Have you been getting an error message every time you connect an external hard drive, any SD card, a flash drive, etc. to your computer? Does the error prompt go something like: “The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer”? If yes, then this article will tell you all the reasons behind this error and various ways to fix it.
What Causes the “The Disk You Inserted Was Not Readable by This Computer” Error?
Due to some specific reason, the external disk you plugged into your system might be unreadable and showing the following error on the screen:
“The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer.”
The simple meaning of this message is that the operating system can’t access the disk files or is unable to read all the data files of the drive properly. Here are some reasons why you could be getting this error:
- Damaged Disk: It is much likely that the external drive itself or the USB port might have suffered some physical damages. This can happen when you plug in and unplug the drive too often and that too in an improper way.
- Corrupt File Systems: Your operating system needs to rely on all the partitions and file systems to get an overview of how the disk has organized all its data. If such information gets harmed, then it is much likely that the operating system won’t be able to read the disk.
- Disk Encryption: If the disk you are trying to read has been encrypted, this error message will show up too. The disk not readable by this computer can also be shown with a brand new disk. In this case, maybe the new disk has not been initialized or does not have partition information yet.
- Virus corruption: If your drive has been attacked by any malware or virus, the data organization might get rewritten. Hence, the operating system would not be able to read it.
Whatever the cause behind the disk not readable error might be, we have ample solutions that you can try out to fix your unreadable drive.
Solutions to “The Disk You Inserted was not Readable by This Computer”
1. Update your Mac Drivers
The drivers of your Mac are its core elements and might cause your system to malfunction if they have some corruption or are outdated. You can correct the “The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer” error by updating your system drivers through the steps given below:
Step 1. Open the Apple Menu and click on “System Preferences…”
Step 2. Then, select “Software Update.”
Step 3. Finally, check if there are any updates available for your Mac OS and its applications and install them.
2. Check If Your External Drive Has An Issue
- Try plugging in another external drive
If you already have an extra external drive, then try it on your PC. In case, you don’t get an error and it also shows up in Finder, it indicates that your computer is alright and the issue lies with the external drive.
- Check the encryption of the Drive
If your drive is encrypted, then also this error can pop up. In this case, just click on “Ignore” and look for software to remove the encryption.
- Try connecting your External Drive with another computer
If your disk is still unreadable by another PC, the problem surely lies with the external drive. In this situation, you need to try out various methods to fix the corrupted drive.
- Connect with a different USB cable to another USB port
If your USB cable or USB port is faulty, that can also be the reason behind the “disk not readable” error. So, check with another USB cable or port to figure out if the problem gets fixed or not.
Note: Also, try reinserting the external drive into your computer’s USB port or maybe, into another port of the Mac. If the error persists, then move on to the next solutions.
3. Reformat the disk to FAT32
It is also possible that you are getting the “the disk you inserted was not readable by this computer” error because the file system of your external drive is NTFS and OS X of your Mac is not compatible with NTFS. If that’s the case, then you can easily resolve the issue by reformatting your drive to FAT32.
Note: Make sure you back up all the data of your external drive because any kind of formatting erases all data present on your drive.
Follow the steps given below to format your drive to FAT32:
Step 1. Open Disk Utility and choose the problematic drive.
Step 2. Next, click on the “Partition” option
Step 3. Choose how many partitions you want to create in the disk after formatting it.
Step 4. Press the “Format” option and then click “MS-DOS (FAT)” followed by “Apply.”
Step 5. Hit on “Partition” to start the formatting procedure.
4. Try fixing the unreadable disk by running First Aid
Mac OS comes with a bunch of utility tools and First Aid is one of them. It can be utilized to check and fix disk-related errors, especially those linked to any file system. As already mentioned, your drive might have been corrupted and that could lead to the “The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer” error message. So, follow the steps given below to allow First Aid to try fixing the error:
Step 1. Navigate to “Application” and then to “Utilities.” Click on “Disk Utility”
Step 2. Find the corrupted external drive and right-click on it. Select “Run First Aid”.
Step 3. Click on “Run” when a pop-up window shows up asking you if you want to run First Aid on the respective drive.
Step 4. The verifying and repairing process might take up to several minutes to get finished.
If your system’s Disk Utility states the disk is fine or has been fixed, then click on “Done” to quit. Now you should be able to eject and plug your disk back into the Mac to use it without any problems.
But, if it reports that First Aid couldn’t repair your disk, then, the only option left is to reformat the drive. This would erase the files on your drive and there is obviously, no way to recover files that you had on that drive.
5. Recover files and erase the external drive
If the aforementioned methods didn’t work out, then try this one out. Directly erasing your drive means losing all data that was stored on that disk. So, try recovering the drive’s data and then, deleting its files.
So, first, you need to download data recovery software for your Macbook to recover lost files from any unreadable drive, USB disks, SD cards, USB flash drive, etc. Some of the best tools that can perform data recovery for Mac are Stellar Data Recovery, M3 Data Recovery, Cisdem Data Recovery, and iBoysoft Data Recovery software.
Step 1. Download and install the data recovery software and then, open it.
Step 2. All the drives on your computer including external ones will be shown here. Select the unreadable drive and click on “Scan.” The steps for the same will vary for different software.
Step 3. The scanning procedure might consume a considerable amount of time. Once it is done, you will be able to see the results. Now, you can figure out and select which files to recover.
Step 4. Specify a location where you want to store all the files being recovered and click on “Recover.”
Once you have recovered and stored all the data on the unreadable drive, now you can safely erase it. Given below are the steps that you need to follow to do the same:
Step 1. Navigate to Applications, and click on Utilities followed by Disk Utility.
Step 2. Click on the unreadable file and then select “Erase” from the top menu.
Step 3. Select a new suitable format and name for this drive. Once done, click “Erase” to erase its data.
Step 4. After the erasing procedure has finished, click on “Done.”
Note: If after trying out all these methods, the issue persists, then the drive must have been damaged physically. In this case, you need to consult a professional for help.
6. Go to a Professional
If you have tried out all the above methods and none of them have proved to be helpful, it is time to go seek the help of a professional now. Also, a lot of Macbook users might be scared of making things worse by their improper operations. So, in such situations, it is much better to ask any local professional to fix the issue.
If the data stored in the drive is not required and your drive has an active warranty, then you should have the external drive replaced or refunded.
How to Avoid Disk Not Readable Error from Reoccurring in the Future?
As the adage goes, “Prevention is better than cure,” it’s better to not allow such errors to happen again than to lose your drive. The tips given below should help in ensuring that the error message – “The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer” does not come up again:
- Safely Eject Your External Drives
External storage devices such as external hard disks, USB drives, memory chips, SD cards, etc. are much likely to get damaged or corrupted if you don’t eject them properly from your computer. For instance, never remove your USB drive when it is in use. Also, removing it rashly several times could successfully corrupt it.
So, while removing any external drive from your Mac computer, make sure you click on eject safely from the Disk Utility list.
- Regularly Backup Your Drive’s Data
You never know when your disk might get corrupted, so it’s better to keep it secure by backing it up. Mac OS comes with an inbuilt backup software tool called snap-in Time machine. This tool can automatically back up all the files on your drive, including applications, images, system files, music, etc.
- Prefer Using The Advanced File System
It’s recommended that you use the advanced file system type on your external drive like NTFS, APFS, or HFS+ formats. These will make sure that you can use the external storage drive safely and properly on your Mac.
This article gives you the entire process of how to make your drive readable again if it is not readable by your computer. Hopefully, you have gone through all the solutions given in this post and have been able to get rid of the “The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer” message. And if nothing worked, it implies that you’re dealing with a damaged drive that needs to be repaired or replaced.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you fix “The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer” on Mac?
There are several ways to fix this error depending on the actual cause behind it. However, it is not that easy to pinpoint the exact reason behind this error message. There could be a couple of reasons and you need to try out different solutions to figure out the same.
How do I make an unreadable hard drive readable on Mac?
If your external hard drive is not readable by your computer, then first, ensure if it works fine with other computers. Then, make sure if the USB ports are alright or not. Finally, run First Aid on the drive or format it/erase its contents and then check if it is readable or not.
How do I fix an unreadable SD card on my Mac?
First, check if your SD card is readable on other computers or not. If yes, then the problem lies with your Mac. Else, run an antivirus scan and run First Aid on it. Also, check if it is in FAT32 format or not and if nothing works, then you need to erase the SD card and try again.