CRC Error: What It Is and How to Fix It

The cyclic redundancy check error message isn't the end of the world

The cyclic redundancy check (CRC) error message is one that appears when a corruption or suspicious change is detected in data on storage devices and networks. Here's how it appears and how to fix it.

How the Cyclic Redundancy Check Error Appears

The error is known to appear when a computer attempts to read data on a local drive, a network drive, an external hard drive, and on disk drives such as those used for reading CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray disks.

The cyclic redundancy check error message typically appears as the following:

  • C:\ is not accessible. Data error (cyclic redundancy check).
  • File ____ could not be accessed. Data error. Cyclic redundancy check.
  • Data error (cyclic redundancy check).
  • Error: Data error (cyclic redundancy check).
A computer hard drive.
WLADIMIR BULGAR / Getty Images

Causes of the Data Error Cyclic Redundancy Check Error

There are numerous situations that cause a CRC error to appear when using a computer, ranging from the corruption of a file or program registry to file and setting configuration mistakes and faulty app or program installations.

A problem with the hard drive can also cause a cyclic redundancy check data error.

How to Fix the Cyclic Redundancy Check Error

Because the cause of a cyclic redundancy check data error can be related to the file being accessed and the hard drive or disk drive involved, there are a variety of approaches that can be taken to solve this problem.

  1. Restart the computer. This quick and effective process fixes a variety of computer problems, including those associated with data errors.

  2. Reconnect external drives. If the error appears while trying to access an external hard drive or disk drive, unplug it, restart the computer, then reconnect it again.

  3. Re-download the file. If you get the CRC error when opening or running a file you downloaded, it's possible the file became corrupted during the download process due to a server or internet connection problem. Downloading the file again often removes any bugs or glitches.

    Before re-downloading a file, save it under a different file name so that you don't accidentally open the original faulty file again.

  4. Request a new copy. If the glitchy file was sent to you in an email message, ask the original sender to send you a new copy. The file may not have been attached or uploaded to the email properly.

  5. Install the latest operating system updates. New macOS and Windows updates frequently include fixes for drive and file errors and can increase system stability enormously.

  6. Scan the drive. Perform a drive scan on Windows and use Disk Utility First Aid on macOS to automatically scan your device in the background to detect and correct errors.

    Only perform a scan on the drives that you accessed when the data error occurred.

  7. Scan the drive using chkdsk. If the CRC error makes it difficult to scan the affected drive on a Windows computer via the above method, start a scan by typing "chkdsk /f c:" into the search bar of the Windows taskbar, then select Run command. Make sure to change the c to the correct drive letter.

    You can also perform a command prompt by typing the above text into Cortana on Windows 10.

  8. Install from Safe Mode. If you repeatedly get a cyclical redundancy check error when installing a program from a disk, restart Windows in Safe Mode and attempt to install it from there.

    After the installation completes in Safe Mode, restart the computer and run Windows as normal.

  9. Format the disk drive. If a hard drive or disk drive repeatedly gives you trouble, you may need to reformat it. This should be a last resort, as it deletes everything currently on the drive.

Other Errors Like The Cyclic Redundancy Check Error

Error 0x80040116 has been known to appear when saving or copying files from an email client. Its cause is frequently associated with a cyclical redundancy check error and can often be fixed by performing the same steps mentioned above.

Similar hard drive and file errors include the STOP: 0x00000022 and FILE_SYSTEM messages that often result in the infamous blue screen of death.