> I/O Device Error

What Is I/O Device Error? How Do I Fix I/O Device Error?

I cannot access my external hard drive and receive the following error message: "Drive is not accessible. The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error." (Picture below)

Drive is not accessible. The request could not be performed because of an IO device error

Now, what should I do? What is an I/O device error? Can I fix this error effectively? What's more, is it possible to fix "the request could not be performed because of an I/O device error" without data loss?

Are you still worrying about I/O device error? Now, you can read this post to find reliable solutions to fix I/O device error on external & internal hard drive/USB drive/SD card in Windows.

Part 1: Overview of I/O Device Error

What Is An I/O Device Error?

An I/O device error (short for Input/Output device error) happens when Windows is not able to perform an input/output action (such as reading or copying data) when it is trying to access a drive or disk. And, this error can occur with different types of hardware devices or media such as external hard drive, SD card, USB flash drive, and CD&DVD discs. Note: sometimes, An I/O Device Error May Occur When You Access the Floppy Disk Drive in Windows XP Service Pack 1.

Reasons for I/O Device Error

  • This plugged storage device is incorrectly connected. PC cannot detect your connected device normally.
  • The computer USB port or USB card reader is damaged or broken.
  • The computer storage device drive is outdated, damaged or incompatible with your attached device.
  • The external hard drive, memory card or USB drive is recognized with a wrong drive letter.
  • The external hard drive, memory card or USB drive that you are trying to access is dirty or damaged.
  • Windows is trying to use a transfer mode that the hardware device cannot use.

Common Symptoms of "I/O Device Error" Issues

In general, you will get the following message if your storage device unexpectedly gets the I/O device error issue:

  • "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error."
  • "I/O error 32", "I/O error 21" or the similar "I/O error + codes".
  • "Only part of a read process memory request was completed" or "Only part of a write process memory request was completed".

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As a matter of fact, no matter why and how you get the I/O device error message, you are strongly encouraged to transfer data from your drive before fixing this issue, for all of the files and data stored on this drive are at risk of being lost permanently. (Note: If you don't care about data, you can overlook this step.) However, how to get lost data back from this damaged drive effectively?

Part 2: Recover Data from Drive with I/O Device Error

How to recover data from drive with I/O device error without affecting the original data? MiniTool Power Data Recovery is recommended here!

  • All-in-one and read-only free data recovery software.
  • Excellent data recovery effect and great reliability.
  • Detailed instructions guide users to complete data recovery successfully.
  • Over 2,000,000 users download this tool from CNET.
  • Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 (R2), and Windows Server 2012.

In a word, with MiniTool Power Data Recovery, you can easily and quickly recover lost data without bringing any damage to the original data because of its high security, excellent performance and simple operations. Next, let's see the detailed steps of data recovery.

Step-by-step Guide to Recovering Data from Drive with I/O Device Error
Prepare work:
1) Connect your drive to computer.
2) Download MiniTool Power Data Recovery.
3) Install it on drive. WARNING: Do not install Power Data Recovery on the drive containing lost data. Otherwise, the original data could be overwritten and there is no way to recover them.

Step 1. Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery, and then select Damaged Partition Recovery.

damaged partition recovery

Power Data Recovery is equipped with five functional modules:

  • Undelete Recovery is capable of recovering deleted files emptied from the Windows Recycle Bin and files deleted by using Shift & Delete keys.
  • Damaged Partition Recovery can help recover data from existing partition. It is capable of retrieving data from formatted partition, raw partition, and damaged partition. In general, as long as the partition exists, you can recover lost data by using this module. For instance, you can use this feature to recover data from drive showing 0 bytes.
  • Lost Partition Recovery is designed for data recovery from hard drive including mistakenly deleted partitions, and drives without partition table because of virus attack.
  • Digital Media Recovery can help users recover photo files, music files and video files from storage devices such as memory card and USB flash disk.
  • CD/DVD Recovery recovers lost and deleted files from damaged, scratched or defective CD and DVD discs.

Step 2. Select the drive you want to recover, and then click Full Scan button to scan the entire device sector by sector to furthest find desired data.

full scan

Note: You can click Settings feature to make the program scan needed files only by file systems and file types. For example, if you just want to recover pictures or photos, you can check the option "Graphics & Picture", as shown below.


Step 3. Check all needed files, and then click Save button to store them on a safe place.


1. Before recovering files, you can preview the attributes of the selected file: apart from thumbnail, attributes such as file name and file size of the selected file will emerge on the right side. What's more, you can preview photos before saving.


2. Find: this feature makes it possible to find a specified file directly as long as users remember the file name. For example, if you know the lost file is named with DSC_0016, you can type DSC_0016 and then click "Find" to locate the file directly.


3. Filter: filter out needless data by file name, file size, creation time, and so on. This feature is very useful when the name of found file has been changed. For instance, if you only want to recover word documents, you can choose "*.doc, *.xls, *ppt" to filter out "*.zip, *.wav, *.jpg" and other types of files.

4. Export Scan Result: after scan, we can export all scanning results to a specified place, which makes it possible to load previous results without rescanning.

Thus, all work has been done. In general, in addition to recovering data from drive with I/O device error, this tool can also help to solve other data loss issues. For instance, it can recover data from drive whose parameter is incorrect.

note Note: the free edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery can only recover 1GB data. Therefore, if you want to recover more, you had better choose personal edition.

After recovering lost data, let's see how to fix the external hard drive I/O error.

Part 3: 6 Methods to Fix The "I/O Device Error" Problem

Solution 1: Ensure the storage device connection is working correctly

As we've mentioned above, this "I/O device error" problem can be caused by wrong connection. Therefore, you should check the USB connection. Disconnect the storage medium, and connect it with another USB port or USB cable, USB adaptor or USB card reader. You can read your desired information as usual if this is caused by faulty connection.

Solution 2: Download, install or update your device driver

If the computer storage device drive is outdated, damaged or incompatible with your attached device, you will receive the error message: "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error."
Now, to solve this issue, you should download, install or update your device driver, and then disconnect this device and try it again on your computer to see whether it can be detected well there.

Solution 3: Change drive letter

As we know, if the external drive is detected with a wrong drive letter, you can get the error "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error." Now, you can change drive letter to fix this issue. However, do you know how to change a drive letter without affecting the original data? MiniTool Partition Wizard, a free, simple and professional partition magic, is recommended here.
Step 1. Download and install MiniTool Partition Wizard, and then launch it.
Step 2. Select the drive and choose "Change Drive Letter" feature from the action panel.
Step 3: Choose a drive letter from the list. Click "OK" to go back to the main interface.
Step 4: Click "Apply" button to perform this operation.

assign drive letter

Solution 4: Check and repair disk errors on drive

You can Run Check Disk from a Command Line to Check for and fix Disk Errors, and then you will no longer be bothered with "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error" message.

1) Open the command prompt. Note: you have to run CHKDSK commands as an administrator to have the necessary privileges to execute the scan.
2) Type "chkdsk /f x:" into the command prompt and press Enter. The letter "x" should be replaced with the letter name of the drive you'd like to run the scan on.
3) Finally, type "exit" and press Enter.

Solution 5: Change the transfer mode for the drive in IDE channel properties

Windows cannot transfer data from the drive to the computer if the transfer mode for the drive was changed or was incorrect. Follow these steps to change the transfer mode to fix this problem.

1) Press Start button.
2) Right click This Computer or My Computer.
3) Select Manage.
4) Select Device Manager.
5) Expand IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. You will see a list containing various IDE ATA/ATAPI channels for your PC.
6) Right-click the channel where the external drive is connected, and then click Properties. Typically, the channel that is usually used for external hard drives is Secondary IDE Channel.
7) Select PIO Only option in the box labeled Transfer Mode for the device representing your external hard drive on the tab labeled Advanced Settings. Usually, this is Device 0. Close all windows after clicking OK button.
8) Restart computer and check the drive.

Solution 6: Format the hard drive

If all above solutions cannot help you, you can try formatting your hard drive. If you don't know how to format hard drive with ease, you can try MiniTool Partition Wizard because its concise interface and guidance will lead you to format drive easily and quickly.

Note: If formatting also does not work, your drive must be seriously damaged. In this case, you have no choice but to replace it with a new one.

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Bottom Line

Have you ever encountered this message: "The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error"? Now, you can try the above 6 solutions to fix this I/O device error. However, if this drive contains important data, you had better recover lost data at first.
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If you have any question about data recovery with MiniTool Power Data Recovery, please feel free to contact us via [email protected]