Cannot access hard drive because its file system is damaged. Here, you can try using MiniTool Power Data Recovery, The best data recovery software can help you easily and quickly recover lost data from drive with damaged file system. More importantly, this tool can recover lost data without damaging the original data.

Have you ever come across the problem of damaged file system? As we know, if the file system is damaged, we cannot access this drive as well as its data. Here, I guess some people will worry about this since they don’t know how to recover data from drive with damaged file system.

In general, if your drive file system has been damaged, don't worry. MiniTool Power Data Recovery, a piece of green, simple and professional software, can help you restore data from damaged disk without damaging the original data.

Here, before recovering data from inaccessible disk, I am going to show you what file system is. 

What Is File System?

As we know, file system is used to control how data is stored and retrieved. And, file systems can be used on numerous different types of storage devices that use different kinds of media. Here, you can read this post “File system” to know more details. If the file system is damaged, we cannot access this drive as well as its data.

Hi! I really need some help. My External HDD file system has become corrupt, and I need to recover all data as it has my college work on it. Already run DSKCHK and it is still corrupt. Please help, many thanks in advance. Using WIN 7 64bit, 2.5inch external USB/SATA HDD (Western Digital). I think the file system is NTFS.

Symptoms of Damaged File System

And, you may receive the following typical symptoms if you try to access the drive with damaged file system in Windows Explorer:

  1. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.
  2. The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable.
  3. You need to format the disk before you can use it. Do you want to format it now?
  4. This volume does not contain a recognized file system. Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted.

What is more serious is that you cannot access or see this drive in Windows Explorer since the Windows computer is unable to recognize the file system or this drive becomes unallocated.

To be specific, you formatted the drive with the ext2/3/4 file system, but you can’t access this drive since Windows can’t read these file systems; if your drive becomes unallocated caused by damaged file system, you cannot see it.

Here, you can read our previous post “The Volume Does Not Contain A Recognized File System – How To Fix” to know more information about damaged file system. The screenshot below shows damaged disks in Computer Management.

disk with damaged file system

Next, let's see how to easily and quickly recover data from drive with damaged file system via MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

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Chapter 1.Recover Lost Data via This PC

Before recovering data from damaged file system, you have to download and install MiniTool Power Data Recovery. You can download the trial edition of Power Data Recovery to look for lost data, or you can select the personal edition to effectively and safely recover more data.

Free Download

Now, you can try the following steps to recover data from drive whose file system is damaged. Our previous post Recover Data from RAW File System, RAW Partition and RAW Drive Efficiently is recommended here to help you know more information about this excellent tool.

Step 1. Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery to get its maim interface as follows, and then select a suitable data recovery module.

the main interface of MiniTool Power Data Recovery

There are 4 different data recovery modules in this interface:

  • This PC recovers lost or deleted data from damaged, RAW or formatted partitions.
  • Removable Disk Drive recovers lost photos, mp3/mp4 files, and videos from flash drives and memory sticks.
  • Hard Disk Drive recovers files after partition loss or deletion.
  • CD/DVD Drive recovers data from formatted or erased CD/DVD discs.

Here, you can click This PC. In general, as long as your partition is existed, you can use this module to recover lost data.

Step 2.Select the target drive whose file system is damaged, and then click Scan button at the lower right corner to begin full scanning on the device. Wait for the full scan finishes to get the best recovery result.

scan hard drive

Step 3.Select needed files, and then click Save button which is located at the lower right corner to store selected files in a safe place.

save all needed files


  1. After full scanning, Power Data Recovery will find many partitions in the specified device but it only displays some of them. Here, if you cannot find the file you needed in these loaded partitions, click Back button to select other possible partitions.
  2. If you are recovering pictures, you can preview them before saving.
  3. Don't directly store needed data in original partition where data loss emerges, or the deleted data will be overwritten, causing permanently data damage or data loss.

Video Watch

LOOK! With this tool, I quickly and effectively recovered lost data from damaged and RAW file system without damaging the original data.

Great! I’ve made it! I’ve recovered lost data from drive with damaged file system by using MiniTool Power Data RecoveryClick to Tweet

By using This PC of MiniTool Power Data Recovery, we can easily and quickly recover files from damaged disk. However, sometimes, we should try another module to recover lost files if the partition does not emerge in partition list. Here, let's see a true example from Windows 7 forum.

My external USB 3.0 HD was working perfectly well yesterday. However, today suddenly became an "unallocated" drive without even a drive name. I'm able to detect the drive but I have no way of accessing it.
The only solution that I've tried so far is to access the HD with another computer. But, the results are the same with those computers. I haven't done anything else....

hard drive with damaged file system

Here, in this situation, how to recover data from the unallocated space?

Move onto chapter 2 to know how to get lost data back.

Chapter 2.Recover Lost Data via Hard Disk Drive.

Here, you can try the following steps to recover lost data from unallocated hard drive.

Step 1. Click Hard Disk Drive in the main interface of Power Data Recovery.

Step 2. Select the target drive you need to recover and then click Scan button.

click Hard Disk Drive

Tip: In this window, you can use the Settings feature to specify needed file system (such as FAT12/16/32, NTFS and HFS+) and file types (including Document, Archive, Graphics/Picture, Audio, E-mail, Database and other files) before scanning.

Step 3. Preview and check all needed files, click Save button, and select an appropriate place to store the selected files.

save all found files

If there are so many files found, you can make use of filter function configured in MiniTool Power Data Recovery to filter needless files. To be specific:

  1. Find Name: by using this feature, we can find needed file quickly from a large number of files as long as we remember file name. (Note: this feature doesn’t work in some situations.)
  2. Advanced Filter: it filters needless files by file name/extension, file size, and creating or modifying date, which is good for promoting file recovery efficiency.

See! MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a good data recovery tool for us to recover lost data from drive with damaged file system.

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Chapter 3.Other Useful Ways to Recover Data from Damaged File System

Here, some users might think if there is any other way to recover data from inaccessible disk. Of course, the answer is yes.

1. If you don't want to spend time recovering lost data by yourself, you can turn to data recovery companies. It is indeed an effective solution for lost data recovery. But, you have to pay high recovery fees. Besides, you have to bear the risk of leaking privacy in the process of file recovery.

So, if you don’t want to bear the risk of privacy leakage, you had better select a read-only data recovery tool. Besides, if you don’t want to spend time learning a new program, you can choose a simple data recovery program.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery, a green, professional, simple and easy-to-use data recovery software equipped with high security, is recommended here. By using this tool, you can easily and quickly recover lost data without bringing any damage to the original data.

2. If you have made a backup file, you can directly recover files from your backup files without turning to data recovery companies or any data recovery software.

Recovering data from backup files might be the best choice for everyone. However, you have to back up all needed files in advance.

And, if you don't know how to effectively back up file, you can try MiniTool Partition Wizard, for it offers copy disk as well as copy partition to copy all data information from one place to another without any data loss and in simple operations.

In a word, once the file system is damaged, you have 3 options to recover lost data: data recovery software, data recovery companies, and backup files. And, you can select a suitable one according to actual needs to recover files from damaged disk.

Here, according to a survey, if there is no backup file, most users choose MiniTool Power Data Recovery to recover lost data because of its wizard-like interface, excellent performance as well as high security.

Now, you can download the free edition and have a try. I guess it will surprise all of you. Or, you can directly get the personal edition and enjoy some discounts.

How to Fix Drive with Damaged File System

After recovering lost data from damaged file system, you can try the following solutions to fix this drive to reuse it. (Note, here, we take Windows 7 for example.)

1) Formatting 

You can format the drive to NTFS/FAT32 file system.

Open Disk Management, right-click the drive whose file system is damaged, and then choose Format feature from the drop-down list. Next, specify volume label, file system as well as allocation unit size and then click OK button to continue this process.

format hard drive

2) Running Diskpart Commands

  • Click Start button and click Run.
  • Type “cmd” to the open box and hit Enterkey, then you'll get the Command Prompt.
  • In the command prompt box, type “chkdsk /f [Drive Letter]” and press Enter.
  • Type “Exit” and press Enter.

chkdsk hard drive

3) Creating

If your hard drive becomes unallocated since its file system is damaged, you can try recovering lost data at first, and then create a new one on this unallocated space.

Create a New Partition on a Windows 7 Hard Disk” will show you how to create partition by using Windows built-in disk management tool.

Best Way to Create Partition on Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP” will show you how to easily and quickly create Windows partition by using free MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Bottom Line

If your file system is damaged, you can easily and quickly get lost data back from backup files. If there is no backup file, you can try MiniTool Power Data Recovery. By using this tool, you are able to effectively recover lost data from drive with damaged file system without affecting the original data.

If you have any questions, just leave us comments in the following area.

File System Recovery FAQ

How do I fix a corrupted file system?
  1. Format drive with a corrupted file system
  2. Check file system
  3. Create a new partition with new file system
What is the best file recovery software?
  1. MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free
  2. Recuva
  3. Disk Drill for Windows
  4. Stellar Data Recovery for Windows
  5. Recover My Files Data Recovery Software
  6. Prosoft Data Rescue 5 for Windows
  7. UndeleteMyFiles Pro
  8. PhotoRec
  9. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
  10. Recoverit
Can data be restored after format?
Formatting will erase data. However, formatting doesn’t delete files permanently. All files are still in your drive, but you cannot see them. As long as you don't write new data, you can recover them by MiniTool Power Data Recovery.
How can I recover data from a damaged external hard drive?
  1. Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery.
  2. Select the damaged external hard drive.
  3. Full scan the selected hard drive.
  4. Save all needed data in a safe place.
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