Error 0x80071ac3 – Cause, Fix & All You Need To Know

Updated on May 27th, 2021

Rohit Arora

Summary: In this guide, you will learn how to fix the “Error 0x80071ac3: The operation could not be completed because the volume is dirty” in a Windows PC or laptop. The error appears when you try to access data on an external storage media and results in data loss. Get Stellar Data Recovery software today to regain your lost data!

Error 0x80071ac3 – Cause, Fix & All You Need To Know
Common Windows Errors

Error 0x80071ac3 – Volume is Dirty occurs when Windows fail to access and read a drive volume or data on an external storage media such as hard disk, thumb drive, or SD card, etc. The error indicates a severe problem with the storage drive, which can result in permanent data loss.

What Causes Error 0x80071ac3 in Windows?

The Error 0x80071ac3 may occur because of following errors related to a USB storage media and Windows PC:

  • Bad sectors and bad blocks
  • Critical SMART errors
  • File system errors
  • Dirty bit
  • Sudden system shutdown or crash
  • Faulty, corrupt, or damaged device driver
  • Unplugging USB drive without safe removal
  • Problem with the Windows system files
  • Old or aging USB media storage device

The Error 0x80071ac3 may also occur if a USB disk is used for the ReadyBoost feature in Windows.

Solutions to Fix Error 0x80071ac3: Volume is Dirty Error

If the drive is accessible, you should immediately try to back up the data. In case the drive or data isn’t accessible, you must use a data recovery tool to recover the data.

Watch this video to learn how to safely get back data from a corrupt drive affected with Error 0x80071ac3: Volume is dirty.

The following are a few solutions that may fix Error 0x80071ac3. Follow them carefully, in the given order.

1. Unlock SD card

This simple fix may work if the error appears while attempting to access the data on a memory card. Modern SD cards used in DSLRs and micro SD card adapters have a sliding lock and unlock switch. This switch enables and disables the read/write permissions on the SD card.

Try unlocking the card by sliding the switch to unlock the position. Then connect the card to your PC and check if the error is fixed.

2. Run CHKDSK Scan

When the Error 0x80071ac3: Volume is dirty error appears on a Windows PC, the error windows suggest you run a CHKDSK scan. CHKDSK scan is a command-line based disk error checking and repair tool that may fix the Error 0x80071ac3.


CAUTION: Usually, CHKDSK scans are safe. But in some cases, it may cause data loss as it tries to repair a bad sector that may contain some data. If the data is critical, do not use CHKDSK. Follow the video guide above to retrieve the data.

To run CHKDSK scan on your affected USB storage media, follow these steps:

  • On your Windows PC, open Command Prompt with admin privileges
  • Then type following command and press ‘Enter.
    chkdsk /r /f X:
    Replace letter X with the affected USB drive letter
  • Wait for the scan to complete
  • Unplug the USB storage media and then plug it after a few seconds
  • Open File Explorer and try to access the data

In case if CHKDSK isn’t successful, head to the next solution.

3. Run File System Utility Check

If CHKDSK fails to fix the Error 0x80071ac3, use File System Utility (fsutil)—another command-line based Windows utility used for fixing file system errors and managing disk-related issues such as Error 0x80071ac3.

To use File System Utility, enter the following command in the Command Prompt Window.

fsutil dirty query E:
File System Utility Check

Here E is the drive letter of the affected USB storage media. Make sure Command Prompt is opened with admin privileges.

4. Error Checking Tool

If CHKDSK and FSUTIL fail to fix the Error 0x80071ac3, you may try the error-checking tool. It may or may not work, but there’s no harm in trying the utility.

To use the error-checking tool on affected external storage media, follow these steps:

  • Open the File Explorer window.
  • Right-click on the affected USB storage media and click ‘Properties’.
  • Go to the ‘Tools’ tab and then click on the ‘Check’ button under the ‘Error Checking’ header.
  • Click ‘Scan drive’ and wait for it to finish.
Error Checking Tool
  • This will find and repair any error related to the file system

If no error found or fixed, head to the next solution.

5. Edit Registry

  • Press Windows + R, type regedit.exe, and press ‘Enter.
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies
  • Double-click ‘WriteProtect’ and change the value from 1 to 0
  • If ‘WriteProtect’ is not visible, right-click on the white area and choose New>Dword (32-bit)
Edit Registry
  • Enter the name ‘WriteProtect’ and click ‘OK’.

6. Disable ReadyBoost

ReadyBoost is a disk cache service in Windows that uses USB flash drive or memory card to speed up smaller random disk reads. If the affected USB drive is used for ReadyBoost feature on your PC, follow these steps to disable it and fix the error.

  • Open File Explorer and right-click on the USB storage media.
  • Click ‘Properties’.
  • Go to ‘ReadyBoost’ tab and select ‘Do not use this device’ radio button.
  • Eject the drive and then reconnect it.

Check if the error is resolved.

7. Reinstall or Update Device Drivers

  • Open Device Manager.
  • Expand Disk Drives and right-click on the USB drive.
  • Click ‘Update driver’ and follow the wizard.
  • To reinstall drivers, choose ‘Uninstall device’.
Reinstall or Update Device Drivers
  • Confirm and then disconnect the drive.
  • Connect it again after a few seconds to reinstall device drivers automatically.
  • Check if the drive and data is accessible.

8. Run SFC Scan

  • Open command prompt window.
  • Type sfc /scannow and press ‘Enter.
SFC Scan
  • Wait for the scan to finish

Post scan, disconnect the USB drive, restart PC, and then connect the USB drive again. Check if the error is resolved.

9. Format/Low-Level Format

When nothing works, then formatting is the only option you are left with. But before you format the affected disk, use Stellar Data Recovery Professional software to retrieve data from such drive.

After restoring the data, you can go ahead, open Disk Management tool, or run DiskPart utility to clean and format the affected USB storage media.

Format/Low-Level Format

Alternatively, you may low-level format the disk to get rid of any corrupt file or dirty bit which may not go away with a quick or full format.

Format/Low-Level Format


The Error 0x80071ac3 is a critical disk-related error in Windows that could lead to a permanent data loss situation, if not remedied effectively. An affected external storage drive such as USB hard drive, thumb drive, or memory card may not be accessible, or data on the drive may not be readable anymore.

In such a case, you must immediately act and recover the data first by using a powerful DIY data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery Professional. Then follow the solutions as discussed in this post to fix the ‘Volume is Dirty’ error. If data isn’t important, simply format the drive to fix the error.

And to avoid such data loss situation, always back up! Keep at least two copies of all your critical files at two different locations and media.

About The Author

Satyeshu Kumar

Satyeshu is a Windows blogger and data recovery expert. He is having good technical knowledge and experience in Windows data recovery. He writes about latest technical tips, Windows issues and tutorials. 

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1 comment
  1. Hey, I have tried the second trick ‘ chkddk ‘. It went well as you said, but is showing “an error have occurred while recovering lost files” and it is stuck now. Any additional thing shall we have to do in this case?

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