After you attach a corrupted external disk to your Windows PC, you will receive a pop-up telling you that you need to format the disk before you can use it. Of course, you will choose to cancel the pop-up and try to open the disk by double clicking the disk’s icon. Soon you will get another error message:

G:\ is not accessible. The volume does not contain a recognized file system. Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted.”

With the only option to click on Ok button to exit, you are confused and worried. You came across the most common drive not accessible error in Windows. Keep reading to know what you can do to keep your files safe and make the drive work again. 

 

What is “The volume does not contain a recognized file system” error?

This error message is always associated with file system problems. If you check the disk in Disk Management, you will find the disk become RAW. The RAW state is not a file system, it means either the disk contains a corrupted file system or the file system of the device is missing. 

In addition, if the disk is formatted with Apple’s file system such as APFS or HFS+, you will receive such a message too. 

The file system will possibly be damaged if you have ever:

  • Pulled out the disk without safely ejecting it from a computer or other digital device
  • Turned off the computer during the data transferring to the storage device
  • Cancelled the formatting before the drive is completely formatted

After understanding “the volume does not contain a recognized file system” error, now you know all you need to do is to fix the file system. Go to the next section to find solutions to fix the unrecognized file system without losing data. 

Fix “the volume does not contain a recognized file system” and recover data

Fix and repair the external disk with formatting

The most efficient way to fix the corrupted file system is to completely format the disk. However, formatting will delete all stored information on the disk. You will need data recovery before formatting.

Step 1: Recover data from a drive that doesn’t contain a recognized file system

  • Download, install and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery. iBoysoft Data Recovery offers powerful RAW disk data recovery that can get the files off a disk that is not accessible. The software works on Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP and Windows Server 2019/2012/2008/2003.
  • Wait until the external disk shows up in the software. If not, eject the disk and reconnect it to the PC. Select the disk from the drive list, tick the box before Deep scan and start to scan.
  • Keep the computer on until scanning is completed. Preview the content of files by single-clicking it. Then tick the box before the files you want to recover and click Recover. 

 

Step 2: Format a USB external drive to repair its file system 

  • Open This PC/My Computer.
  • Find the RAW disk and right-click it. Select Format, give the disk a name, choose NTFS/FAT32 as file system, tick Quick Format and click Start. 
  • Click Finish when the formatting is done and check if the error message “The volume does not contain a recognized file system” disappears after reconnecting the drive. 

The formatting steps work for all storage devices detected by Windows including external hard drive, USB flash drives, pen drives and SD cards. There are other ways to format a disk on a PC such as in Disk Management or using command prompt. 

Please follow the steps below to learn how to convert RAW to NTFS/FAT32 using command prompt.

  • Input command prompt in search box and launch it. Then run command diskpart to launch DiskPart utility.
  • Run the command list volume to list all partitions detected on your Windows PC.
  • Find the volume with RAW file stystem, as showed in the picture it is Volume 6. Then run command select volume 6.
  • Run command format fs=ntfs Quick to convert RAW file system to NTFS. If you want to format the RAW to FAT32, replace ntfs with fat32.

So far, you may wonder if there are any ways that you can fix the external drive without formatting. The answer is positive. Windows offers a few ways you can check and repair file system errors. 

 

Fix and repair the external disk without formatting 

 

Method 1: Change the drive letter to reload the file system

  • Right-click on This PC/My Computer > Manage > Disk Management.
  • Find the RAW disk on the drive list and right-click on it.
  • Select Change Drive Letter and Paths and click Change. 
  • Select a drive letter and click OK.
  • Click Yes to confirm if the message “Some programs that rely on drive letters might not run correctly. Do you want to continue”.

This method will help the Windows to repair some minor errors and reload the file system. Therefore, detach the disk and reattach it back to the PC to use it.

Method 2:  Reinstall or update disk driver 

The Windows will fail to recognize and mount a disk due to an incompatible or out-of-date disk driver. To solve the unrecognized file system in the discussion, reinstall or update the disk driver is a method to try.

  • Right-click on This PC/My Computer > Manage > System Tools > Device Management.
  • Find the RAW external disk under Disk drives and right-click it.
  • Select Uninstall.
  • Disconnect the drive and restart the PC. Then reconnect the disk back to the PC, waiting for the reinstallation of disk driver or a message to tell you to update disk driver. 

Method 3:  Check and repair external disk with Check Disk Utility 

  • Open This PC/My Computer.
  • Find the corrupted disk and right-click it to choose Properties.
  • Find Error checking section under Tools tab and click Check.
  • Tick both options under Check disk options and click Start. 

If you are a Windows user for a long time, you might know CHKDSK command which works the same as the Check Disk utility to repair file system. However, CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives. If your disk has other software errors instead of RAW disk, you can try run CHKDSK command. 

Conclusion

“The volume does not contain a recognized file system” error message pops up when your connected disk has corrupted file system.

To repair and fix the unrecognized file system, you can either directly format the disk or repair it by changing drive letter, uninstall disk driver, or using Check Disk. To avoid disk being inaccessible, be careful and patient when you are using it on a Windows computer.