[TOPIC] What to do when an HDD shows “Parameter is incorrect”?

When you try to use an external HDD, SSD, and USB memory, you insert them into a USB port and suddenly you would get an error saying “E: \ (drive) cannot be accessed. The parameter is incorrect”, and the device would not be recognized. This error is shown when there is a problem with a drive, and if something goes wrong with something other than the main disk, such as an external drive, USB stick, or a second or more internal disk. If there is a problem with the main drive for booting, an OS itself will not boot. Let’s calmly deal with this situation by following the procedure introduced this content.


  1. 1. What is the cause of the error that “Parameter is incorrect” is displayed?
  2. 2. What to do if a message “Parameter is incorrect” appears while using an HDD?
  3. 3. How to prevent “wrong parameter” error?
  4. 4. Conclusion

・1. What is the cause of the error that “Parameter is incorrect” is displayed?
This error means that partition table parameters are incorrect in a disk or a USB stick. The main causes are poor contact during disk access and data corruption due to a USB insertion and removal during access. A “partition table” is like a table of contents in a disk or a USB memory. This error occurs when the table is corrupted or unreadable and a PC cannot recognize what data is in it. At that time, the internal data is usually normal, so if you can modify the partition table correctly, it is highly possible that you can recover your data.

・2. What to do if a message “Parameter is incorrect” appears while using an HDD?
First, turn off the power of a PC. And then disconnect a USB connector to which an HDD or SSD are connected, and reconnect firmly. This is not because there is a problem with the partition table, but because of poor contact of the cable or connector. It may be temporarily unable to read and an error message may be displayed. Try connecting again and then turning on the power. If it loads normally without any error, it is a temporary problem and you do not have to worry too much. However, it is recommended that you make a backup of the disk data just in case. If the same error continues appearing even after checking the connection with the HDD or SSD, it is possible that there is a problem with the partition table, or there is a larger problem such as a bad sector.
In this case, although specialized knowledge is required, you can use the standard Windows “chkdsk (*)” command to diagnose the disk, or use a partition table repair tool called “TestDisk” to repair it. If you can use the chkdsk command (if the drive is visible on an OS and you can right-click → Properties → Tools), you can run this command to automatically repair file system errors and scan for bad sectors. There is a possibility of recovery.
*If there is a physical failure, data damage may increase. Execute this only if you know that there is no abnormal noise and an HDD is in good health.
It is said that errors caused by partition table corruption can be almost repaired by running free software called “TestDisk”, which is a partition repair tool. However, if a sector of the disk itself is damaged, you are unlikely to be able to recover your data. Although these tools may help you fix an error, the chances of losing some or all of your data are not zero. Do it at your own risk, or consult an HDD or SSD repair specialist if you are not confident. Even a specialist can take several days just for checking all the data to fix this error. In some cases, it can cost tens of thousands of yen or more, so be sure to have a detailed diagnosis first and then check the cost of repair before making a request.

・3. How to prevent “wrong parameter” error?
The most common cause of this error is corruption of the partition table due to a sudden loss of connection while accessing the drive. It is important to always execute the “Remove Hardware” command of the PC to completely stop access to the external HDD, SSD, and USB memory before removing them. Even if it doesn’t seem to be accessing, it may be accessing automatically. Also, for the same reason, try to avoid forcibly turning off the power of your PC as much as possible.

・4. Conclusion
The “wrong parameter” error is one of the most difficult phenomena to repair related to disks and it occurs relatively frequently. If you face this error, try the steps introduced here. However, if you are not confident that you do it by yourself, consult a specialist as soon as possible. If you want to surely rescue the data stored in an HDD, SSD, and USB memory, asking specialists are still safer. In addition, in order to prevent such errors and avoid data loss in unlikely events, it is important to handle HDDs and SSDs according to the correct procedure and to make frequent backups. Be sure to back up important files to another location.

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