How to Fix External Hard Disk I/O Device Errors? [2023 Update]

An I/O device error on the computer happens when a drive is inaccessible. So when you try to open a drive, you would see the error message – the request could not be performed. I/O errors cause panic because sometimes, your files may get deleted. And often, there is no feasible way to recover them. But our article will help you ease that panic. We’ll show you ways to fix I/O device errors on external hard disks and on internal drives.

Table of Content

Overview – Our blog takes you through multiple I/O device error scenarios. We’ll show you how to fix Device I/O errors on external hard disks.

Here is a link to Stellar’s window data recovery software. You can download it in case of unexpected data loss from damaged hard disks to recover data.

Usually, Input/output (I/O) errors are very generic and create different types of hard drive 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  • Outdated drivers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
  • Drive letter conflict during initializing the device
  • Broken connection port

इस पोस्ट को हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए यहां क्लिक करें।

Fixing I/O device errors on external hard disks isn’t hard. Most times, it’s a matter of checking for loose connections. But sometimes, fixing an I/O device error takes a bit more work. There are a couple of methods you can use to correct the errors. Read to learn about them.

  1. Restart your computer/Laptop.
  2. Try to reaccess the drive/device.
  3. If the problem remains the 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 input/output error is fixed and you no longer get the error message, you are finished. If the problem remains, then continue with the following solutions.

Watch the video on “how to fix external hard disk i/o device errors?

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

Solution 1: Check all cables connections

The easiest fix to your problems is to check the cords. Most of the I/O device errors occur due to cords. The cables tend to get loose and the cords may weaken. First, check to see if all the cords are connected properly at the hub and computer ports. Check if there’s an issue with your computer’s port by connecting the drive to another computer. If this solution fixes the problems, then you are done. If this did not resolve the issue, try the next solution.

Solution 2: Update or Re-Install the Drivers

At times, an outdated driver may also cause an I/O device error.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

Solution 3: Check all the Cords

The next easiest way to resolve I/O errors on an external drive is cord crosstalk. The electricity in one set of wires tends to leak into another set of cables. This might interfere with the connection when you perform input-output operations. To fix this problem disconnect all the additional devices except your external hard drive on your computer and the necessary accessories connected. You can avoid this issue permanently by replacing the current wires with better cables. You can also join your external drive to another system to check whether the cord is faulty or if 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 the 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 the Secondary IDE channel.
  4. Go to the 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 errors. And then you will no longer see the “The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error” message.

Solution 6: Try Clean Booting your Computer

When you’re trying this method, make sure you don’t disable advanced booting options. Here’s how to fix I/O device errors on an external hard disk by Clean Booting.

  1. Type “MSConfig” in the search bar and press enter. This will open the System Configuration App.
  2. On the next window, navigate to the “Administrations” tab, then click the option “Hide all Microsoft administrations”. Then select “Disable all”.
  3. Next, in the Startup tab, open the Task Manager.
  4. Pick all the startup items, then click “Disable”. Close the Task Manager.
  5. Finally, return to the System Configuration window. Click “Startup”, then select “Ok’ and reboot your PC.

Solution 7: Change the drive letter

If your system reads or detects the wrong letter for the drive, it could result in an I/O error. To fix this I/O device error on an external hard disk, you can just change the drive letter. Here’s how to change your drive letter.

1. Right-click the start button and click Disk Management. This will open Disk Management with administrator permissions.

2. On this window, right-click on the volume you want to change the drive letter for. On the menu that will appear, click “Change Drive Letter and Paths”.

Sometimes, the option to Change Drive Letter and Path will be greyed out. If this is the case, your drive is probably unallocated and needs to be initialized. It could also be because you don’t have permission to access the drive letter.

3. To change the letter, click “Change”. Then select the drive letter you want from the list.

You would be prompted about how programs that rely on drive letters may not run correctly. Click “Yes” when you see this dialogue box.

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 the 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 by 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 does hard drive data recovery cost?
  2. Why trust Stellar Data Recovery?

When it comes to data recovery, Stellar is the expert. It has expert technicians and efficient technologies that will save you from a disaster situation. And that’s how Stellar Data Recovery has built trust by providing reliable service for more than 24 years.


1.What is the meaning of I/O error?

This stands for Input/Output error. When you have an I/O error, Windows will be unable to read the content on the disk. This can result in data loss and disk damage.

2.How can I improve my I/O performance?

If your system is I/O intensive, you can raise the I/O Page Lock Limit. This will increase the effective rate at which the OS reads or writes data.

3. How can I avoid I/O device errors on external hard disks?

Malware infections are one cause of I/O device errors. You can avoid I/O errors by keeping away from suspicious websites and installing good anti-virus software.

4.How do I troubleshoot disk IO Windows?

The best way to monitor the performance of drives is by using a tool like PerfMon. This can help you to catch errors before they occur, which will then prevent bottlenecks.

5.How do I fix a corrupted hard drive?

There are several methods by which you can fix a corrupted hard drive. The simplest is by unplugging and replugging the external drive. You can also uninstall and reinstall the disk drive.

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