How to Fix the I/O Errors of the External Hard Disk

Computer users often report I/O device error on external hard drive while performing read/write operations on their external storage media, such as USBs, SD cards, memory sticks, external hard drives, etc. There are multiple scenarios that result hard drive I/O errors, fixing them could be simple, difficult or complex, depend upon the situation. Usually, these external hard disk errors are easy to diagnose and can be resolved within few quick tricks. Most of the I/O errors can be fixed by checking loose connection, disk properties, etc.

Primary reasons that cause External Hard Disk I/O Device Errors

  • Outdated drivers
  • Hard drive is incompatible with the OS platform
  • Faulty CD/DVD writer and USB port
  • Loose USB or e SATA cord
  • Physically damaged hard drive

Usually, Input/output (I/O) errors are very generic and create different types of error messages in different platforms such as Windows, Mac, and Linux, etc. in order to fix these issues there could be variety of options.

The Easiest Solutions to Fix External Hard Disk I/O Errors

  • Check all connections, restart, cables and ports

Most of the issues with I/O errors occur due to cords that connect external hard drive to the computer. Therefore, the first thing you should do to fix such, device errors on external hard disk is check the cord connections with your computer system. Make sure, all the cords are connected tightly at both hub and computer Ports. You can also try to plug the external hard drive to another port of your computer or replace the connection cable to check either the error is due to cable.

  • Update or Re-Install the Drivers

At times, an outdated driver may also cause I/O error. This error can be fixed by updating or re-installing a new driver in the OS drive. You just need to check either the drivers are updated and compatible for the disk transfer.

  • Check all the chords:

The next easiest way to resolve I/O error in an external drive is cord crosstalk. At times, when the electricity in one set of wires tends to leak into another set of wires, then it might interfere when you perform input-output operations. In order to fix this problem disconnect all the unnecessary devices except your external hard drive on your computer and connect the only those cords of necessary devices. You can also avoid this issue permanently by replacing the current chords with better cables. You can also connect your external drive to another system to check either the chord is faulty or there is a problem with your external drive.

Hardware Issues:

If you don’t have issues related to the cord, then probably the problem is quite technical that you might not be able to resolve. Since there are two types of hard drives, so there will be two different sets of solutions for each type.

Magnetic External hard drives:

Often such I/O errors occur when you are using more than two years old drive or a dropped drive. Therefore, if you are getting I/O errors on a new external hard disk then it is always recommended return it immediately as it could be a defective piece or probably dropped during shipping. At times, clicking or grinding noises inside your external hard drive is a symbol of hardware damage. To resolve this problem, you have to send your hard drive to its manufacturer. Therefore, it is always advisable that if your hard drive is suffering from a physical damage, first send it to the external hard drive data recovery service provider to retrieve stored data before going to the manufacturer.

In case, your hard drive is still connected to the computer then first try to copy maximum files to another drive. In case it dies in the middle of copying, freeze it. Hopefully, this technique helps you to recover maximum files.

Solid State Drives:

SSDs are the most promising storage drive models that offer high-performance operations, but, unfortunately, do not provide a reliable durability under even the simplest of faults like power loss. Solid state drives are not that solid and comparatively sensitive than magnetic drives. The main cause of I/O errors on a solid state drive is power outages. According to major research, there is no real way to fix I/O device errors on solid state external hard drives.

Ultimately, if your hard drive is suffering from hardware issues and not detected by your system then there is no point to waste your time applying simple recovery tricks. It is better to go to a reputed data recovery service provider to recover your stored data as the data recovery company have expert technicians and efficient technologies and are capable enough of recovering data from a disaster as well.

12 thoughts on “How to Fix the I/O Errors of the External Hard Disk

  1. Hi, please help me I am in problem with I/o error. I have an external hard drive. But When I am accessing folders and some of the folders showing i/o errors. I have checked hard drive by connecting in the different device but unable to access folders. Please guide me what should I do.

    1. Safely eject your external hard drive and power off your system.
      Then Power on and reconnect your external hard drive to the system and check if the issue is still there.
      This article having number of reasons of I/O Errors. Read it.

      If you are still unable to fix the issue and your hard drive is under warranty then replace it. Otherwise, contact to data recovery center.

  2. Hello,
    I have dropped my Hard Disk i.e one-year-old. When I connected it to the PC, the hard drive is detecting but the data/ folders stored in the drive is not visible. In addition, there is showing a pop up of I/O Error. Please let me know the procedure how would I fix this I/O Error and how can I retrieve my Data?

    1. Hi Sneha,
      Sometimes it may cause due to the physical damage. As you have told your hard drive is visible, but the data inside is not available. So, check the cable and reconnect, but if you have damaged internal parts of the hard drive, then it can create a problem. In the situation, you do not have any other option except replacing your Hard Drive.

  3. I have removed my USB key without the “Safely Eject option” and since then, when I plug-in the device, I’m getting an error message: G:\ cannot be accessed.
    The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error. How can I recover the data from the device?

    1. To solve this issue, change the transfer mode of your CD-ROM from the properties of the IDE channel. To do this, follow these steps:
      1- Right Click on My Computer and then click Manage.
      2- Under Computer Management (Local), click on Device Manager.
      3- In the right, expand IDE ATA / ATAPI.
      4- Right click on the channel to which your CD-ROM drive is connected, and then click on Properties.
      5- Under the Advanced tab in the Transfer Mode box of the device that represents your CD-ROM drive, select “PIO Only”

      Hope it will visible to you now.

    1. Hi Manpreet,
      These can be the reasons of I/O error:

      1. The output file that you are trying to create already exists
      2. The size of output file is not sufficient to hold the data etc.

      First, let me know what operation (reading or writing) you were performing at the time of error occurred? Kindly provide me the error message so that I can help you in the right direction.

  4. My Problem is Seagate External HDD is not showing in my computer, Manage folder detect but showing not initialized, my laptop hangs in Booting & Shutdown with external HDD

    1. Hi Subhash,
      Thank you for writing us, Please check your hard drive by connecting to another computer. And make sure it is detected by Disk Management or not?

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