External hard drives have become must-have components of a computer system. This can be attributed to the massive storage needs of the users. They can easily store all types of data, including pictures, songs, movies, and applications. An external drive is also used for storing data backups. Today, these secondary storage drives have storage capacities of 2 TB or more
As internal hard drives, external drives too catch corruption. This corruption makes all the previously recorded information on the drive inaccessible or disorganized. File system corruption (better known as logical drive failures) can result from accidental formatting or reformatting of the drive, power failure in the middle of an I/O operation, incorrect entries in the registry file, malware attacks, and more. A deranged application may perform insane file operations to corrupt data stored in the data clusters of a file. Even a physical damage to the drive may cause logical failure. Logically corrupt drives can be easily recognized by the computer BIOS, but they might incur a boot failure. In other cases, the drive may still boot, but show up incorrect free space count, incorrect file lengths, and other signs of corruption.
A logically corrupt external drive may give you any one of the following error messages:
‘The disk in drive <x> is not formatted’
‘Serious disk errors writing to drive X’
Windows has a built-in command-line utility that scans and checks your drive for errors. Chkdsk can help you resolve a range of problems, including lost clusters, cross-linked files, and directory errors. Chkdsk may fail, if the volume you need to scan has some of your files opened and in use. In this case, Chkdsk will ask you to run the scan on the next restart. A number of variables affect the performance of the utility, such as size of the volume, performance of the disk, and the system resources currently available.
You can run Chkdsk from the command prompt by following the below mentioned steps:
If there are a few files opened on the disk, the following message will be displayed on your screen:
Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)
Choose ‘Y’, if you want to Chkdsk to run the next time you restart the system.
Logical corruption may also happen on external drives, if you improperly attach or detach the drive. You should prevent such problems from occurring in the first place.
If the above resolution fails to fix logical corruption, you should take help of professional external hard disk recovery software. These utilities perform a comprehensive scan on the volumes on your external disk and help you recover every piece of lost, deleted, or formatted data.