A reader contacted us with a big problem. She was unable to access her external hard drive. She got this error:

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This isn’t an uncommon issue. Your drive could actually corrupt, or it’s possible that your PC has just forgotten how to contact it. If it’s the latter, it’s not too hard to fix. First, let’s open up the Command prompt by typing cmd in your search box. (This works pretty much the same way in all versions of Windows.)

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Right-click on cmd and choose Run as Administrator.

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Command prompt will open.

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You’ll want to type the following the command prompt:  chkdsk /f e:   and press enter.  I’ve used e here because that’s the name of the external drive. If your external drive has another letter for its name, type that letter instead. Don’t forget the space between k and the forward slash and between f and the drive letter.

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The chkdsk utility should begin to scan the drive and fix the errors it finds. If it works, your drive will once again be accessible when the utility is finished.

~ Cynthia