Windows Cannot Recover Master File Table – How Do I Do?

Try to fix inaccessible drive with chkdsk.exe but only get “Windows cannot recover master file table. CHKDSK aborted.” error, what should you do? Refer to this paper for answer.


By Bryce / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Unable to recover master file table via chkdsk:/f

“There are two hard drives connected to my Dell computer: one hard drive with Windows 10 installed and one Seagate external hard drive for data storage (G Drive). I can access other partitions from Explorer, but when opening G drive, I get a message saying that “G:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.” After searching on Google, I decided to run “chkdsk g: / f” from CMD to fix it, but only to receive error given below:

The Type of the file system is NTFS. Volume Label is New Volume. Corrupt master file table. Windows will attempt to recover master file table from disk. Windows cannot recover master file table. CHKDSK aborted.

Then, what should I do to repair corrupted MFT for my external hard drive, so that I can access and use it again?”

What causes MTF corruption?

Master file table (MFT) is very important for NTFS file system; when MTF of the NTFS partition on external hard drive is corrupted, you’ll be unable to access it. The events that account for MTF corruption can be various and some are listed below:

▪ There are lots of fragmentations on your external hard disk drive.
▪ There are bad sectors on the external hard drive.
▪ The external hard drive used to be removed improperly.
▪ Windows system is shut down inappropriately.
▪ The external hard drive is attacked by virus.

Windows cannot recover master file table: what else can you do?

Before taking more measures to perform master file table recovery, it is recommended to retrieve your data saved on the inaccessible external hard drive and save them to another place via professional and powerful data recovery software. If you don’t care about the data on it, go to the methods listed as follows.

1. Defrag the partition

When there are too many fragmentations on the external hard disk drive partition, corrupt master file table error might occur. If so, you can defrag the partition through to settle out the issue. Here are the detailed steps:

1. Press Windows + R at the same time to open the Run box.

2. Type “dfrgui” to open Optimize Drives window.

Open Defrag

3. In the pop-up window, choose the drive that needs being defragged; click Analyze button.

4. After analysis, click Optimize to defrag the partition, if there are lots of fragmentations.

PS.: Don’t defrag it if your external hard drive is a solid-state drive.

2. Run chkdsk: /r to check and fix bad sectors

If the error isn’t related to fragmentations, it is time to take bad sector into consideration. To remove bad sectors, you can do as the following steps:

1. Open Run dialogue, type “cmd” in it and press Enter key.

Open CMD

2. In the pop-up window, type chkdsk g:/r to locate the bad sectors on the drive and recover readable information.

PS.: “g” refers to the drive letter assigned to the partition that you want to check.

3. Rebuild MBR of the external hard drive

If the ways aforementioned can’t solve the problem, you can try to fix MBR of the inaccessible external hard drive to see whether the issue is fixed. To perform this task, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is a nice choice. This GUI free partition manager enables you to fix MBR partition table for external HDD/SSD just within few clicks and it can work well under Windows 10/8.1/8/7, XP and Vista. Download it and have a try!

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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1. Install and run it, right-click the external hard drive whose MBR needs repairing and choose Rebuild MBR

Rebuild MBR

2. On this dialogue, you need to choose the type of MBR based on the current operating system. Then, hit OK.

Choose MBR Typ

3. You’ll return to the main console; click Apply and Proceed to commit operation.

✍ Note: To use its advanced function like partition recovery, converting system disk from MBR to GPT without data loss, etc., you can upgrade it to Professional version.

4. Format the external hard drive

A simple but effective way to fix corrupt master file table on external hard drive is formatting. You can try to format it in File Explorer or Disk Management. If you encounter an error message like Windows was unable to complete the format, you can turn to the partition manager given above – AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Do as follows:

Warning: Formatting a partition will erase all data on it.

1. Open AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, right-click the partition on the external hard drive and choose Format Partition

Format RAW Partition

2. Here you can choose a wanted file system for the partition among NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4. After that, click OK.

Format RAW to NTFS

3. Click Apply and Proceed to operate.



It’s unpleasant to receive “Windows cannot recover master file table. CHKDSK aborted” error when you try to run chkdsk /f to fix external hard drive. But if you happen to be in such a condition, calm down and check out the solutions offered in this article. What I want to emphasize is that don’t forget to recover data to another place before you fix your external hard drive.

Bryce · Staff Editor
Bryce is an editor of AOMEI Technology, he covers backup & restore, hard disk & partitions management, cloud files transfer, website & database backup and so on for AOMEI. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He would like to spend all time on reaserching computer problems. He is a very cute boy.