Fix I/O Device Error on External Hard Drive/USB Drive in Windows

"The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error"

I/O Device Error, short for Input/Output Device Error, usually happens on external hard drives, SD cards, USB flash drives, CDs, or DVDs when you try to perform write and read operations on the device in Windows 10/8/7.

Normally, when you try to access its files, you'll get an I/O Device error saying "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error."

The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error

Quick Guide - 5 Methods to Fix I/O Device Error on Your Own

To solve your problem, you can take the following methods and corresponding guidelines to fix the I/O device error on your storage devices immediately.

5 Methods Risky Level Difficulty Level
Check & Change Device Connection Low Easy
Update/Re-install Device Driver Low Easy
Change Device Transfer Mode Medium Easy
Send for Manual Repair Medium (Possible privacy disclosure) Easy
Command Prompt High (Possible data loss) Medium

Overview of I/O Device Error

In most cases, users encounter the I/O device error when they attempt to open a hard drive or external storage device. How to define if you are with the error, and what to do when this error happens? Let's see.



So What to Do with I/O Device Error On Devices? Here are some tips:

Based on the underlying issue, you have the following solutions available to fix the I/O device error on an external/internal hard drive.

Recover Data from I/O Device Error (Recommended)

If you have important data lost on the external hard drive, USB flash drive, or SD card before or after fixing the I/O device error, you can recover your files with hard drive recovery software - Deep Data Recovery.

Qiling data recovery software supports deleted data recovery, formatted file recovery, RAW file recovery, and more. To recover data from your device that suffered from the I/O device error:

Step 1. Select file types and click "Next" to start

Launch Deep Data Recovery software. Select file types and click "Next" to start.

Select file types that you want to recover

Step 2. Scan the hard drive partition

Select the drive on your hard disk where you lost or deleted files. Click "Scan" and let Qiling data recovery software scan for all lost data and files on the selected drive.

select a location and scan hard drive

Step 3. Check the results

When the scan completes, you can apply the "Filter" feature or click the "Search files or folders" option to find the lost files on the hard drive.

Restore lost hard drive data

Step 4. Restore lost hard drive data

Select wanted files that you lost on the drive and click "Recover" to save them to another location.

Method 1. Check and Change Device Connection

Pros: Easy, fast, no data loss.

Cons: /

Here are the tips that you can check if the I/O error is caused by a loose connection or faulty cable/USB port:

If the I/O device error persists, don't worry. More methods are available for you to apply.

Method 2. Update or Reinstall the Device Driver

Pros: Easy, fast, no data loss.

Cons: Falty operation may cause serious problems. Be careful!

The outdated device driver is a potential cause that may lead to various issues on your device. For example, "there is no media in the specified device", USB not showing up in Windows, and "the request could not be performed because of an I/O device error".

Step 1. Connect the device with "I/O device error" to PC, right-click "This PC" and select "Manage".

Step 2. Click "Device Manager", expand "Disk drives".

Step 3. Right-click the problematic device and select "Update driver"

Step 4. Click "Search automatically search for driver software online".

Fix I/O device error - update device driver

Wait for the driver to be updated, then reboot your computer. Afterward, you can open your device to check whether the I/O error still exists.

Method 3. Fix I/O Device Error - Change Transfer Mode in IDE

Pros: No data loss.

Cons: Falty operation may cause serious problems. Be careful!

As mentioned, if Windows is trying to use a transfer mode that your device doesn't support, you will encounter the error message "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error." To remove the I/O error, you just need to switch the transfer mode with the next steps:

Step 1. Press "Windows+X" to open the menu, then select "Device Manager".

Step 2. Expand "IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers". A subset will open, listing the different IDE ATA/ATAPI channels for the computer.

Step 3. Right-click the channel where the appropriate drive is connected, and then click "Properties".

Note: Don't change the Primary IDE Channel, Device 0. Changing the transfer mode of Device 0 may cause computer operating errors.

Step 4. On the "Advanced Settings" tab, uncheck "Enable MDA" in the "Transfer Mode" box for the device that represents the appropriate drive.

Step 5. Then, click "OK" and exit all windows.

Fix I/O device error - change transfer mode

Test the drive and check if the message "the request could not be performed because of an I/O device error" has been removed. 

Method 4. Send for Manual Repair and Fix I/O Device Error

Pros: No data loss.

Cons: Expensive. Possible privacy disclosure.

If none of the methods above helps to remove the I/O device error, you are recommended to send your device for manual repair. To do so, you have three options to try:

Here you may try Qiling manual disk repair and data recovery service: 

Consult with Qiling Data Recovery Experts for one-on-one manual recovery service. We could offer the following services after FREE diagnosis

  • Repair corrupted RAID structure, unbootbale Windows OS and corrupted virtual disk file (.vmdk, .vhd, .vhdx, etc.).
  • Recover/repair lost partition and re-paritioned drive.
  • Unformat hard drive and repair raw drive(Bitlocker encrypted drive)
  • Fix disks that become GPT protected partitions

Method 5. Fix I/O Device Error in Command Prompt

Pros: May work to fix I/O device error.

Cons: High risk of causing data loss.

This option will run the CHKDSK command to check and repair disk errors on the hard drive, USB drive, or other storage devices to fix the I/O device error.

But this option may cause serious data loss. If you tend to try this way out, move to the next part and follow the data recovery guide to scan and restore your precious files in advance. 

Step 1. Press Windows + S keys, type cmd, right-click "Command Prompt" and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 2. Click "Yes" when you are presented to launch the Command Prompt as Administrator.

Step 3. Type chkdsk E: /f /r /x (replace E with the drive letter for your device which contains I/O device error).

Fix I/O device error with chkdsk command

Note: some of you may receive the error message "cannot open the volume for direct access" using CMD, don't worry, and just follow the link to get an immediate fix.

Here is an easier way to repair a corrupted file system.

Qiling CleanGenius is a user-friendly computer fixing tool that is both safe and lightweight. It's a perfect alternative to CHKDSK command. Use this one-click tool to fix the damaged file system easily.

Step 1. DOWNLOAD Qiling CleanGenius on your computer and complete the installation.

Step 2. Run the software. Click "Optimization", and then choose "File Showing" . 

Step 3. Select the drive with a corrupted file system. Tick the "Check and fix file system error" option and click "Execute".

Step 4. Wait the tool performs the repairing task. After that, click the "here" button to check the drive.

The Bottom Line

Although we recommend you recover data from your problematic device when there is data loss after the fix, you can try Deep Data Recovery to recover your files as many as possible if all the solutions fail to fix "the request could not be performed because of an I/O device error".

Related Articles

Is this information helpful?     

What can we do to improve this information? (Optional)
Refresh Please enter the verification code!