It’s a message you dread to see. When you plug in your external hard drive and see a fatal error message on your screen, you wonder what could possibly be wrong? With your crucial data stored in your external drive, you just hope against hope that everything is going to be okay. The last thing you need is for your external hard drive to fail you, or even worse – a hard drive crash.

Well, the good news is that this error is not necessarily a death sentence- as most people think and it’s always possible to not only restore the data but also fully recover the hard drive.


Understanding why fatal errors occur can help you do the right thing. Here are the possible reasons why fatal errors occur on your external hard drive, and in turn why you might need external hard drive recovery.

1. The hard disk may no longer be recognized by the disk management utility in windows may be because of an invalid partition table.
2. For many external hard drives, an incompatible/malfunctioning USB cable will, on occasion, introduce this error.
3. Major performance problems as a result of factors such as bad sectors or corrupted files can also give rise to the snag.
4. Mechanical damage suffered after an accidental fall or from mishandling
5. Firmware and malware mishaps.


Fortunately, you can fix these fatal errors. There are nine ways to do it. The first of which is to restart your PC. This is probably the simplest solution you can resort to when you see a fatal error message but it’s worth a try. Hopefully the message goes away when you plug in your external drive.

If that doesn’t work, you can try swapping USB ports.

Sometimes USB hard disks receive insufficient power from some USB ports,or have functional issues with certain ports.

USB hubs are particularly susceptible to this.

Furthermore, sometimes the ports on the PC may serve differently, so trying a couple of different ports can be beneficial.

So, disconnect the disk from the current USB port and connect it directly on one port on your computer (not on the hub).


You can also check if your drive is getting a good supply of power.

For external Desktop hard drives, plugging the power cable directly into the wall outlet (instead of the UPS-universal power supply- or a power-strip stabilizes power supply.

For portable drives, using a USB power booster cable can help supply extra power.


Consider checking your USB cable. It’s bound to fail as well. When it does, change it.

Strangely, USB cables fail every so often, so try to plug in the hard disk with another USB cable.

The hard drive manual usually highlights a list of compatible cables.


Another thing you can do to check on your external hard drive is to try it on another PC.

To eliminate the possibility of the present PC being the cause of the fatal error external hard drive fault, plug the concerned hard disk into a laptop or any other accessible machine.

The hard drive may work here meaning there’s something wrong with the original PC.


If the fatal error message is still showing up, try rescanning your external hard drive.

Sometimes the error disappears after the hard disk has been rescanned for errors.
1. Unplug the disk.
2. Replug it back in.
3. Select Action then Rescan Disks (when prompted).


A fatal error message occurs because your external hard drive has some serious issues. Find out what these issues are by checking the Device Manager.

1. Press and hold down (or right-click) on the Start button.
2. Select Device Manager on the context menu.
3. Locate any device with an exclamation mark next to it (or other peculiar issues).
4. If the hard drive appears here, right-click on it then uninstall. (This will require the hard drive to be reinstalled before any fresh attempt to access the contents).
5. The rest of the options can also be useful. For example, selecting update driver software will initialize the hard drive drivers update, another potentially handy remedy.


Use the Windows hard drive error checking tool to scan for errors. This solution might be too techy for some folks. Nonetheless, here are the steps to go about it.

1. On your keyboard, Press on the Windows key + E(simultaneously). This opens the Windows 10 explorer window.
2. Click on the This PC tab (on the left pane).
3. From the list of drives that are displayed, Right-click on the relevant external hard drive then choose Properties.
4. Now click on Tools from the properties window.
5. Under the error checking area, click on the Check and finally click scan drive.

The computer will run through the steps without further interruptions.

How to Run the CHKDSK from Cmd

This Windows-centric utility can also be launched from cmd(as an administrator).
1. Right-click on the Start
2. Right-click on Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu list.
3. Type cd\then press ENTER.
4. Now type chkdsk c: /r then press ENTER (replace c with the appropriate external drive letter). Remember to include the spaces as shown.
5. The CHKDSK process starts as soon the above command is e
The system will inspect the chosen drive and go ahead to repair any discovered misconfigurations.


If all else fails, seek professional help. The experts from the are trained to diagnose hard drive problems and at the same time, provide the most reasonable solution to the problem.

While their basic hard drive recovery services include repairs of various external hard drives, they specialize in recovering data from both Seagate and Western Digital. So if your external hard drive is a Seagate or a Western Digital, there’s no need to download the troubleshooting software that comes with it. Your external hard drive is safer in the hands of the experts.