Windows was unable to repair the drive – USB, SD Card or Hard Disk

If you connect a USB, SD Card or Hard Disk to your Windows 10 PC and you see, and error box – Windows was unable to repair the drive, then it means that the file system on the drive has become corrupted and ChkDsk is unable to repair it. You may also see this message when you try to run ChkDsk to repair the file system.

There was a problem repairing this drive. Windows was unable to repair the drive. Close this dialogue box, and then try to repair the drive again.

Windows was unable to repair the drive

The most probable causes of the issue are that either the user might have pulled out the external drive directly without using the “Safely remove hardware” option, or when the drive was in use or general corruption of the content.

There was a problem repairing this drive, Windows was unable to repair the drive

If you face this issue, the first thing you could do is to safely remove the hardware, restart your PC and then connect your USB and see if it works. If not, then follow these two suggestions:

  1. Run CHKDSK from the command line
  2. Restart the system in clean boot state and run the scan
  3. Use 3rd-party tool to check the disk.

Before you begin, you may want to create a system restore point or backup your data to an external drive.

1] Run CHKDSK from the command line

While some users have reported the error after the CHKDSK scan itself, others have shared the message while repairing a drive using in-built tools. In case you are among the latter, you could try running a CHKDSK scan before anything else. The scan checks the hard drive for bad sectors and repairs them if possible.

You need to Run CHKDSK from the command line. So open CMD and execute the following command:

chkdsk x: /f /r

Here ‘x’ is the Disk Letter.

2] Restart the system in clean boot state and run the scan

At times, a program could be conflicting with the scanning process. Since many processes run in the background, it would be difficult to conclude which one of them is causing the problem. Restarting the system in Clean Boot State could help with the same. You could perform your scan after that.

Lastly, make sure not to remove a hard drive when it is in use. When file copy or usage is in progress, part of the drive is locked, and if the power ends abruptly, it results in corruption. We hope these tips helped you to fix Windows was unable to repair the drive.

3] Use a 3rd-party tool to check the disk

You can use a 3rd-party tool to check the disk. The fact that this error appears on your screen signifies that the disk is unable to repair itself automatically. Ideally, both the disk and the Windows operating system try to detect the error. If Windows displays the error, it in itself means that the disk is probably failing. However, a few interfering programs could also cause the issue as well. To understand what is affecting, you could use a 3rd party freeware.

  1. HD Tune hard disk utility. HD Tune is a hard disk utility, and a freeware tool for Windows OS, which uses a set of simple steps checks the status of hard drives (internal, external or extractable). Apart from checking the status, the application is measuring the drive’s performance, errors during scanning, health status and much more.
  2. Macrorit Disk Scanner can also help you fix bad sectors. The program displays the complete statistics on the top panel which includes the device selected, a speed of scan, number of errors found, scan area, elapsed time and estimated time remaining to complete the scan.
  3. EaseUS Partition Master Free includes a surface test that can scan for and fix bad sectors.
  4. AbelsSoft CheckDrive offers you an easy way of checking your PCs hard drives for errors and fixing them. Even Solid-state drives (SSD) are supported.
  5. HDDScan is a freeware utility for hard drive diagnostics (RAID arrays, Flash USB and SSD drives are also supported). The program can test storage device for errors (Bad-blocks and bad sectors), show S.M.A.R.T. attributes and change some HDD parameters such as AAM, APM, etc.

Hope something here helps you.

Related read: Windows detected a hard disk problem.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.