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7 Effective methods to Fix I/O Error in USB Drives

Have you encountered an IO error on USB? Here are 7 easy solutions on how to fix them and recover your important data safely from USB drive. Download Remo Recover now to restore your lost or deleted files from USB easily

“I have been facing an error which says “The request could not be performed because of an I/O error” whenever I am trying to access my USB drive I am unable to perform any action. How do I get rid of this problem and fix the IO error on my USB drive?”

Usually if you encounter an IO error it stops your device from functioning normally. You will be unable to access the USB drive and will not allow you to save data on it. However, in this read up we have effective solutions to fix the IO error on your USB flash drive. Before going ahead with solutions, let us firstly understand more about the IO error  

What is an I/O error?

I/O device error stands for Input-Output Error and it occurs when the OS is not able to perform an input-output action making the flash drive inaccessible. It affects the read - write functionalities of USB drives. 

This error can occur with various types of hardware devices such as USB’s, internal and external hard drives, SD cards or even CD/ DVD. The most common I/O error messages are

  • "The request could not be performed because of an I/O error" as mentioned in the above scenario
  • I/O Error codes: error 21, error 103, error 105, error 131
  • "The directory name is invalid" error

Causes for IO error on USB drive

  • Damaged hard-drive device
  • The hardware drivers are corrupt or incompatible
  • Connection issues such as a faulty cable
  • USB controllers have become unstable or corrupt

How Do I Fix IO Device Error on USB??

  1. Check if the cables are connected properly
  2. Fix IO error using Clean Boot
  3. Uninstall and Reinstall USB Controllers
  4. By using Device manager
  5. Update The Device Driver
  6. Fix I/O Device Error USB Flash Drive In Command Prompt
  7. Change The Drive Letter

Note: If in case you have lost any data such as documents, photos or videos click here for the recovery option, before troubleshooting the error. This is recommended because it is your last chance of recovering the data.

Remo Recover is a reliable flash drive recovery utility which can effortlessly restore lost or deleted data from corrupted, damaged or even inaccessible USB. Recover your data from the flash drive with IO error within a matter of 5 clicks. Download now and restore the data with ease.

Check if the Cables are Connected Properly

Make sure that the cable connecting USB to the computer works properly. If the cable is faulty, the drive will not work. Try another cable and also try connecting the USB to another USB port to make sure the port is not defective.

Fix IO error using Clean Boot

  1. Press Windows + R to open Run
  2. Type msconfig and click OKfix IO error on USB drive
  3. On the General tab > Selective Startupfix IO error on USB drive
  4. Clear the Load Startup items and click on the Services tab
  5. Select Hide All Microsoft Services checkbox
  6. Click Disable All
  7. Click Startup tab, and open Task Manager
  8. On the Startup tab, right-click each enabled startup item and select Disable
  9. Click Ok and restart your system

If a clean boot works properly, there may be problems with a driver or program on your computer.

 Reinstall USB Controllers to Fix IO error on USB drive

At times the USB drive option might not be showing up on your computer, this is because of a problem with the USB controllers. By reinstalling the USB controllers you will be able to resolve the I/O error on the computer

  1. Click Windows + X to open the power users menu
  2. Click on Computer Management > Device Manager
  3. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers. Right-click on a device and click Uninstallfix IO error
  4. Repeat for each device and once complete, restart your computer. Your USB controllers will automatically install.

Note - If you are wondering how to fix IO error on external storage devices, click on the given link

Check the Status of the Device in Device Manager

  1. Press Windows + X to open the power users menu and click Computer Management.
  2. Then select Device Manager
  3. Check the status of the USB here to ensure the device is working properly. Device Manager will identify if there is any problem or a software conflict.

Update the Device Driver

  • Firstly, connect the USB flash drive to the PC and then right-click on the option This PC
  • Then choose Manage.
  • Next, you have to click Device Manager and then go to Disk drives. Next, search and right-click the problematic USB flash drive and then simply select the option there Update driver.Update memory card not recognizing driver
  • Now, you have to click the option Search automatically search for driver software online.
  •  You can further open the device to check whether the USB flash drive I/O error still persists after your computer reboots.

Fix I/O Device Error USB Flash Drive In Command Prompt

  1. To access CMD, go to the search bar below and type there cmd to open the menu.
  2. Next, right-click on the ‘Command Prompt’ option and then click ‘Run as administrator’.
  3. Click ‘Yes’ to access the Command Prompt as Administrator.
  4. Next, in the new Command Prompt window, you have to type there chkdsk E: /f /r /x where you can replace E with the drive letter you are using. Once you have replaced the E drive, the IO error on the USB drive usually resolves

Change the Drive Letter

In some cases due to invalid drive letter you might not be able to access the Drive letter, in order to change the drive letter follow the below steps

    1. Go to ‘This PC’ and then right-click and then click on ‘Manage’ and then go to ‘Disk Management’.
    2. Next, you have to right-click the USB flash drive and select ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths’.
    3. Now, click ‘Change’ in the new window and then assign a new drive letter to the USB flash drive and then click ‘OK’.

If this does not solve the problem, there may be an issue with the USB device. If you are being prompted with "Format to access the Drive" or any similar message, learn how to fix a USB drive without formatting. Thus, if you proceed with formatting, it will lead to permanent data loss.

If none of the above methods solve the issue, your USB device may be faulty. It is a good idea to recover data and replace your device.

To recover data from USB with IO error, you will need to make use of a reliable data recovery tool like Remo Recover. With the advanced scan engine which can effortlessly recover your data within a matter of few clicks

There a number of tools available to recover data from inaccessible USB’s. Remo Recover is one of the best tools available. It can recover data from inaccessible and corrupt USB drives. It uses powerful algorithms to scan your drive and recover data.

In addition to USB, it can also be used to retrieve data from USB other storage devices such as external and internal hard drives, memory cards, etc. It is compatible with all versions of Windows OS including Windows 10.

Remo Recover is a simple to use tool with a user-friendly interface. Refer to recover data from unreadable USB for a detailed guide to the recovery process.

Note - If you have deleted or lost files from USB drive check this information on how to recover them.


The article summarizes how to fix IO errors on your USB and recover data residing on the external storage device (USB). if you have any further queries regarding the article ,make use of comment section below

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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