Easy methods to Repair a Disk I/O Error in Home windows

How often do you take offline backups of your important files? Monthly? Once a year? Here's another question: how often do you check that these backups are still working? I recently decided to do it. When I plugged my external drive into my laptop, one popped up I / O device failure.


I couldn't access the drive right away. My heart sank. Nearly ten years worth of photos were lost.

But all is not lost. Here are five ways to troubleshoot an I / O device failure without losing files.

What is an I / O device failure?

Iinput /ÖOutput device errors are quite common. This is usually a hardware problem, e.g. B. a faulty cable, a fault with your hard drive or SSD or an incorrectly configured driver. There are more than a few different methods that you can use to troubleshoot an I / O device failure. Better still, most of these corrections only take a few moments and are fairly easy to make.

1. Restart your computer

Before you begin troubleshooting any I / O devices, be sure to try one out first. Reboot your system and try again. A reboot can fix a number of errors without the need for anything complicated or time-consuming. If the I / O device error persists, continue with the other fixes.

2. Check your cables and connections

The first thing to do before you worry is simply to adjust the cables. Reconnect the cables connecting your external drive to your computer. Do this on both ends. If you're using a USB flash drive, try disconnecting and reinserting the connection, and then try again.

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If it doesn't work, try another USB cable and try again. Unsure if the cable is good or not? Connect the cable to another external device and connect it to your system. If it works, you know the cable is good.

3. Try an alternative USB port

If the USB cable works but changing the USB cable does not resolve the I / O device error, try an alternate port.

Most modern systems have more than one USB port because so many devices rely on a USB connection. Also, check that your USB ports are clean. If it is dusty or dirty, tap it lightly to remove any remaining lint, then try again.

4. Run CHKDSK and SFC

While I / O device errors are caused by hardware, we can try to fix the problem using a built-in system tool. The chkdsk The tool checks file systems and fixes file system errors.

Press Windows key + X. To open the quick access menu, select Command prompt (admin). Don't worry if the command prompt option no longer exists (replaced by PowerShell). Just complete a search in the start menu command promptRight click and choose Execute as administrator.

Next, enter chkdsk / f / r / x (your drive letter here) and press Enter. The scan can take a while, especially if there are many areas in need of repair.

Command prompt chkdsk fix sectors

If CHKDSK does not return any errors, you can switch to Windows System File Check (SFC), another built-in system tool.

However, before you run the SFC command, you need to verify that it is working properly. For this purpose we use the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool or DISM.

Like SFC, DISM is a built-in Windows utility with a wide variety of functions. In this case, the DISM Restorehealth command will ensure that our next fix is ​​working properly.

Follow the steps below.

  1. Art Command Prompt (Admin) in the search bar of the start menu. Then right click and choose Execute as administrator to open an elevated command prompt.

  2. Type the following command and press Enter: DISM / online / cleanup-image / restorehealth

  3. Wait for the command to complete. The process can take up to 20 minutes, depending on the system status. The process seems to get stuck at certain times, but wait for it to complete.

  4. When the process is complete, enter sfc / scannow and press Enter.

5. Update the device driver

Another option to troubleshoot a hard drive I / O failure is to update the device driver. Windows 10 should keep updating all drivers. Sometimes drivers slip through the net.

entrance Device manager Select the best match from the search bar on your Start menu. Device Manager contains information about all devices on your computer. From here you can update individual drivers for specific hardware. In this case, you can update the driver for your storage device and fix the hard disk I / O error.

Device Manager Update Driver

  1. Choose Drives to unfold the options. Right click on the drive with the I / O device error and select Update driver.

  2. Choose Automatically check for updated driver software. The process begins by checking for driver updates both online and offline.

  3. If there is an update available, install it and restart your system.

Update your system

You can also check for system updates pending installation. Press Windows Key + I.then go to Update & Security> Windows Update. Download and install pending updates.

6. Change your drive letter

A quick solution to the I / O drive failure is to change the drive letter for the storage hardware. If for some reason Windows doesn't assign a letter to the drive, an I / O hard drive failure is one of the errors you may encounter. You can use the Computer Management System Tool to assign a new drive letter to the drive.

Change the drive letter for computer management

  1. entrance Computer management Select the best match from the search bar on your Start menu.

  2. Go to Storage> Disk Management in the left column.

  3. Right click on the drive with the I / O hard disk failure and select Change drive letters and paths > Change.

  4. Assign a new drive letter using the drop-down list and press OK.

Restart your computer and try to access the drive again.

7. Use Speccy to check the health of the drive

If the two simple fixes don't work, we can check the overall health of the hard drive using the free Speccy system specification program.

Download: Speccy for Windows 10 (free)

Select in the left column campand scroll down to find the appropriate drive. They are usually well labeled. Scroll down to CLEVER Drive Specifications Table.

Speccy Windows 10 check the health of the drive

SMART stands for Self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology. The integrated hard drive monitoring system reports on various hard drive health attributes. As you can see, Speccy gives each monitoring metric a rating. You need to check the following metrics:

  • 05: Number of newly assigned sectors
  • 0A: Spin Retry Account
  • C4: number of reassignment events
  • C5: Current number of outstanding sectors
  • C6: uncorrectable number of sectors

Do you want a surprising fact? A Google study found that the drive was average for the 60 days after the first uncorrectable drive failure 39 times more likely to fail than a similar drive with no errors.

To be fair, the Google study also concludes that S.M.A.R.T ratings are of limited use in predicting impending drive failures – but can still provide a good general indication of drive health. With that in mind, if any of the above metrics show errors (or many errors in multiple metrics), you should seriously consider backing up everything and swapping the drive.

This doesn't necessarily fix your I / O device input error immediately. But it could indicate what's going on.

No more I / O device errors

One of the above fixes will fix your I / O device error and allow you to access your data again.

An I / O device failure isn't always the end of the line with a hard drive. However, it's a good indicator that something is going on. In many cases, it's not worth waiting to find out if the mistake is the start of something more sinister.

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About the author

Gavin Phillips
(593 articles published)

Gavin is the Junior Editor for Windows and Technology Explained, contributing regularly to the Really Useful Podcast, and was the Editor for MakeUseOf's crypto-focused sister site Blocks Decoded. He has a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Writing Using Digital Art Practices Looted from the Devon Hills, as well as over a decade of writing experience. He enjoys plenty of tea, board games, and soccer.

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