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5 Tips to Fix Can't Be Performed Because of an I/O Device Error

Here, 5 solutions for I/O device error: how to fix I/O device error in command prompt and fix I/O device error by changing the transfer mode for the drive in IDE Channel Properties are offered. Try them to fix 'The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error' on external & internal hard drive/USB drive/SD card and recover your data.

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Table of Contents

"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 Errors on Your Own

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

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.


  • "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error" displays.
  • "Only part of a ReadProcessMemory or WriteProcessMemory request was completed.
  • "I/O Error codes: error 6, error 21, error 103, error 105, error 131.


  • Connection issue between your storage devices and PC
  • Outdated device driver Windows is trying to use a transfer mode that the hardware device cannot use
  • Your device is damaged or corrupted and shows as Disk Unknown Not Initialized

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

  1. 1. Stop using the device immediately.
  2. 2. Don't unplug and replug the device too frequently.
  3. 3. Don't try to format, erase, or repartition the device.
  4. 4. Follow the methods provided below one by one to fix this error on your own.

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 essential 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 EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

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

Step 1. Scan the hard drive partition

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

select a location and scan hard drive

Step 2. 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.

Find and preview all lost hard drive data

Step 3. Restore lost hard drive data

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

Restore lost hard drive data.

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:

  • Check if the connection cables are loose, tight it.
  • If the connection cables are broken, change new ones and reconnect the device. 
  • Connect the external hard drive or USB to another port (especially a rear one).
  • If another computer is available, try to connect the same device to another one.

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 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 remove the I/O device error, you should send your device for manual repair. To do so, you have three options to try:

  1. #1. Contact the device manufacture and send the disk for repair.
  2. #2. Send device for manual repair at a local repair center.
  3. #3. Customize manual device repair and data recovery service.

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

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

  • Repair corrupted RAID structure, unbootable Windows OS and corrupted virtual disk file (.vmdk, .vhd, .vhdx, etc.)
  • Recover/repair lost partition and re-partitioned 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 the 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 an 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 follow the link to get an immediate fix.

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

EaseUS 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 EaseUS CleanGenius on your computer and complete the installation.

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

select the file showing option

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

fix file system

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

fix file system

The Bottom Line

Although we recommend you recover data from your problematic device when there is data loss after the fix, you can try EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard 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".

The Request Could Not Be Performed I/O Error FAQs

If you still have problems with I/O error, read the following questions and answers to get additional help.

1. What does an I O device error mean?

An I/O device error, short for Input/Output device error, occurs when Windows can't perform an input/output action. It can occur to many different types of hardware devices or media.

2. How do I fix I/O device error on a hard drive?

You can fix HDD not initialized i/o device error with the steps below:

Step 1. Press Win+R > Type: diskpart and hit Enter.

Step 2. Type: list disk and hit Enter.

Step 3. Type: select disk n and hit Enter; (replace n with the drive letter of an uninitialized external hard drive.)

Step 4. Type: clean and hit Enter.

3. Why does I/O error occur?

Here are the reasons:

  • Virus attack
  • Bad sectors
  • Partition Loss
  • File system corruption
  • Corrupted Master Boot Record (MBR)

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech lives easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. In her spare time, she loves sharing things about her game experience on Facebook or Twitter.

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Approved by Evan Galasso

Evan Galasso is a digital forensics and data recovery engineer with over 10 years of experience in the field. He presents opinions on the current state of storage media, reverse engineering of storage systems and firmware, and electro-mechanical systems of SSDs and HDDs.

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