NTFS stands for New Technology File System and is the file system used on all modern versions of Windows. NTFS offers improved performance, disk space utilization and reliability over its FAT predecessor. However, sometimes these partitions can still become corrupt, throwing a “NTFS partition not accessible” or “The directory or file is corrupt or unreadable. Please run Chkdsk utility” error message. When these error messages crop up, you will be essentially locked  out from your data. Reasons for this occurring can vary, from hardware failure to virus infections. Don’t be too alarmed, because there’s still a chance that your data will be recovered.

The first thing to do is to stop using the NTFS partition. Your data may be behind bars, but you can still try to access it. However, to keep using it when it is corrupted will risk overwriting the data that you are trying to recover. This means stop attempting to open files or install  software to the drive because you may be wiping out something vital without realising it. This is due to the way that the hard drive stores data, so do everything you need to do on another drive or, even better, another computer altogether.

There are third party developers out there who have designed software in order to help you sort out that NTFS partition and recover the data stored on it that has now become inaccessible. One such program is R-Studio, which is a powerful and cost-effective all-in-one data recovery software suite. It also has some handy advanced features that you might find useful, such as a RAID reconstruction module and disk imaging. Using programs such as these will mean that you can attempt to get back those files before repairing the NTFS drive, just in case something goes wrong.

The Chkdsk utility is one that comes with all copies of Windows. This program generates a status report for a disk (in this case, the unavailable NTFS partition) and collects all the errors that may be present. It will then do its best to fix any of the problems, such as making the NTFS partition accessible to you, but it is not always successful. To find the program on your system, just search for Chkdsk (it doesn’t have a fancy name – that’s just what it’s called) and it should come up. Full documentation can be found on Microsoft’s support website.

The number one thing that you can take from the experience is that data storage is a fickle thing, even in this modern age. Hard drives can refuse you access to your data at any moment, so don’t assume that it won’t happen to you. Consistent and thorough backups every once in a while can get rid of a huge headache down the line. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s entirely true. And remember, as soon as you think something might be going wrong with your drive, stop using it immediately. If you’re not sure what you’re doing then consult someone who does. Your data can be recovered, but you may accidentally make it harder. Play it safe.

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