By Bryce / Last Updated April 26, 2020

The request failed due to fatal device hardware error occurs to my external drive

“Recently, I tried to open my WD external hard drive but it is unable to be accessed. It pops up a message – “H” is not accessible. The request failed due to a fatal device hardware error. H is the drive letter of the WD drive in my Windows 10 based PC. Any advice to fix this error?

Why “fatal device hardware error appears”?

The request failed due to a fatal device hardware error is a common error, which can happen on many devices, like external hard drive, SD card, etc. Then, you can be unable to open your drive, copy files to it, or adjust files on it. This error might be related to various factors, such as:

  • Loose connections,

  • Outdated driver

  • Conflicting drive letter

  • File system errors

  • Bad sectors on your external drive

How to fix “fatal device hardware error appears”

Sometimes, the error can be fixed quickly after you reconnect your external drive to the PC or change a USB port. If the external drive is still unable to be read or write, you can take further measures.

Notice: To avoid data loss, it’s highly recommended to back up your drive or retrieve important data at first.

→ Fix 1. Update driver for the external drive

→ Fix 2. Change drive letter for the external drive

→ Fix 3. Run CHKDSK.exe to fix external drive errors and bad sectors

→ Fix 4. Initialize your external drive in Disk Management

→ Fix 5. Format the external drive

→ Fix 6. Wipe the external drive


Fix 1. Update driver for the external drive

To fix the error caused by outdated driver, you can update driver for your external hard drive or SD card in Device Manager through those steps:

Step 1. Press Windows + R at the same time, input “devmgmt.msc” and press Enter key.

Step 2. In the Device Manager windows, locate the external drive, right-click it and choose Update Driver Software.

Update Driver Software

Step 3. Choose “Search automatically for updated driver software” and wait for the process to complete.

Fix 2. Change drive letter for the external drive

To settle the issue out of drive letter conflict, you can assign a new drive letter to your external drive. Steps are as follows:

Step 1. Right-click This PC in Windows 10 (My Computer in Windows 7) and choose Manage.

Step 2. Click Disk Management under Storage in the left pane.

Step 3. Click Change and choose an available drive letter. Then, click OK.

Click Change

Fix 3. Run CHKDSK.exe to fix external drive errors and bad sectors

If fatal device hardware error occurs due to the file system errors, you can run CHKDSK.exe from Command Prompt to scan and fix errors for the external drive.

Step 1. Input cmd in the Search box, right-click the program and choose Run as administrator.

Step 2. In the pop-up window, type chkdsk h: /f/r and hit Enter to fix file system errors.

Chkdsk Check Error

Notes:
▪ “g” refers to the drive letter of the drive where “The request failed due to hardware device error” happens.
▪ If CHKDK finds out any bad sector, it will try to repair and the data stored in the bad sector will be lost.

Fix 4. Initialize your external drive in Disk Management

If the external drive is labeled with Unknown not initialized in Disk Management, you can initialize disk to fix fatal device hardware error.

▶Warning: This operation erase all data saved on this drive.

Step 1. Open Disk Management, right-click the inaccessible disk and choose Initialize Disk.

Initialize Disk

Step 2. In Initialize Disk window, choose the partition style for the selected dis and click OK.

After initializing it, you need to create partition on the disk and then you can store data on it.

Fix 5. Format the external drive

Formatting your external drive can be an effective fix for fatal device hardware error. You can complete format in Windows Explorer or Disk Management. If you encounter an error, like Windows was unable to complete the format, you can try the third-party partition format tool – AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It allows you to format a drive to NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, Ext2, Ext3 or Ext4 and can format large (32GB, 64GB, 128GB, etc.) drive to FAT32 easily.

Warning: Formatting will erase all data saved on this drive.

Free download it and check out the steps:

Step 1. Install and launch the software. In the main interface, right-click the partition that needs to be format and choose Format Partition.

Format Raw To Ntfs

Step 2. Choose the file system and click OK.

Format Raw To Ntfs

Step 3. Click Apply and Proceed.

Apply

Fix 6. Wipe the external drive

Or you can choose to wipe your external hard drive to fix the error. To complete this task, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard can be useful. Run it can follow those steps:

Warning: This method will erase all data saved on this disk.

Step 1. Run the software. Right-click the hard disk or SD card that is going to be wiped and choose Wipe Hard Drive.

Wipe Hard Drive 16gb

Step 2. In the pop-up windows, choose “Fill Sectors with Zeros (Safe, Quick)” and click OK .

Step 3. Click Apply and Proceed to execute the operation.

Note: If your drive is an SSD, you can securely erase it via SSD Secure Erase Wizard in AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

Final words

It’s annoying to get The request failed due to fatal device hardware error message in Windows 10/8/7, while you need to use your external hard drive or SD card to save data. When you are suffering from this problem, you can try one or more fixes aforementioned. For data safety, don’t forget to back up the disk or retrieve necessary data via data recovery software in advance. If your external drive is physically damaged, you can need it with a new one.