4 Ways to Fix “Recuva Unable to Determine File System Type”

Recuva Unable to Determine File System Type

While recovering your lost data from a storage device or computer, sometimes you may see an error message saying “Failed to scan the following drives: K:: Unable to determine file system”. When this happens, many people think that there is something wrong with the software itself and they rush to the customer support team for resolution.

Although this is one of the many approaches that you can take, it should be considered a last resort. The first thing that you may want to do is to check whether or not the problem is with the file system and that you can get it fixed without any external support.

In the following sections, you will learn how to get rid of the error if Recuva is unable to determine file system type.

How to Fix “Recuva Unable to Determine File System Type”

Under this section, you will learn various troubleshooting methods to repair the file system so that Recuva can recognize the volume and get your data back.

Method 1: Perform a Quick Format

This is the most straightforward solution that you can try to fix the issue. However, you must be extremely cautious and perform the quick format only. You must NOT go for the full format to avoid permanent data loss that cannot be recovered even with a highly advanced recovery tool like Recuva whatsoever.

To perform a quick format using the Windows built-in ‘Format’ feature, you can follow the step-by-step instructions given below:

  • Sign in to your Windows computer with an administrator account.
  • Click the File Explorer icon from the taskbar at the bottom.
  • Click to select This PC from the navigation pane on the left.
  • From the right window, right-click the problematic volume.
  • Click Format from the context menu.
Quick format 1

  • When the Format box appears, ensure that the Quick Format box under the Format options section is checked.
Quick format 2

  • Click Start.
  • Click OK on the warning box to confirm your action and wait while Windows formats the drive.
  • Once the process completes, click OK on the completion box and close all other boxes.
Quick format 3

  • Try running Recuva again to see if the issue is resolved.

Method 2: Repair Bad Sectors

The hard truth is that the bad sectors develop due to physical damage to the hard drive and cannot be repaired whatsoever. However, there is a workaround where you can use Windows’ built-in error-checking tool to scan the culprit portions of the disk and try to recover unreadable files that they may have. While using Recuva, when you attempt to repair bad sectors, the files become available and the data recovery tool can recover them.

You can follow the step-by-step process given below to repair bad sectors using the Windows built-in feature:

  • Use the process given above to get to the culprit volume and right-click it.
  • Click Properties from the context menu this time.
Error-checking a drive 1

  • Go to the Tools tab on the properties box.
  • Click Check from the Error checking section.
Error-checking a drive 2

  • Wait while Windows scans the drive and shows the feedback.
    • Note: Click Scan drive regardless of the message that Windows displays and wait for the process to complete. If there are any errors found, you can device if you want to fix them.
Error-checking a drive 3

  • Once done, close all the boxes and Windows and try recovering your lost data with Recuva again.

Method 3: Fix File System Errors

This method is an extension of the previous one in a way that the prior procedure uses the GUI (Graphical User Interface) to check the disk for errors, whereas in this process, you will use a command with certain parameters to resolve the issue.

The advantage of using the command line interface (CLI) is that you can tell the operating system how to use a command and which tasks to perform during its execution and what should be excluded.

In a nutshell, using a command to perform any system-related task is always encouraged and the results are quite promising.

However, because such commands must be executed by the administrator of a PC, you must use an instance of an elevated Command Prompt.

“What is an elevated Command Prompt?”, you may ask.

The answer is, it is an instance of the Command Prompt interface that has unrestricted access to the entire computer. When you run a command in an elevated Command Prompt, you no longer see the ‘User Account Control’ confirmation box and you can make all the administrative changes to the PC without any obstruction. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you use such an instance only if you are comfortable with the procedure and the task that you want to perform is extremely important.

To fix file system errors through a command, you can follow the steps given below:

Opening an Elevated Command Prompt Window

  • Click inside the Cortana search box in the taskbar at the bottom.
  • Type CMD.
  • Click Run as administrator from the right column.
Open CMD

  • Click Yes on the User Account Control confirmation box to open an elevated Command Prompt window.

Running the Check Disk Command with Parameters

  • In the Command Prompt window, type CHKDSK D: /F /R.
    • Note 1: In the above command, replace ‘D:’ with the letter of the problematic drive on your PC.
    • Note 2: The letters ‘F’ and ‘R’ after the ‘/’ symbol reflect the parameters where ‘F’ tells the command to fix any errors that it detects on the volume and ‘R’ tells it to recover any recoverable files from the bad sectors if possible.
  • After typing the command, press Enter on your keyboard.
  • When the message to grant permission to unmount the volume appears, type Y and press Enter again.
Fix file system errors using CMD 1

  • Wait while Windows executes the command to check any inconsistencies in the volume you specified and works according to the defined parameters. The interface below shows no problem with the drive.
Fix file system errors using CMD 2

  • After the process is complete, close the Command Prompt window.
  • Optionally, restart the PC and then try running Recuva again.

Method 4: Use a Tool

If Recuva is unable to determine file system type even after trying the above solutions, you can use a third-party tool to repair the corrupt drive or the errors that its file system may have. Although several partition management applications are available online, the efficient ones are merely a few.

One such robust program that you can try is Partition Wizard Free by MiniTool which can be downloaded for free by visiting the official website. Some key features that MiniTool Partition Wizard Free offers include:

  • Create, format, resize, wipe, and hide or unhide partitions with ease.
  • Easily convert an MBR partition to GPT.
  • Convert FAT32 to NTFS file system without formatting the drive.
  • Check and fix the file system errors.
  • Strongly attempt to recover files from bad sectors.
MiniTool Partition Wizard Free

One of the advantages of using a third-party partition manager is that almost all administrative tasks become pretty easy, and you can perform them without even typing a single line of command. All you need to do is, choose your preferred options, click the appropriate buttons, and let the application do the job for you.


Not only the data recovery tools but many other programs are sometimes unable to determine file system type. When this happens, you can check your hard drive and the culprit partition for errors and try to fix them with the help of Windows built-in commands and features, or using a third-party program. Nevertheless, if Recuva is unable to determine file system type, the issue can be fixed within no time.

Joel Wilson

Joel Wilson

Joel is a fan of technology. He uses both iPhone and Android phones. Being interesting in exploring new features, he likes to share his experiences on how to use the devices in a better way. Because of his enthusiasm for technology, he becomes an "expert" to fix problems with phones and computers.

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