How to Fix External Hard Drive I/O Error?

authorPic William Bollson Updated on 2021-09-24 14:43:06 to Hard Drive
Question:How to fix external hard drive I/O error?

“I keep getting "an unexpected I/O error has occurred" when I try to access my external hard drive from my PC. Is the hard drive done for?”

-Question from Quora

Have you faced I/O Device Error yet? Are you wondering what an I/O device error is? If so, you are at the right place. I/O Device Error is short for Input/Output Device Error. This occurs when you perform the write and read procedure on the device in Windows 10/8/7. There are different situations where the outcome in the device I/O errors. Fixing them could be straightforward or complex, relying upon the circumstances. Here we will list some of the techniques that can help you fix the I/O device error.

how to fix external hard drive I/0 error

How to Fix External Hard Drive I/O Device Error in Windows 10?

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Part 1: Overview of I/O Error

1. What is an I/O Device Error?

An I/O device error is a problem with the device that prevents Windows from perusing its content or writing on it. It can show up on the hard drive (HDD or SSD), external hard disk, USB, SD card, CD/DVD, and so on. If the external hard drive is showing a disk I/O error, you can't move PC data to and from that drive.

For the most part, you get the message in Windows 10 when an I/O device error exists as "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error."

2. Reasons behind Hard Drive I/O Error

For what reason does your hard drive have the I/O device error message? It principally lies in your hard disk. The reasons could be:

  • The hard drive is corrupt or damaged (a part of it or complete)
  • File system of the hard drive is not the same as the PC
  • Drivers are required to be refreshed
  • The transfer mode is incompatible with the hard drive
  • Damaged CD/DVD writer and USB port
  • Loose USB or e SATA connection

Part 2: How to Fix External Hard Drive I/O Error?

1. Check All Cable Connections

A large portion of the I/O device error happens because of cables that associate the external hard drive on the PC. So, the main thing you have to do is to check the connections with your system. Ensure every cable is attached firmly at both ends. You can likewise attempt to plug the external hard drive to another port of your PC or use another cable to check if the error is either because of the connection. If this arrangement helps in the external hard drive I/O device error fix, you are good to go.

2. Check All the Cords

The next most used approach to fix this error is cord crosstalk. On occasion, when the power in one set of wires will break into another, then, at that point, it may break when you perform input-output activities. To fix this issue, disconnect all of the extra devices except your external hard drive on your PC. Connect the necessary cords to the device. You can likewise stay away from this issue by changing your links or can connect your external drive to another PC to check if the problem is with the wire.

3. Update or Reinstall Drivers

To update the device driver:

Step 1: Enter the device manager in the inquiry box on the taskbar, then, at that point, select Device Manager.

Step 2: Select a category to check the names of the devices, then right-snap (or press and hold) the one you'd prefer to refresh.

Step 3: Press the automatic search option for the driver software update.

Step 4: Select Update Driver.

To reinstall the device driver:

Step 1: Enter the device manager in the pursuit box on the taskbar, then, at that point, select "Device Manager."

Step 2: Right-click the name of the device and tap Uninstall.

Step 3: Restart your PC.

Step 4: Windows itself will try to install the driver again.

4. Change Device Transfer Mode

The OS can't move data from the drive to the PC if the transfer mode is wrong. You can change the transfer mode and fix the I/O device error external hard drive as follows:

Step 1: Press (Windows + X) the two Keys together and select the device manager from the menu list.

Step 2: Extend IDE ATA/ATAPI controls. A subset will open that rundowns all the IDE ATA/ATAPI channels.

fix I/O error- change device transfer mode

Step 3: Right-click on the channel where the suitable drive is associated, and click on Properties.

fix external hard drive I/O error- change device transfer mode 2

Step 4: Open the advanced settings tab and select PIO Only in the transfer mode box for the device that addresses the proper drive. Usually, this is a device 0. Then, at that point, click OK and leave all windows.

Step 5: Check the drive and see if the error message is still there.

5. Command Prompt

Step 1: Press (Windows + X) the two Keys together and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu list.

Step 2: Tap Yes to allow the system to open the Command Prompt as Administrator.

Step 3: Type chkdsk G:/f/r/x in the Command Prompt window. "G" is the drive letter here and you may change it to your drive letter.

This alternative will check and fix disk errors on both the external and internal \hard drive/USB drive/SD card to fix I/O device errors. And afterwards, you will presently not see the error message.

6. Try Clean Booting Your PC

For the security of your PC, follow the underneath steps to clean boot your PC and make sure not to disable advanced boot options.

Step 1: Type "MSConfig" in search and press Enter to open "System Configuration".

fix I/O error- Try Clean Booting Your PC

Step 2: On the spring-up window, click the "Administrations" tab, check "Hide all Microsoft administrations," and select "Disable all."

fix I/O error- Try Clean Booting Your PC 2

Step 3: Go to the "Startup" tab and then choose "Open Task Manager."

Step 4: Pick all the startup items and snap "Disable."

Step 5: Close Task Manager.

Step 6: Return to "System Configuration" > "Startup", select "OK" and reboot your Windows 10 PC.

7. Send for Manual Repair

If none of the strategies above assists with eliminating the I/O device error hard drive, you are prescribed to send your device for a manual fix. To do so, you have three alternatives to attempt:

Step 1: Contact the device product and send the disk for a repair.

Step 2: Send the device for a manual repair at a nearby repair shop.

Step 3: Customize manual device fixes and data recovery services.

Part 3: How to Recover Data from the Error External Hard Drive?

If any of the above approaches don't work for settling I/O Device Error, then there might be a hardware issue with your hard drive. In this case, our system doesn't read your external hard drive. So, you are in the danger of losing your important data.

You can still restore your data from the defective hard drive using Tenorshare 4DDiG Data Recovery Software. Use 4DDiG to recover your data in just a few simple steps.

  • Recover 1000+ types of data types with Tenorshare 4DDiG.
  • Supports Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7.
  • Recover data from a crashed system.
  • Recover Files from Multiple Devices such as Mac/Windows/External hard drive/USB flash drive/SD card/digitial camera.

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  • Step 1:Select the External Hard Drive
  • First and foremost, download and install Tenorshare 4DDiG Windows Data Recovery. Run the program, connect your external hard drive where you lost data with the PC, and afterwards pick the external hard drive to begin.

    select the external hard drive
  • Step 2:Scan External Hard Drive
  • After you click on Scan, 4DDiG quickly scans your chosen hard drive to uncover the lost data. You can check the progress, pause or end the scanning whenever you want.

    scan external hard drive
  • Step 3: Recover from External Hard Drive
  • 4DDiG aids to review and recover different record types like photographs, recordings, sounds, archives, and more. You can choose your desired files to recover.

    After you click on Recover, a dialogue box will open, requesting the place you wish to save the files. Select the ideal but unique location and tap OK.

    recover data from external hard drive

How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Initialized|Disk Unknow Not Initialized


1. How can I recover data from an unallocated external hard drive?

Moving up to Windows 11 may delete data like projects, documents, and older settings. Therefore, it is prudent to back up all the information before continuing with an update.

Step 1: To retrieve files from an unallocated external hard drive, select the "External Devices Recovery" mode in the recovery software to proceed.

Step 2: Connect the external disk with the computer.

Step 3: Select a location and click "Start" to scan lost data.

Step 4: Scan the unallocated disk on your PC.

Step 5: Retrieve the lost data.

2. How do I fix/clear the incorrect parameter on my external hard drive?

Step 1: Perform a Quick Scan on your PC to detect possible malware.

Step 2: Open the command-line window and run Chkdsk to Fix Drive Errors.

Step 3: Open a command-line window and run sfc/scannow on External Drive.

Step 4: Reformat the External Drive.

Step 5: Update Disk Drive and USB Driver.

Step 6: Make sure the Decimal Symbol in Date & Time Settings.


I/O device error external hard drives can end up being harmful if they are not managed rapidly. You can utilize a few strategies to fix external hard drive I/O errors. To recover data from a corrupted external hard drive, you should use software like Tenorshare 4DDiG Data Recovery Software. It is all-inclusive software that can help recover all types of documents within a few minutes.

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