Fix Bad Sectors on External Hard Drive with 5 Ways

You are in the right place if you have trouble fixing bad sectors on external hard drive. This article offer you 5 possible ways and related information.


By Ivy / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Bad sectors are usually not a good sign and can lead to more serious problems over time, such as data loss, disk damage, etc. What are bad sectors? Does your disk have bad sectors? Is it necessary to fix bad sectors on external hard drive?

You may also have these questions. Please continue to read this article and get a clear idea about them.

What Are Bad Sectors on a Hard Drive?

Every disk is divided using sectors. The Bad sectors are defective or permanently damaged parts of a hard drive and the operating systems, like Windows, will automatically mark these sectors as unusable. If you store any data on a disk, you may lose them when there are bad sectors.


In general, a disk with a few bad sectors is usable. However, as the number of bad sectors increases, your disk may experience a disk failure. Thus, it’s suggested to fix bad sectors on a hard drive as soon as possible.

Why Are There Bad Sectors?

As for bad sectors, there are two types, namely physical and logical. We also call them hard and soft bad sectors. The reason varies on different types:

  • Physical bad sectors: As the same suggests, the main cause is physical damage, such as contact between the read/write head and the platter, overheating, shock, moisture, etc.
  • Logical bad sectors: Conversely, its potential cause is logical issues, such as improper use, dust, abrupt power outage, interrupted disk write processes, malware or viruses infection, and more.

In between, physical bad sectors are not repairable or data is not recoverable either, logical bad sectors may be fixable using repair tools.

Common Symptoms of Bad Sectors

When your disk has bad sectors, you may find the following symptoms at the beginning.

  • more frequent error messages.
  • program hangs & freezes.
  • slower boot time.
  • interrupted formatting process.
  • strange noises.

Over time, you will realize something is getting wrong, for example, multitasking is getting slower, file corruption, partition corruption or disk failure.

IMPORTANT: Unusual hanging, freezing, and error messages are common symptoms of bad sectors. If your disk have these symptoms, it’s necessary to create a backup copy of your external hard drive. Try reliable Windows backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard.

How to Fix Bad Sectors on External Hard Drive in Windows 10 or 11

If there are bad sectors on your disk, it’s suggested to fix them immediately. Time is of the essence, every R/O operation puts stress on your disk and it is only a matter of time before the disk starts to fail and corrupt data.

Fix 1: Repair Bad Sectors on External Hard Disk with Troubleshooter

Step 1. Right-click Start and select Windows PowerShell (Admin).

Step 2. Type msdt.exe /id DeviceDiagnostic and press Enter.


Step 3. In the Hardware and Devices window, click Advanced and check Apply repairs automatically. Then, click Next to scan and fix problems with the external hard disk.


Fix 2: Remove Bad Sectors from External Hard Disk with Disk Check Utility

Step 1. Input cmd in the search box and select Run as administrator

Step 2. Type chkdsk *: /f /r /x and press Enter to scan and repair bad sectors. replace * with the drive letter of your external hard drive.



  • The /f parameter instructs CHKDSK to repair found disk errors.
  • The /r parameter tells CHKDSK to recover information from these bad sectors.
  • The /x parameter is to dismount the hard drive before starting the scan.

IMPORTANT: A large number of users report the chkdsk deleted files issue during the process of fixing bad sectors on external hard drive. So in order to protect your data, it’s suggested to recover data from bad sector hard disk.

Fix 3: Repair Bad Sectors on External Hard Drive using Error-Checking

Step 1. Open File Explorer. Navigate to This PC, right-click the external hard drive, and select Properties.

Step 2. Go to the Tools tab and click Check in the Error-Checking section.


Step 3. Finally, click Scan drive to start this process and fix bad sectors on it.


Solution 3: Fix Bad Sectors on External Hard Drive using Repair-Volume Command

Step 1. Right-click Start and select Windows PowerShell (Admin).

Step 2. Type Repair-Volume -DriveLetter * -OfflineScanAndFix and press Enter to repair volume-related problems, such as bad sectors. Replace * with the drive letter of your external hard drive.

Repair Volume

Solution 4: Perform a Full Format to Remove Bad Sectors

Step 1. Type diskmgmt.msc in the search box and open Disk Management.

Step 2. Right-click the external hard drive and choose Format.


Step 3. Specify a compatible file system, such as NTFS, FAT32, etc, and uncheck the Perform a quick format option. Click OK to start a full format and remove bad sectors from external hard disk.


IMPORTANT: Formatting is a quick & reliable way to fix bad sectors on external hard disk. Its full format method will scan and mark bad sectors as unusable. But the problem is performing a full format will erase data completely. If there are any data, please recover them in the next section first.

How to Recover Data from External Hard Drive with Bad Sectors

As mentioned above, some of these methods may result in data loss. To prevent this, it’s necessary to recover data using reliable data recovery software first if you don’t have any backup of it. We strongly recommended you use MyRecover for its quick scanning methods, high success rate, and wide compatibility.

  • Two advanced scanning methods: Quick Scan and Deep Scan. It will scan and search for deleted or lost data in an external hard disk quickly and deeply.
  • 200+ file types: recover deleted or lost documents, images, videos, audio, mails, webpages, and compressed files in different formats. For example, you can recover deleted Word/Excel/PPT documents, PDF, X3F, 3FR, HEIF, WMV, and more.
  • Complete recovery: recover all the files in external disk completely without losing quality.
  • Multiple external disk compatibilityrecover data from Seagate external hard drive as well as other disk brands, such as WD, Samsung, Sandisk, etc.
  • Different systems: Support Windows 7, 9, 10, 11, etc and Windows Server.

Now please download and install this reliable Windows data recovery software. You can then follow the steps below to start data recovery from external hard drive with bad sectors.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Connect the external hard disk using SATA to USB adapter or enclosure. Then, Launch this external hard drive recovery software - MyRecover. Hover the mouse over the external hard drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. It will run two advanced scanning methods automatically and display all the files stored on the external disk. It can be documents, images, videos, mails, etc.


Note: To recover only specific files, you can filter and select them for immediate recovery. Or expand the Other Missing Files tab and go to the folder containing your files. So you don’t need to wait until the scanning process to complete.

Step 3. Select all the found files on the external disk and click the Recover x files button. You will then be asked to select a location. Please select a new location instead of the original location to prevent potential data overwriting.



  • The restore button will display the number of selected files and their full size. You can use it to determine the integrity of the recovered files.
  • You can perform data recovery from external hard drive with bad sectors for free, up to 500MB in total. To recover all files, please upgrade to the advanced editions.
  • In addition, you still can use this software to recover data from a flash drive or SD card, recover deleted WMV files, for example.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I fix bad sectors on a hard drive in Windows 7?

Similarly, to remove bad sectors from hard disk in Windows 7, you can also use the error-checking tool. The steps may be a little different.

  • Go to Windows Explorer. Click Computer, right-click the hard drive, and select Properties.
  • In the Properties window, click the Tools tab and then Check now in the Error-checking section.
  • In the Check Disk window, Check Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. Finally, click Start.

2. Does chkdsk fix external hard drive?

The chkdsk command has different parameters. Among them, the /f parameter is to fix disk errors. Type as chkdsk *: /f and press Enter. To fix bad sectors on external hard drive, you need to add the /r parameter.

3. Will formatting fix a corrupted external hard drive?

The formatting method is capable of fixing corrupted external hard drive due to logical failure. If your cause is bad sectors, you need to perform full format that will overwrite data on the external disk.


It’s not difficult for users to fix bad sectors on external hard drive with the above 4 methods. The problem is some of the methods may result in data loss. So if you don’t want to lose any data from your external disk, try to recover data from hard drive with bad sectors at first.

Of course, the best practice to protect data is to backup them regularly with a reliable Windows backup software like AOMEI Backupper Standard. It is able to backup files, partition, or entire disk with data and set it to run daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.