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Fix I/O Device Error on External & Internal Hard Drive/USB Drive in Windows 10/8/7

Updated on Jan 11, 2019 by Abby Haines to Resource

Summary

This article introduces 2 reliable solutions to fix I/O device error on external & internal hard drives/USB drives/SD cards in Windows 10/8/7. EaseUS data recovery software is available to recover your data before repairing your device to prevent any data loss.

"I have a 500 GB Western Digital external hard drive. It shows up in disk management and also in Windows Explorer. But when I try to access the subfolders, I get an I/O Device error that says "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error". Is there any I/O device error repair tool or built-in function that fix this issue so I can access my data? I'm using Windows 10."

Everything you need to know about the I/O device error

An I/O Device Error (short for Input/Output Device Error) usually happens on external & internal hard drives, SD cards, SSDs, USB flash drives, CDs, or DVDs while you are trying to read or copy data in Windows 10/8/7. Most times, it will display "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error" message. 

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

I/O device error usually occurs because Windows is trying to use a transfer mode that the hardware device cannot use or there are errors with the disk itself. With these two main reasons in mind, now we can take measures to fix the issue. Depending on the underlying issue, one of these two solutions will be able to fix the error: how to fix I/O device error in command prompt or fix I/O device error by changing the transfer mode for the drive in IDE Channel Properties.

How to fix I/O device error on an external/internal hard drive, USB drive, SSD

first, fix I/O device error in command prompt or by changing the transfer mode for the drive. Second, recover data from I/O device error.

Method 1. Fix I/O device error in Command Prompt

1. Press  "Windows" Key and type: cmd to open the menu, right-click "Command Prompt" and choose 'Run as administrator' option.
2. Click "Yes" when you are presented with a window requesting permission to launch the Command Prompt as Administrator.
3. In the new Command Prompt window, type: chkdsk E: /f /r /x (replace E with the drive letter for your device).

This option will run the chkdsk function to check and repair disk errors on the hard drive, USB drive, or other storage devices to fix I/O device error. And then you will no longer have to deal with the "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error"prompt.  

Method 2. Fix I/O device error by changing the transfer mode in IDE Channel Properties

1. Press Windows+X to open the menu, then select Device Manager.
2. Expand IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. A subset will open, listing the different IDE ATA/ATAPI channels for the computer.
3. Right-click the channel where the appropriate drive is connected, and then click Properties. Typically, this channel is Secondary IDE Channel.
4. On the Advanced Settings tab, 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 request could not be performed because of an I/O device error" message has been removed.

Recover data from I/O device error 

If you have important data on the external hard drive, USB flash drive, or SD card, you should recover your files with EaseUS free data recovery software before fixing the I/O device error. It is the best way to completely prevent data loss in the repair process.

Please notice that when the I/O device error occurs to your hard drive, the drive will show up on your PC but becomes inaccessible.

It's not a disaster but a fixable issue and you can even restore data from the hard drive with I/O device error with tips in the below.

Step 1. Run hard drive recovery software.

  • Launch and run EaseUS hard drive recovery software.
  • Select your hard drive which has I/O error.
  • Click Scan to scan and find your lost data.
Select hard drive to find data from I/O device error.

Step 2. Find data on the hard drive.

Wait for the program to scan and find your lost data from the right tabs:

  • Deleted Files: All your deleted files are listed here.
  • Drive (with your device name): It loads all found data on your drive there.
  • Lost Partition Files: Check first if it's for formatted recovery.
  • Extra Files: Finds all files that lost names or paths on your drive. (It suits your situation the most right now.)
Find lost data from hard drive with i/o error.

Step 3. Recover data from hard drive.

Finally, choose lost files and specify another hard drive on your PC or external storage device to save your data by clicking Recover.

Restore lost hard drive data from i/o error.