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"Hard Drive Is Not Accessible. Access Is Denied" Error – How To Fix

External Hard Drive Is Not Accessible. Access Is Denied

The two most useful functions of external hard drive are storing data and transferring them between different devices without network. Typically, an external hard disk is connected with computers or other devices via USB. The plug and play drive functionality offers system compatibility and features large storage options and portable design….

Hard Drive Is Not Accessible Error Can Be Fixed

However, one day, you may find files disappeared from an external hard drive or you are not allowed to access it, receiving the following error messages:

  • "Hard drive is not accessible. Access is denied".
  • "Drive is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable".
  • "Drive is not accessible. The parameter is incorrect".
  • "Drive is not accessible. The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable".
Have you ever encountered such access denied error? Are you one of the victims who work hard to try to fix an external hard drive that says access denied? If yes, then congratulate you come to the right place.

According to a survey, many users have ever been stuck in such dilemma. They feel very helpless when seeing a prompt window like this:

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However, the problem is – most people have no idea at all of how to fix this error; some of them even choose to give up their hard drive as well as the original data. Are you one of them? Please don't be! In the following part, we'll show you several practical solutions to fix the error.

Firstly, we'll tell you how to recover data from not accessible drive by using MiniTool Power Data Recovery, in case that there are data very important for you. If you don't care about the data, please ignore this part directly.

A Specific Case of "Access Is Denied" Error

"Today I really need your help. For the past week, I have been doing nothing but only tagging my music files which I have in my Western Digital 1TB HDD. Two days I ago I started to notice that some songs wouldn't play halfway through or sometimes when I put some songs to play on VLC it would instead play a video which I have somewhere in my external hard drive as well but in a completely different folder location.

My simple solution at first was to unplug and plug back my external HDD (via USB 2.0) and everything would be OK (songs would play correctly). Then yesterday the same thing happened but now this time I could not delete or create any folder inside my WD HDD. I Googled for some answers to my problem and I kept reading about the error-checking tool (Properties > Tools > Check Now) so I performed that. Everything was fine after that. Then, later on, that day I had the same problem and I performed again the error-checking tool process but this time I noticed it took longer!

After that my nightmare started! Even though my Western Digital 1TB external hard drive was/is visible (icon) in Explorer, I could not access/open it. This pop-up would say 'I:\ is not accessible. Access is denied.'"

– a source from answers.microsoft.com

What if the WD HDD can be accessed but some files are lost from it? Of course, you should hurry up to perform western digital hard drive recovery.

6 Solutions to Drive or Partition Access Denied Error

Before fixing the hard drive is not accessible (access is denied) error, you'd better transfer data from it at first unless you have not stored any data here or the data saved here are not useful anymore.

As a result, we'll first introduce the way to recover data from an inaccessible drive and the way to make it accessible again.

Solution 1: Recover Data & Make Drive Usable

Both inexperienced users and experienced users are in need of a data recovery program to get back missing files. Well, MiniTool Power Data Recovery, developed by a famous software development company based in Canada, is recommended here since it is green, professional and user-friendly.

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Step 1: get and install MiniTool Power Data Recovery on the computer, and then launch it to get its main interface.

1. Never install it on the drive that you are trying to recover data from. Install it on a separate drive.
2. The free edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery can only recover 1GB data. Here, if you need to recover data more than 1GB, please choose an advanced edition to break the limitation.

Step 2: please click on "Damaged Partition Recovery" in the main interface to recover data from the drive with "access is denied" error.

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In fact, as long as the target drive exists, you can use "Damaged Partition Recovery" to recover data. You can read our previous post: The Request Failed Due To A Fatal Device Hardware Error – Best Solution (Section 2 Recover Files from Not Accessible Drive) to know more detailed information.

Step 3: select and scan the inaccessible hard drive.

Note: in this step, you can click "Settings" button before click "Full Scan" in order to specify needed file systems as well as file types, as shown below.

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Step 4: check all needed files at the end of the scan and save them to a safe place.

1. Before saving data, you are allowed to preview the filename, size, dimensions, creation date and some related information.
2. It is recommended that you store needed files to another drive. Otherwise, some lost data may be overwritten.

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With just a few clicks, you can easily recover data from inaccessible hard drive without affecting the original data since MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a read-only tool; it can keep data safe all the time. In addition to recovering data from a drive with "access is denied" error, this tool can also help to recover data from lost partition. Besides, this professional data recovery software supports data recovery from various storage devices, including USB flash drive, memory stick and pen drive.

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After that, you may as well use the "Format Partition" function of MiniTool Partition Wizard to make your hard drive usable again.

Note: we'll take Windows 7 as an example in all the following solutions.

Solution 2: Uninstall Drive or USB Device

Step 1: open the Device Manager by typing "device manager" or "devmgmt.msc" into the search bar on Start menu.

Step 2: find the hard drive or USB device in the list and right-click on it to choose "Uninstall".

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Step 3: when it's gone, please scan for hardware changes. Right-click on "Computer" option under the Username-PC list at the top and then click on "Scan for hardware changes".

Solution 3: Change Drive Letter

Step 1: right-click on "Computer" icon on the desktop and choose "Manage".

Step 2: select "Disk Management" in the left pane, under "Storage".

Step 3: locate the target drive and right-click on it to choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths…"

Step 4: follow the prompts to finish drive letter change process.

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Note: you can also make use of the "Change Drive Letter" function of MiniTool Partition Wizard to finish the task.

Solution 4: Take Ownership of the Drive

Step 1: open the Windows Explorer and find the inaccessible drive.

Step 2: right-click on the inaccessible drive and choose "Properties".

Step 3: shift to the "Security" tab, and then click "Advanced" button in this window.

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Step 4: change permissions according to needs. (Or you can click on "Edit" directly in step 3)

Solution 5: Resort to CHKDSK Command

Step 1: type "cmd" into the search box on Start menu and press "Enter".

Step 2: type "chkdsk /r *:" into the pop-up window and press "Enter".

Step 3: wait for the completion of the process.

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Then, you may try to boot into the safe mode and access the HDD in Windows 7.

Solution 6: Replace the Drive with A New One

Now, if all the solutions above cannot fix this error, your hard drive might have some physical problems. If that is true, you should consider replacing it with a new hard drive.

Note: if the external hard drive is physically damaged, data recovery software cannot help to recover its data even if you use the "Damaged Partition Recovery" feature of MiniTool Power Data Recovery. At this time, you may try asking a professional data recovery company for help.

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Follow-up Questions about "Drive Is Not Accessible" Error

Do you know why your drive turns into inaccessible suddenly? How does this error appear? In this part, we'll answer those questions for you. After that, we'll show you the related problem - access denied error when accessing files or folders. Then, give you some advice.

Reasons for Causing Drive Is Not Accessible Error

In general, there are various reasons that can lead to the drive or partition "access denied" error, including:

  • Plug out an external hard drive or removable hard drive in an improper way.
  • Power failure for a powered hard drive.
  • Virus attack.
  • File system goes wrong, such as DBR, MFT, as well as FAT.
  • The external hard drive is physically damaged.

In a word, this error message clearly indicates that the permission of this drive is corrupted. As a result, people cannot access files stored on it.

The Related Problem - Access Denied Error When Accessing Files or Folders

Let's start with a true story:

"For some reason, I cannot delete any file or folder within C:\Program Files. I get the error message: access denied. Make sure the disk is not full or write protected. I have 3 partitioned hard drives. C: for Operating system, E: for software install and F: for data. The only software installed on C: partition is Kaspersky Anti-virus."

An "access denied" error message can occur for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The folder ownership may have changed.
  • You do not have the proper permissions.
  • The file may be encrypted.
  • The file may be in use.
  • The file may be corrupted.
  • The user profile may be corrupted.

There are some practical solutions to this problem:

1. Run disk error checking

  • Right-click the drive, choose Properties > Tools > Check now.
  • Keep the default option "Automatically fix file system errors" and click Start.

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2. Take ownership of the file or folder

If you have upgraded your machine to the most recent OS such as Windows 10, chances are some of your account information may have changed during the process. If it is so, you may no longer have ownership of some of your files or folders.

Now, "Access Denied" or other errors when you access or work with files and folders in Windows will show you how to take ownership of file or folder as well as other solutions about this error.

3. Decrypt the file or folder

No doubt, encryption can help protect files and folders from unwanted access. If you do not have access to a file or folder, it is possible the file is encrypted.

Read this "Access Is Denied" Error Message Appears When Permissions Are Correct post to find detailed solutions to solve this problem.

4. Recover data since file is corrupted

If the file is corrupted, the only thing you can do is to recover data from a backup copy.

Brief Summary

After seeing the above introduction, you must have a basic understanding of the "access is denied" error and know how to cope with it clearly.

In a nutshell, when you find your hard drive is not accessible, you had better transfer its data out at first in case of any accidents. And remember, MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a good choice for you to recover data from not accessible drive. Then, you can try the solutions mentioned in this post to fix the error on your own.