How to Fix the Fatal Device Hardware Error and Recover the Data from It

Jean updated on Oct 13, 2020 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles

When 'The request failed due to a fatal device hardware error' occurs, your HDD, external hard disk or removable disk turns inaccessible. If data values, try to recover data from a fatal error hard drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, and then check solutions hereof one by one to remove the error.

The Request Failed Due to a Fatal Device Hardware Error Scenarios

One of the most common hardware issues happening to Western Digital (WD) and Seagate external hard drive users is the fatal device hardware error, with the exact expression "X: is not accessible. The request failed due to a fatal device hardware error". Sometimes, the fatal error is followed by certain error codes, such as "0x800701E3". Many people have no idea about why their hard drives suddenly stopped and gave such a fatal error message. It's an emergency issue, in fact, because it means your hard drive is dying, and about to put an end to its life. 

the request failed due to a fatal device hardware error

Figure: the request failed due to a fatal device hardware error.

① WD: the request failed due to a fatal device hardware error

"I have a portable WD Passport which connects to my Windows 10 laptop via USB. Lately, whenever I try to access the drive, I get a message which says request failed due to a fatal device hardware error. This is starting to worry me, as I have 767GB data."

② Seagate: the request failed due to a fatal device hardware error

"My Seagate 2TB external hard disk is not working, showing" H:\ is not accessible. The request failed due to a fatal device hardware error" when double-clicking on this. How can I fix this? It's very urgent sir... Reply please ."

What Does Fatal Device Hardware Error Mean?

The error message "The request failed due to a fatal device hardware error" may appear on your computer screen. When you see this error, it means your operating system cannot get access to the hard drive/SSD or unable to perform the read and write operations on it.

Concluding from the factors that lead to a hard drive, external HDD or removable disk to \a fatal device hardware error\, these three are the most commonly seen:

  • USB cable loose connection, or is faulty.
  • Too many bad sectors in the disk.
  • System or hardware fault.

FYI: the error message in DiskPart is read as 'DiskPart has encountered an error: the request failed due to a fatal device hardware error. see the system event log for more information'.

How to Recover Data from Fatal Device Hardware Error

When 'The request failed due to a fatal device hardware error' occurs, your HDD, external hard disk or removable disk turns inaccessible. If data values, try to recover data from a fatal error hard drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free, and then check solutions hereof one by one to remove the error. 

IMPORTANT: It might take a long time for EaseUS data recovery software to scan over a physically damaged hard drive. If the scanning process is not responding or stuck midway, you can jump to the troubleshooting step and then return for a second try!

Step 1. Choose and scan hard drive partition.

On EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, select the hard drive partition where you lost data and click "Scan".

select your hard drive and click scan

Step 2. Preview found hard drive data from the scan result.

When the scan completes, find lost hard drive data in "Deleted Files", "Lost Files". Filter and Search features can also help you access lost files via file types, file names or extensions. Double-click to preview these lost files. 

scan the lost data on the hard drive

Step 3. Recover lost hard drive data.

Select all the lost hard drive files and click the Recover button to save them to another secure location. (You can always choose to preview files before purchasing a license code for a full hard drive data recovery. )

select files and click recover

Five Ways to Fix The Fatal Device Hardware Error

As mentioned before, the hard drive cable, bad sectors and hardware issues are responsible for the error, and the corresponding solutions include:

  1. [1] check the connection
  2. [2] verify the SMART status
  3. [3] check and repair bad sectors
  4. [4] reformat the disk and initialize
  5. [5] Replace the irreparable disk with a new one, at the same time, keeping data.

Fix 1. Check hard drive connection

A loose connection of a hard drive to the system is likely to throw the error message like this, so try to use your hand pressing a little the USB port.

After checking the connection, a must-try is to connect the external hard drive or portable drive to the motherboard USB port, where supplies more stable power. 

At last, go to find a matched but different USB cable. If all attempts come to nothing, you need further troubleshooting behind.

Fix 2. Verify SMART status

Excluding the fault of the hard drive cable and connection, it's time to check the health of the hard drive, to see whether it's damaged or not,  and how severely it damaged by checking the drive's SMART attributes. Here, SMART stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology. You're going to use Windows Management Instrumentation Command-Line (WMIC) as a tool.

This is how to check a hard drive SMART status:

Step 1: Open Windows Command Prompt with the admin privilege (Windows + X keys).

open command prompt with the admin privilege

Step 2: In the elevated command prompt, type wmic diskdrive get status and hit Enter.

Click to copy

Step 3: Usually, the command returns four different status, "OK", "Bad", "Unknown", and "Caution".

  • Ok: Do not worry, try fix 3 and fix 4, you can hopefully restore the hard disk into a normal state.
  • Bad, unknown: Quite pesky. You can still face the error with fix 3,4,5. Meanwhile, data recovery is urgent.
  • Caution: It suggests the hard drive corruptions at a high level, it's better to take immediate measures to minimize the data loss on the hard disk. Fix 5 is definitely the last chance to deal with an irreparable hard disk.

Fix 3. Check and repair bad sectors

Bad sectors are not as horrible as you think unless they are spreading all over the hard disk. We often use the Windows DiskPart utility to check and repair some file system corruptions and hard disk bad sectors, and it's worth a try when facing a majority of hard drive inaccessibility issues.

This is how to run DiskPart command to fix bad errors:

Step 1: Open Windows Command Prompt as taught.

Step 2: Type chkdsk x: /f /r (x represents the drive letter of the hard drive in trouble)

Click to copy

The syntax for check disk:

  • /f fixes system errors
  • /f fixes bad sectors

Step 1. Download, install and run EaseUS Disk Copy on your PC.

Click "Disk Mode" and select the hard drive that you want to copy or clone. Click "Next" to continue.

select the hard drive that you want to clone

Step 2. Select the destination disk.

Note: The destination disk should be at least the same big or even larger than the source disk if you want to copy or clone the source hard disk.

select the destination disk

Step 3. Click "OK" to confirm if the program asks to erase data on the destination disk.

confirm the message

Step 4. Check and edit the disk layout.

If your destination disk is an SSD drive, do remember to Check the option if the target is SSD.

check the diak layout

Step 5. Click "Proceed" to start the hard drive cloning process.

click proceed to start the cloning process

Fix 4. reformat the disk and initialize

If you read the error message "The request failed due to a fatal device hardware error" carefully, you would see an accompanying error message "disk unknown, not initialized". At this moment, you can try to reformat the hard disk and initialize it to MBR or GPT, to fix it alright.

Step 1: In Disk Management, right-click on the hard disk showing as 'unknown not initialized', and choose "Format".

format the drive to fix fatal device hardware error

Step 2: Perform a quick format by selecting a proper file system, like NTFS, FAT32. Click "OK".

Step 3: Still uninitialized? This time right-click on the drive and choose "Initialize Disk".

Step 4: Choose a partition style between MBR or GPT for the selected disk.

initialize disk to fix fatal device hardware error

Fix 5. Replace the hard disk

As mentioned in the beginning, the fatal device hardware error is with physical damage and there is a likelihood beyond repair. Other than struggling to send it for repair, why not save your time and energy to reduce the loss of valuable data? When a hard disk is severely damaged, it makes EaseUS data recovery software very slow to complete the scan. Alternatively, to recover data off from a hard drive with too many bad sectors, use EaseUS Disk Copy. It's a disk/partition copy and cloning software that is able to clone a hard drive with bad sectors, to duplicate data from one drive to another as much as possible.


EaseUS Disk Copy

clone hard drive with fatal device hardware error


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If you don't have any technical know-how and want to minimize data risks, using third-party software could be a better choice. The Command line is suitable for computer professionals since wrong commands can cause severe problems. Therefore, we strongly recommend you try an automatic command line alternative.

EaseUS Tools M is a practical computer fixing tool that is safe and light-weighted. It's a perfect alternative to CHKDSK command. Use this one-click tool to solve your computer issues.

To fix file system error or disk error:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD EaseUS Tools M for Free and install it.

Step 2: Open the software and select the "File showing" option. 

Step 3: Choose the drive and wait for repairing. After the operation completes, click the "View" button to check the drive. 

select the drive and check off file system error


On this page, we discussed what is the request failed due to a fatal device hardware error, common symptoms, and how to recover data when your storage devices are caught by this error. 

If you are trying to remove this error from your storage devices, check out the 5 fixes that we collected above on this page. You'll make your device back to work normally again.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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