The File or Directory Is Corrupted and Unreadable

If you’ve ever come across this error message when trying to access the data on an external / USB hard hard drive then you may be thinking that your data is lost forever, but this is not the case. At our London data recovery office on New London Street we had a person turn up for assistance with their hard drive that had exactly this problem.

The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable | Data Clinic LtdThe enquirer contacted us by using the form on the right hand side of page and left this message:
File data is corrupt and unreadable on trying to select and explore the drive. I have about 2TB of data I’d really like to keep!”

As I said earlier, an error message telling your that your files or directories are corrupt and unreadable is likely to send many of us into panic mode, but once you understand the nature of how the Windows file system works you’ll have a better understanding of how your files and directories are organised on your hard disk and your panic levels will start to decrease.

This is because seeing this error message is very misleading as it doesn’t actually mean that your files and directories are unreadable, it instead means that the index the file system uses to keep track of your data has an (often slight) corruption.

How is the corruption caused?

Safe To Remove Hardware | Data Clinic LtdOne big cause of this error message is the person using the computer does not have the patience to remove / unplug the USB hard drive correctly !!: What many people don’t realise it that data transfers between devices are occurring all the time, not just when you click ‘Save’. Therefore by telling your computer you wish to unplug a USB device the computer is able to send / receive all the pending data waiting to be transferred to and from the device before you unplug it. By removing the USB device without properly ejecting it will often leave the system in limbo and some of the data not transferred. When this happens you won’t know there’s a problem until the next time you plug the USB drive in and see the ‘File data is corrupt and unreadable’ error message.

To recovering access to the files and directories it’s a case of correcting the damage done to the file system index that was caused when the device was incorrectly removed. Contact Data Clinic for further details.