How to Fix External Hard Disk I/O Device Errors

Computer users often report I/O device error on the computer while performing read/write operations on their external storage media, such as USB Flash Drives, SD cards, Memory cards, External hard drives, Pen drives, CDs etc. There are multiple scenarios that result hard drive I/O errors, fixing them could be simple, complicated or complex, depend upon the situation. Usually, these I/O Device Error are easy to diagnose and can be resolved within few quick tricks.

The blog enthrals customer to Fix I/O errors and solutions to fix it.  Here is a link to Stellar’s window data recovery software, download in case of unexpected data loss to recover data.


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. The most common I/O device error messages are:

  • “The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error.”

I/O Device Error

  • “Only part of a readprocessmemory or writeprocessmemory request was completed.”

I/O Device Error

Primary reasons that cause Hard Disk I/O Device Error

  • Outdated drivers
  • The 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

Most of the I/O errors can be fixed by checking the loose connection, disk properties, etc. To fix these issues, there could be a variety of options. Before you continue to correct these errors you should first perform the following steps:

  1. Restart your computer/Laptop.
  2. Try to reaccess the drive/device.
  3. If the problem remains same, then try to access the device/drive data on another Computer/Laptop to confirm that the drive or device is not damaged.
  4. The device error is fixed and you no longer get the error message, you are finished. If the problem remains, continue with the following solutions.

The Easiest Solutions to Fix Hard Disk I/O Device Error

Solution 1: Check all cables connections

In case of External Hard Drive, most of the I/O device errors occur due to cords and cables that connect the external hard drive to the computer. Therefore, the first thing you should do to 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. If this solution fixed the problems, then you are done. If this did not resolve the issue, try another solution.

Solution 2: Update or Re-Install the Drivers

At times, an outdated driver may also cause I/O device error.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

Solution 3: Check all the Cords

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

Solution 4: Change the drive transfer mode in IDE Channel Properties

OS cannot transfer data from drive to computer if the transfer mode is incorrect, you can change transfer mode by following steps.

  1. Press (Windows + X) both Keys together and select device manager from the menu list
  2. Expand IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. A subset will open, that lists the different IDE ATA/ATAPI channels.
  3. Right-click on the channel where the appropriate drive is connected, and then click properties. Typically, this channel is secondary IDE channel.
  4. Go to advanced settings tab and select PIO only in the transfer mode box for the device that represents the appropriate drive. Typically, this is device 0. Then, click ok and exit all windows.
  5. Test the drive and check if the error message has been removed.

Warning: Do not change the Primary IDE Channel, Device 0. Changing this transfer mode setting may cause the computer to operate incorrectly or not at all.

Solution 5: Check and Repair Device in Command Prompt
  1. Press (Windows + X) both Keys together and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu list
  2. Click Yes to allow OS to launch the Command Prompt as Administrator.
  3. In Command Prompt window, type chkdsk G: /f /r /x. Here G is the drive letter; you can replace it with your drive letter.

This option will check and repair disk errors on the external & internal hard drive/USB drive/SD card to fix I/O device error. And then you will no longer see “The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error” message.

What if the DIY approach does not work for resolving I/O Device Error

If you have essential data on your external & internal hard drive, USB flash drive, pen drive, Memory Cards, CD Discs etc.  and above solutions failed to resolve the issue. It means 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 trusted data recovery service provider to get back your data from the affected drive.

Before contacting any data recovery company, you will try to find the answer to two questions.

  1. How much hard drive data recovery cost?
  2. Why trust data recovery company?

Because the data recovery company have expert technicians and efficient technologies and are capable enough of recovering data from a disaster as well. Therefore Stellar Data Recovery has built trust by providing reliable service for more than 24 years.


20 thoughts on “How to Fix External Hard Disk I/O Device Errors

  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?

  5. Sir, its vishwanath from professional computers, hospet, bellary dist, karnataka.

    one of my customer is have this problem,
    Seagate 250gb hdd,
    boot selection failed because a device is inaccessible
    I tried to repair the same using OS,
    Checked with Chkdsk /r /f/ d:
    diskpart, bootrec / rebuildbcd
    but it says i/o error
    Now is their any other method of solving the problem.
    if data to be recovered, what is the charges.

    1. Hi Vishwanath,
      Seems that you have followed the given methods but unable to solve the problem.
      I suggest you to before trying any other method take the technicians advise. Hope you will get back your data.
      We can not suggest any pricing to you, as the cost varies for device type and data loss situation.
      Contact us to know more: 1800-102-3232

  6. Sir,
    my wd elements 1td harddisk is the request could not be performed because of an i/o device error,
    this problem, but not working the hard disc, how to resolve the problem?

    1. Hi Mallesh,
      Please try the given methods to fix the I/O Errors.
      If it not works, then I suggest you to before trying any other method get an technicians advise. For any further details contact : 1800-102-3232

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