Recently a lot of people encounter the The request failed due to a fatal device hardware error message as they attempt to access or open an external disk or hard drive from their computer.

If you happen to be in the same boat, don’t worry. Here are five fixes that have helped users resolve the issue. Just work your way down until you find the one that does the trick for you.

Fix 1: Check hardware connection

This error could happen if the external drive is not properly connected to your computer someway or other. So it’s important that you look into the hardware issues first. Below is a couple of hardware troubleshooting steps you can try.

  • Re-plug in the external drive. Or, if you have a different port, switch to the different one.
  • Check to see if the hard drive connection cable is tight. If it’s loose, tight the cable. If it’s too old or broken, change a new one.
  • Try to connect the external drive to a different computer.

If you’ve tried the steps above and the error indeed disappears, then congrats you’ve resolved the problem! But if you have ruled out connection problems as the culrpit, please try Fix 2, below.

Fix 2: Verify the SMART status

SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) is a technology found inside HDDs and SSDs. It is used to monitor the health status of external drives. Since Windows has the feature built in, you can use it to analyze your hard drive/SSD.

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and type cmd. Right-click on Command Prompt as it pops up and click Run as administrator.
  2. Click Yes if prompted to give UAC permissions to proceed.
  3. In the Command Prompt window, type wmic diskdrive get status and press Enter.
  4. You’ll be returned one of the following analysis results:
    • OK. This suggests your external hard drive is in a healthy condition. You can follow Fix 3 to continue the troubleshooting.
    • Bad, or Caution. Your hard disk is having an imminent failure. The fixes provided in this article may work for you; but if they don’t, we advise you that you take your hard drive to a maintenance store for repair.
    • Unknown. The command is having difficulty analyzing the status of the hard drive. So it remains unknown whether your hard drive is facing an issue. If you suspect there is a potential failure with your hard drive, you can follow the fixes below to see if they solve the problem. If it’s no joy, we advise you that you take your hard drive to a maintenance store for repair.

Fix 3: Update the disk drive driver

This problem may occur if you are using the wrong disk drive driver or it’s out of date. So you should update your disk drive driver to see if it fixes your problem. If you don’t have the time, patience or skills to update the driver manually, you can do it automatically with Driver Easy.

Driver Easy will automatically recognize your system and find the correct drivers for it. You don’t need to know exactly what system your computer is running, you don’t need to be troubled by the wrong driver you would be downloading, and you don’t need to worry about making a mistake when installing. Driver Easy handles it all.

You can update your drivers automatically with either the FREE or the Pro version of Driver Easy. But with the Pro version it takes just 2 steps (and you get full support and a 30-day money back guarantee):

  1. Download and install Driver Easy.
  2. Run Driver Easy and click the Scan Now button. Driver Easy will then scan your computer and detect any problem drivers.
  3. Click Update All to automatically download and install the correct version of all the drivers that are missing or out of date on your system (this requires the Pro version – you’ll be prompted to upgrade when you click Update All).

    Note: You can do it for free if you like, but it’s partly manual.
  4. Don’t forget to restrat your computer for the changes to take effect.
  5. Check to see if the The request failed due to a fatal device hardware error is resolved. If yes, then great! If the error persists, don’t worry. Here are a few more fixes for you to try.

Fix 5: Change the drive letter

Every external disk connected to your computer is assigned a drive letter. It is possible that there’s a conflict with certain disks, which might prevent the system from accessing the data, hence the error. So you can try assigning a different letter for your hard drive.

Here are the steps:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and R at the same time to bring up the Run box, then type diskmgmt.msc into the box and click OK.
  2. In Disk Management, right-click on the faulty drive and select Change Drive Letter and Paths….
  3. Click Change….
  4. Choose a different letter for your hard drive, then click OK to confirm.
  5. Once finished, check if you can assess the hard drive content properly.

Still no joy? Please move on to Fix 5, below.

Fix 5: Run chkdsk command

The chkdsk command is a built-in Windows utility that scans the hard drive for logical and physical errors and fix them if it finds any. So you should run chkdsk command to see if it helps mitigate the issue.

“/f” is for fixing disk errors; “/r” is for locatingbad sectors and “/x” is for forcing the volume to dismount first when necessary.

Here is how to do it:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and type cmd. Right-click on Command Prompt as it pops up and click Run as administrator.
  2. Click Yes if prompted to give UAC permissions to proceed.
  3. In the Command Prompt window, type chkdsk *: /f /r /x and press Enter.
    * represents the letter of the problematic disk.
    The command will start to scan and repair possible errors.
  4. Once finished, restart your computer.
  5. Check to see if the error message is solved.

If all else fails, it’s probable that your hard drive is experiencing some potentially serious damages. You’d better leave it in professional hands to tackle the problem.


That’s it – hopefully this post helped. If you have any questions, ideas or suggestions, you’re more than welcome to leave us a comment below.

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