Fix I/O Device Error USB / SSD/ HDD [Quickly]

If you’re seeing the error the request could not be performed because of an I/O device error, it means that you are having an issue with your external storage media such as USB flash drives, SD cards, pen drives, CDs, memory cards, external hard drive, etc. If you have valuable information contained within the hard drive, flash drive, pen drive, and more, we know how important it is for you to gain access to them again. 

We have come up with 5 proven methods that will help you gain access to your information-containing external storage media. We suggest using method 1: Check the Connection first. It’s the quickest and can tell you whether or not it’s a PC issue or an issue with your external storage device. 

What Is The I/O Device Error?

The I/O device error is a message that pops up when your computer is having issues accessing the filed located on your external storage device. It may not be able to perform any type of input or output action, such as copying data or reading it, while trying to access the device. 

How to Fix The I/O Device Error

Fixing the I/O device error is a delicate process as you don’t want to ruin any of the information you have stored on your external device. It can occur on a multitude of devices for various reasons such as: 

The device is incorrectly connected
The USB port or card reader is damaged
The device driver is outdated, damaged, or isn’t compatible with your device
The external device is recognized with the incorrect drive letter
The external device that you are trying to use is damaged or dirty
Windows is trying to transfer files that the external device can’t use

As you can see, there are many reasons why your external storage device isn’t working properly. The methods below should be used with caution and done very carefully the methods are easy to perform, but a simple mistake could cost you all the valuable information you may need. Here’s how to fix the I/O device error: 

Check the connection
Change the drive letter
Update or reinstall the driver
Change the transfer mode
Use Command Prompt
Send the PC to be fixed

Method 1: Check the Connection

This is the first thing you should do before any other action is performed. If you have another PC, we suggest trying the external device on it. This will rule out an issue with the port you are trying to use. If it’s an SD card, try another SD slot. If it’s a USB port, try another one, and so on. 

Alternatively, if you are trying to use a USB cable with your external device, swap out one cable for another one to rule out a faulty USB cord. If the issue persists, continue to the next method.   

Method 2: Change the Drive Letter

As mentioned above, the I/O device could be recognized with the wrong drive letter. Many users have been able to solve the I/O device error by simply changing their drive letters. You can change the letter of a USB, SD card, or hard drive within Disk Management: 

Windows 10

Right-click on the Start icon
Select Disk Management

Windows 8

Press Win+R
Type diskmgmt.msc
Click OK

Windows 7

Right-click on the My Computer icon
Select Manage

Windows Vista

Open the Start menu
Type Computer Management
Hit Enter

Windows XP

Click Start
Click Control Panel
Choose Administrative Tools
Select Computer Management

For these operating systems, once you are in the disk management section, here’s how to assign a new letter: 

Right-click on the external device you want to change
Choose Change Drive Letter and Paths
In the pop-up windows, click Change
Assign the new drive letter 
Click OK

Method 3: Update or Reinstall the Driver

A driver that may be outdated or corrupt can create issues such as the I/O device error related to your external storage device. You can update or reinstall the driver in just a few simple steps: 

Before you do anything, you will need to access Device Manager on your PC: 

Windows 10

Click Win+R on your keyboard
Type devmgmt.msc
Click enter

Windows 8

Simultaneously click Win+R
Type devmgmt.msc
Click OK

Windows 7

Click Start
Select Control Panel
Choose System and Security
Choose Device Manager

Windows Vista

Click Start
Choose Control Panel
Click on System ad Maintenance
Select Device Manager

Windows XP

Click on Start
Choose Control Panel
Select Performance and Maintenance
Choose System
On the Hardware tab, select Device Manager

Once in the Device Manager, follow these steps: 

Connect the external device you need to gain access to
Expand Disk Drives
Right-click on the problematic drive
Select Update Driver
Choose to search automatically for driver software online
Once the driver is updated, reboot your computer 

To Reinstall

Connect the external device you need to gain access to
Expand Disk Drives
Right-click on the problematic drive
Click Delete
Reboot the computer

When you delete a driver, it will automatically reinstall once you restart your computer. 

Method 4: Change the Transfer Mode

If your device doesn’t support the transfer mode it is trying to use, it will give you the I/O device error. To remove this error, all you need to do is change the transfer mode by performing the following actions: 

Open your Device Manager following the steps in method 2
Expand the IDe ATA/ATAPI controllers
Right-click the channel where the drive is connected
Click Properties
Usually, the channel you want is Secondary IDE Channel
On Advanced Settings select PIO Only in the Transfer Mode box for the connected device-typically Device 0
Click OK
Exit all windows
Test the drive

Method 5: Use Command Prompt

A lot of issues with your PC can be solved directly through Command Prompt. The chkdsk function will check and repair errors on your external storage devices to fix the I/O device error. You can fix your I/O device error by utilizing this tool and performing the following steps: 

In your PCs search bar, type Command Prompt
Right-click and Run as Administrator
Click Yes
In the window, type chkdsk E: /f /r /x (replace E with the proper drive letter for the device)
Restart your computer and try the device once more

Final Words

If all of the above methods have failed, you may have to consider sending your device to get repaired. Unfortunately, your device may have suffered some serious damage. We hope, however, that you were able to fix the I/O device error with ease. If not, don’t risk damaging it more. Send it out to recover your important information.