Resolving “Error 0x80071AC3: Volume is dirty is essential for users facing problems with their storage devices on Windows.

This error indicates a file system issue, often due to improper disconnections or power losses, and can hinder data access. 

What Does the 0x80071AC3 Error Mean?

The 0x80071AC3 error, commonly referred to as “volume is dirty,” is a system notification encountered by users of Windows operating systems when there is a perceived inconsistency or corruption within the file system of a storage device.

This error is a protective measure employed by the system to prevent potential data loss or further corruption. It essentially signals that the system has identified the storage volume—be it an internal hard drive, an external USB drive, or an SD card—as containing errors or being in an unstable state, which could be detrimental to the integrity of the data stored on it.

Why Does This Error Occur?

This error can be triggered by a variety of factors:

  • One common cause is an improper shutdown or disconnection of the storage device, which might occur if the device is removed without using the “Safely Remove Hardware” option or if there is a sudden power outage while data is being written to the disk. Such incidents can leave the file system in an incomplete state, where changes to the file system were not fully written or recorded, leading to what the system identifies as a “dirty” volume.
  • Another scenario that can lead to this error involves system crashes or software glitches that interrupt disk operations. This can result in the file system’s metadata becoming inconsistent—where the information about files and directories stored on the disk does not accurately reflect their actual state. The Windows system includes checks that run at startup to detect such inconsistencies, and if found, Windows will flag the volume as “dirty” to indicate that there is a problem that needs to be resolved.
  • When a volume is marked as “dirty,” Windows may restrict access to the device to prevent the execution of read or write operations that could exacerbate the issue. While this can be frustrating for users attempting to access their data, it’s an important safeguard against potential data corruption.

How to Solve “Error 0x80071ac3: The Volume Is Dirty”?

Here are several solutions you can try to resolve the 0x80071ac3 error:

  • Solution 1: Check your drive for errors

As we’ve mentioned, one of the reasons why you’re getting the 0x80071AC3 error is because of bad sectors on your drive. As a Windows 10 user, you can easily do this with the Windows 10 built-in error checking tool:

  • Press Windows key + E on your keyboard to open File Explorer.
  • In File Explorer, navigate to “This PC” on the sidebar to view all available drives. Identify the drive you’re experiencing issues with.
  • Right-click on the affected drive to bring up a context menu. From this menu, select Properties at the bottom to open the drive’s Properties window.
  • In the Properties window, click on the Tools tab located at the top. This tab contains options for checking the drive for file system errors.
  • Under the Error checking section, you’ll see a description and a Check button. Click on this Check button. Windows 10 may prompt you with a User Account Control (UAC) dialog asking for permission to proceed. Click Yes to continue.
  • After clicking Check, Windows 10 will scan the drive for file system errors. If it finds any issues, it will prompt you with options to repair the drive. Follow the on-screen instructions to allow Windows to fix the found errors. In some cases, Windows may inform you that you need to restart your computer to repair the drive fully.

Once the process is complete, you will receive a message indicating the status of the repair. If all errors were successfully fixed, you should be able to use your drive without encountering the “volume is dirty” error.

Follow-up: After the error checking process, it’s a good idea to reopen the Properties window and revisit the Tools tab to ensure no further actions are recommended by Windows.

After performing the scan, you can also use a reliable tool like Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro. With this program, you can easily defrag files and optimize the file placement on your hard drive. As such, you can ensure consistently high HDD speed, faster access, and efficient operation. The next time you move files to an external drive or storage device, you will be able to do so without any hassle.
  • Solution 2: Run CHKDSK via the Command Prompt

Windows’ Check Disk utility, CHKDSK, can be more directly invoked via the Command Prompt to scan and fix volume errors, including the “volume is dirty” issue. Here’s how:

  • Press Windows key + S, type cmd then right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator. This step is crucial for permissions to run system-level checks.
  • In the Command Prompt, type chkdsk X: /f /r (replace X with the letter of the affected drive) and press Enter. The /f parameter tells CHKDSK to fix any errors it finds, and /r locates bad sectors and recovers readable information.

The scan and repair process may take some time, depending on the size of the drive and the extent of the errors. Follow any on-screen instructions if further action is needed.

This method dives deeper than the graphical interface scan and can sometimes resolve issues that the error checking tool in File Explorer cannot.

  • Solution 3: Disable ReadyBoost

To disable ReadyBoost for a USB flash drive on Windows 10, follow these detailed steps. ReadyBoost is a feature designed to use your USB flash drive as a cache, potentially speeding up your system. However, if you’re encountering issues or errors, disabling it might help. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Go to File Explorer by pressing Windows key + E on your keyboard or by clicking on the File Explorer icon on your taskbar.
  • In File Explorer, go to “This PC” where you can see all your drives listed. Locate the USB flash drive you wish to disable ReadyBoost for.
  • Right-click on the USB flash drive icon and select Properties from the context menu that appears. This will open the Properties window for your USB drive.
  • In the Properties window, you will see several tabs at the top. Click on the ReadyBoost tab to view ReadyBoost settings for the selected USB drive.
  • Within the ReadyBoost tab, you’ll find a few options. Select the radio button next to “Do not use this device” to turn off ReadyBoost for the USB drive. This action tells Windows not to use the flash drive for system speed enhancement purposes.
  • After selecting “Do not use this device,” click the Apply button at the bottom of the window to save your changes. Then, click OK to close the Properties window.
  • Solution 4: Slide the SD card lock

To address the issue of your computer being unable to write to an SD card, which might result in errors such as “volume is dirty” or similar messages, you can try adjusting the physical lock switch on the SD card itself. Here are detailed instructions:

  • Safely eject the SD card from your computer or card reader. This usually involves clicking the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon in the system tray and selecting your device, or simply pushing the SD card gently until it clicks and releases.
  • Examine the edges of your SD card. You will find a small slider switch on one of the sides. This is the lock switch. When this switch is in the locked position, writing to the SD card is disabled, which is a safety feature to prevent accidental deletion or overwriting of data.
  • Slide the lock switch towards the top of the SD card (towards the contacts) to unlock it. This position allows writing to the card. If the switch is already in the unlocked position, slide it to the locked position and then back again to unlock. This action can sometimes refresh the connection and clear any errors preventing writing to the card.
  • Carefully insert the SD card back into your computer or card reader. Make sure it is firmly seated in the slot.
  • Try to write data to the SD card again, such as copying a file from your computer onto the card. If the error persists, there may be other issues at play beyond the lock switch.
If adjusting the lock switch doesn’t resolve the problem, consider using a different SD card reader to ensure the issue isn’t with the reader itself. Additionally, check the SD card for any physical damage or try using it with another device to determine if the issue is isolated to your computer.
  • Solution 5: Reinstall the drivers

Reinstalling drivers in Windows 10 can often resolve issues with external storage devices, such as SD cards or USB drives, especially if you’re encountering errors like “the operation could not be completed because the volume is dirty.”

Windows 10’s Device Manager makes this process straightforward. Here’s how to do it:

  • Press Windows key + X on your keyboard to open the Quick Access menu, then select Device Manager from the list. Alternatively, you can search for “Device Manager” in the Start menu.
  • In Device Manager, look for the category that your device falls under. External drives are typically listed under Disk drives. Expand the category to see all devices.
  • Right-click on the device that’s causing issues and select Uninstall device. You’ll see a confirmation dialog box asking if you’re sure you want to uninstall the device. Click Uninstall to confirm. This action removes the device driver from your system.
  • Safely remove the external storage device from your computer using the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon in the system tray for USB devices.
  • Reboot your computer. This step is crucial as it helps clear any residual configurations from the system before reinstalling the driver.
  • Once your computer has restarted and you’re logged back into Windows, reconnect your external storage device. Windows 10 should automatically detect the device and attempt to reinstall the drivers for it.
  • Wait for Windows to automatically search for and install the necessary drivers. You’ll usually see notifications near the system tray indicating the progress of the driver installation. Once completed, your device should be ready to use.

Try accessing or writing to the device again to see if the issue has been resolved.

If Windows doesn’t automatically reinstall the driver, or if the problem persists, you may need to manually download and install the latest drivers from the device manufacturer’s website. This can be especially relevant for more specialized devices or where specific functionalities are required.

Alternatively, you can use specialized software like Auslogics Driver Updater to keep your system drivers in order. The program will help you update drives in just a few clicks saving you lots of time and effort.

Read more: [EASY GUIDE] How to Update Device Drivers on a Windows 10 PC?

  • Solution 6: Use Windows Disk Cleanup

Before considering formatting, using Windows Disk Cleanup to free up space and remove temporary files can sometimes alleviate the “volume is dirty” error by clearing unnecessary files that may be causing issues.

  • Search for Disk Cleanup in the Windows search bar and open it.
  • Choose the drive that’s showing the error from the drop-down menu and click OK.
  • Select the file types you wish to delete, such as temporary files, and then click OK.
  • Click Delete Files to confirm the action.
While Disk Cleanup is generally used for freeing up space, it can also indirectly fix some disk-related errors by cleaning up problematic files.
  • Solution 7: Format your drive

Formatting your drive is a drastic but effective method for resolving many issues related to external storage devices, including the “volume is dirty” error in Windows 10. It’s important to understand that formatting will erase all data on the drive, so you should back up any important files before proceeding.

Here’s how to safely format your drive in Windows 10:

Before starting the formatting process, ensure all important data on the drive is backed up to another location. Once the drive is formatted, the data cannot be recovered through ordinary means.
  • Press Windows key + E on your keyboard to launch File Explorer.
  • Navigate to “This PC” in File Explorer, where you’ll see a list of all available drives. Find the drive you’re experiencing issues with.
  • Right-click on the problematic drive and select Format from the context menu. This opens the Format dialog box.
  • In the Format dialog box, you can choose the file system and allocation unit size. For most users, it’s best to select NTFS for the file system unless you have specific needs. You can also label your drive by entering a name in the Volume label box. Check the Quick Format option for a faster format process.
  • If unsure about these options, you can click Restore device defaults to set the recommended configuration for your drive.
  • After setting your options, click the Start button to begin formatting. A warning message will appear, reminding you that formatting will erase all data on the drive. If you’re sure you’ve backed up your data and wish to proceed, click OK.

Wait for the formatting process to complete. This could take a few seconds to several minutes, depending on the size of the drive and whether you selected Quick Format. Once the format is complete, you’ll receive a notification that the format was successful. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Your drive should now be free of the previous error and ready to use. You can begin transferring files to the drive again.

Remember, formatting is a last-resort solution to resolve persistent errors. Always ensure you have backups of your data before proceeding with formatting, as this process is irreversible and will result in the loss of all data on the drive.


Resolving “Error 0x80071AC3: The volume is dirty” involves a variety of strategies from simple system checks to more complex fixes like formatting. Utilizing tools like CHKDSK and the error checking utility can often rectify file system inconsistencies, while measures like disabling ReadyBoost or adjusting SD card locks tackle more specific scenarios. It’s crucial to approach this error with a strategy that preserves data integrity and functionality. Remember, formatting should be a last resort due to its irreversible nature. With careful application of these solutions, you can effectively restore your storage device’s health and ensure reliable access to your data.