in the market. Recuva and EaseUS are two of the most popular.

Check if that works for you and you can open the file or folder. Try to do your best to get the files back before formatting the drive.

If that is not possible, go ahead and format the drive. Anyway you already have a backup of the files elsewhere.

You will also find the option to format when you right click on the drive letter.

# 6. How to prevent data loss

No matter where your data is located, internal or external drive, there is always the possibility of loss for various reasons.

One of the best ways to protect your data is to take automatic backups locally or to cloud storage. For this you can use OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox.

You can also use an external drive for backup. But even that will be prone to errors and physical damage. Anyway, any backup option is always better than none.

Recover corrupted files in Windows 10

The best way to keep your information and files safe is to back it up to the cloud. In this way, these types of problems will not affect you irreversibly, since you can easily restore the files.

You can always try using a file recovery software like EaseUS or Recuva to get back the lost data. However, recovery depends on several factors. For example, it becomes difficult if data was overwritten, files corrupted beyond repair, etc.

If you are facing the loss of your files and this guide has not worked for you, the best thing is that you learn from this error. The experience will help you not to have the same situation again in the future.

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