[9 Ways] How to Fix "The parameter is incorrect." on External Hard Drives

Encountered the error "Location is not available. Drive is not accessible. The parameter is incorrect."? How to fix "the parameter is incorrect external hard drive" in Windows 11/10? Read the following post and get 9 easy and effective solutions!


By Phoebe / Updated on March 20, 2024

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Overview of "The parameter is incorrect." error on external hard drives


Just removed the old Western Digital My Book 5 TB external hard drive. Connected it to my desktop PC and when I double click on the drive letter I just see: "H:\ is not accessible. The parameter is incorrect." I don't need anything on the hard drive - will a quick format fix this or should I fix this some other way?"

- Question from Hard Forum

When you connect an external hard drive to your computer and try to access it through File Explorer, you may encounter an error message stating: "Location is not available. *:\ is not accessible. The parameter is incorrect." This problem is often puzzling and may appear unexpectedly, leaving users wondering about potential solutions.

But what exactly does this error mean and why does it happen?

The parameter is incorrect external hard drive error vaguely indicates that there may be a potential problem with the settings or parameters associated with the external hard drive. Unfortunately, it doesn't provide specific details about the root cause of the problem. Several factors can cause this error, including a failed USB connection, damaged or corrupted file system, presence of bad sectors, virus infection, power failure, or driver issues.

In addition to encountering error messages, you may also find yourself unable to access the affected partition on your external hard drive. This means you won't be able to use File Explorer or Disk Management to view files, copy data, or perform any operations on the drive. Also, in some cases, an external hard drive showing the error may become unresponsive or display sluggish behavior when trying to access it. Although it is recognized by the computer, you may experience delays or extended times when trying to read or write data on the drive.


Preparation: Recover data from the external hard drive

When your external hard drive encounters the "external hard drive the parameter is incorrect" error, accessing your precious data seems like an impossible task. Before diving into troubleshooting, it is crucial to prioritize data recovery to prevent potential losses. AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is a reliable solution for this task and is known for its effectiveness in retrieving files from various storage devices.

Comprehensive Recovery: Retrieve data lost due to formatting, deletion, virus attack, and other reasons from various external hard drive brands including Buffalo, WD, Seagate, Toshiba, Samsung, Lacie, Silicon, ADATA, and More.
Multi-Functional Recovery Options: Whether your data loss is due to deletion, formatting, RAW issues, or other situations, it offers comprehensive recovery capabilities.
Supports various storage devices: In addition to external hard drives, the software can also recover data from SD cards, USB flash drives, memory cards, digital cameras, and camcorders to meet the needs of different users.
Wide Compatibility: Compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7 operating systems, ensuring seamless integration with modern and legacy systems alike.
Extensive file type and file system support: Compatible with more than 200 file types and file systems, including photos, videos, documents, audio, etc., ensuring no data is missed.

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Step 1. Launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional and navigate to "Recovery" > "Recover Data" in the main tab.


Step 2. The software will automatically start the recovery process and prepare to scan the lost or deleted files.

Step 3. Select the specific external drive from which you want to recover data and click on "Start Scan" to start the scanning process.


Step 4. After the scan is completed, all deleted or lost files will be displayed. Use the filter or search functions to find the files you need. Select the files you want to recover and click the "Recover ** files" button.


Step 5. Specify the path to the destination folder on your PC to store the recovered data and click "Select Folder".


Step 6. The recovery process will start and upon successful completion, the recovered data will be saved to the specified path. Click "OK" when prompted.


By following these simple steps, you can efficiently recover deleted or lost data from the external hard drive. Furthermore, in case of accidental partition loss, the software also provides the lost partition recovery solution.

How to fix the parameter is incorrect external hard drive

After successfully retrieving data from the device, you need to resolve the underlying issue causing "the parameter is incorrect external hard drive" error and restore the usability of the external hard drive, USB drive, or memory card. Please follow the following methods to effectively troubleshoot and resolve errors:

Way 1. Reconnect the external hard drive

This method is to rule out connecting-related issues. To eliminate connection-related issues:

♦ Make sure the external hard drive is properly connected to your computer.

♦ If using a USB hub, connect the disk directly to a USB port on your computer.

♦ Try using a different USB cable or USB port.

♦ Consider connecting the external hard drive to another computer.

♦ Restart your computer and check if the error persists.

Way 2. Assign a new letter

Sometimes the "external hard drive not accessible the parameter is incorrect" error can be caused by the assigned drive letter. Please follow these steps to assign a new drive letter:

Step 1. Right-click the "Start" icon to open the quick access menu.

Step 2. Select "Disk Management" from the list.

Step 3. Click on the relevant external hard drive.

Step 4. Choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths...".


Step 5. Click "Change" and select an unused drive letter from the drop-down list.


Step 6. Click "OK" to save changes.


Restart your computer to ensure the changes take effect.

Way 3. Perform virus scan

If you suspect a virus infection, perform a thorough virus scan using antivirus software to detect and eliminate any malware.

Way 4. Run SFC scan

Another parameter is incorrect external hard drive fix is to use the System File Checker (SFC) tool to scan for bad sectors and repair corrupted system files:

Step 1. Enter "cmd" in the search box, right-click "Windows Command Prompt", and select "Run as administrator".

Step 2. Input "SFC /scannow" and press "Enter".

Step 3. Type "exit" to close the command prompt after the scan is complete.


Restart your PC and reconnect the external drive to check the resolution.

Way 5. Run CHKDSK

If the previous method failed, the external drive may have an internal disk error. Follow these steps to use the "chkdsk" command to check a hard drive and possibly fix the problem.

Step 1. Enter "cmd" in the search box, right-click "Windows Command Prompt", and select "Run as administrator".

Step 2. Type "chkdsk g: /f /r /x" and press "Enter". (Replace "g" with the exact letter of the external hard drive you cannot access.)


Restart the computer and try to access the drive.

Way 6. Check the drive for health

Running both SFC scan and CHKDSK commands may be challenging for Windows beginners. Mistaken operations can cause severe consequences as well. Instead, you can check the health of your external hard drive to identify potential problems such as bad sectors or a damaged file system. Once found out the disk health issues, you can fix them in time to improve the device's performance.

You are recommended to use the AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro discussed above. This disk health analyst allows all users even the beginners to check the drive for health and fix the parameter is incorrect Windows 11/10 issue without inputting commands. Follow these steps:

Download Pro DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7
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Step 1. Start the tool, click the inaccessible drive you want to check, and select "Check Partition".


Step 2. Pick the "Check partition and fix errors in this partition by using chkdsk.exe" option among the three available methods. Click "OK".


Step 3. Click "OK" to start the process.


After repairing all bad sectors, restart your computer after making changes. Go back File Explorer to see whether "the parameter is incorrect external hard drive" error is being solved.

Way 7. Update the driver

The outdated Windows can also cause the incorrect parameter error. Make sure your Windows PC is up to date by updating or uninstalling outdated drivers::

Step 1. Press the "Windows + R" keys together to open the Run box.

Step 2. In the box, input "devmgmt.msc" and press "Enter" key to open "Device Manager".

Step 3. Navigate to the problematic external hard drive in the device list.

Step 4. Click the device and select "Uninstall" or check for available updates.


Step 5. Restart your computer after making changes.

Way 8. Change the decimal symbol

The incorrect parameter error may also be triggered by incorrect date and time settings. Verify and adjust the decimal point sign in Windows settings:

Step 1. Go to "Settings" > "Time & Language" > "Region & Language".

Step 2. Choose "Additional date, time, & regional settings".

Step 3. Under the "Region" section, select "Change date, time, or number formats".

Step 4. Access additional settings, and change the decimal symbol to "." (dot). Then confirm the change.


Step 5: Now restart Windows and try to access the affected drive.

Way 9. Format the drive

If all the previous methods fail, formatting the drive may be the last resort. Please note that the formatting process will delete all data. You can back up crucial data in advance.

Step 1. Press the "Win + X" keys together to access the quick menu.

Step 2. Pick "Disk Management" from the menu.

Step 3. Click the affected drive.

Step 4. Select the "Format" option.

Step 5. Select NTFS as the file system and click "OK" to confirm.


After formatting, the drive should be accessible again.

Tip: Learn about can't format drive in Disk Management.

Final verdict

To fix the parameter is incorrect external hard drive error and regain ownership of your hard drive, it is crucial to use the provided repair procedures. Consider using data recovery software like AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to protect your data from loss. Through the following methods, you can effectively solve the incorrect parameters error and use your hard drive normally. This comprehensive data recovery utility offers additional features such as resizing encrypted partitions without losing data, rebuilding MBR to repair boot failure, and converting MBR disk to GPT. Windows servers can choose the Server Edition.

Phoebe · Staff Editor
Phoebe, an editor at AOMEI Technology, is dedicated to offering optimal solutions for Windows-related concerns, specializing in partition management, disk upgrades, data recovery, and more. During her free time, she enjoys indulging in reading, watching movies, and exploring her passion for cooking.