The Parameter is Incorrect Issue with External Hard Drive: How to Fix

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the parameter is incorrectIf your hard drive has encountered some form of physical or logical damage, connecting it to your computer and attempting to access it may prompt a Windows message that says “The parameter is incorrect”. Further attempts to access the data on the drive are denied, resulting in your data being inaccessible.

This is a known error encountered by many Windows users over the years. In this article, we’ll show you various fixes you can implement to fix the error message “The parameter is incorrect”.

What Does “The Parameter Is Incorrect” Mean?

The error message “The parameter is incorrect” is often a generic error message that appears when your computer is being prevented from accessing the drive. Alternatively known as error 0x80070057, this error can appear for many reasons, some of which we’ll look at shortly.

Parameter is Incorrect error message

This message will appear whenever you attempt to access the drive. In most cases, the actual data on your drive is intact and usable. However, until the damage on the drive is repaired, the data will remain inaccessible through traditional means, like Windows Explorer.

Main Causes of “The Parameter Is Incorrect” on a Drive

There are many reasons why the error message “The parameter is incorrect” appears on Windows 10 and 11. As mentioned, it points towards some form of damage to the drive. Here are a few of the main reasons the error appears:

  • 📁 File system corruption – The file system helps organize your data. If it has become corrupted, Windows may be displaying the error as it cannot read the file system.
  • 📃 Corrupted Windows system files – Essential system files needed for the operation of Windows may be corrupted, breaking down communication between your computer and the drive.
  • Bad sectors – When a bad sector appears, it destroys the data contained in that sector. If essential system files were present, it can result in this issue appearing.
  • 🦠 Malware – Viruses can be designed to target important parts of your system, including your hard drive. If your hard drive has been damaged by malware, this error can occur.
  • 💥 Physical damage – Physical damage, either to the external hard drive or USB port, can prevent the hard drive from being read correctly. If a partial connection can be established, Windows may prompt this error message.
  • 🔧 Decimal symbol – This problem can be caused by using a decimal symbol other than a period, especially if you’re using a different regional format with Windows.

Let’s look at how to fix “The parameter is incorrect” error message so it no longer appears.

How to Recover Data From a Drive With “The Parameter Is Incorrect”

Before you attempt to fix the error “The parameter is incorrect”, you should first recover the data on the drive to ensure it’s safe in case anything goes wrong. This is super quick and easy using Disk Drill, a data recovery tool capable of recovering data even from drives facing this error. Disk Drill can recover data from the external hard drive as long as it appears in Disk Management with the correct size, even if the drive is not accessible to you.

Here’s how you can recover the data from your external hard drive with Disk Drill:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Select your external hard drive from the list of devices and click Search for lost data. The scan will begin.Searching the external hard drive for data.
  3. Click Review found items once the scan is complete.Seeing what Disk Drill found.
  4. Select the files you want to recover. Use the Recovery chances column and preview window to help determine which data to recover. When ready, click Recover.Recovering files with Disk Drill.
  5. Choose the output location. Avoid restoring the files to the same drive you’re recovering from. Click OK to complete recovery.Finishing Disk Drill recovery.

How to Fix “The Parameter Is Incorrect” on Windows 10

Now that your data is safe and secure, let’s look at the various solutions available to resolve “The parameter is incorrect” error.

Solution #1: Connect to Another USB Port

To avoid wasting time going through more in-depth troubleshooting steps first, you should try testing the external hard drive in another USB port, preferably one directly connected to your motherboard. In some cases, the USB port you’re using may be faulty, resulting in broken communication between your external hard drive and computer hardware.

Solution #2: Scan for Viruses

Another preliminary step before jumping into other solutions is removing any viruses that may have initially caused the issue. While removing the virus now will not resolve the problem, it ensures that the problem doesn’t return after it is fixed by one of the solutions that follow. This can easily be done using Windows Defender.

  1. Press Windows Key + S and search “Windows Security”. Open the first result.Opening Windows security.
  2. Click Virus & threat protection.Accessing the Virus & threat protection area.
  3. Click Scan options.Looking at additional scan options.
  4. Select Full scan, then click Scan now.Performing a full scan for malware.

Solution #3: Run CheckDisk

CheckDisk is a file system-repair tool included with Windows that’s capable of scanning your external hard drive for errors and immediately attempting to fix them. With the right parameters, it can search for bad sectors and remap them to working ones, which may resolve the problem you’re facing.

  1. Right-click Start and select Windows PowerShell (Admin).Opening an elevated PowerShell window.
  2. Type chkdsk F: /r. Replace F: with your own drive letter. Press Enter.The CheckDisk command.

Solution #4: Run SFC and DISM

The System File Checker (SFC) tool scans your protected Windows system files for any that are damaged or corrupted. If any are found, they are replaced with working versions. If SFC discovers damaged files but is unable to repair the damage on its own, you can run the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command-line tool to download the necessary files from Windows Update.

  1. Right-click Start and select Windows PowerShell (Admin).Opening an elevated PowerShell window.
  2. Type sfc /scannow. Press Enter. This scan may take some time.Running the SFC command.
  3. If SFC was unable to fix the problem, type dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth. Press Enter. An internet connection is required for this step.Running the DISM.exe command.

Solution #5: Check the Decimal Symbol Settings

Oddly enough, the decimal symbol used by Windows can cause this issue to arise. It’s common in regional formats other than English, such as German. It can easily be fixed by updating your Region settings to use a period symbol.

  1. Press Windows Key + R and type intl.cpl. Press Enter.Opening the region settings.
  2. Click Additional settings.Additional region settings.
  3. Ensure that the decimal symbol is a period. Click Apply, if needed, then OK.Changing the decimal symbol.

Solution #6: Update the Drivers

Drivers are responsible for handling the communication between the hardware that you connect to your computer and the operating system. If your drivers are missing, corrupted, or otherwise damaged, you will notice strange performance with your external hard drive, like the hard drive not showing up. Updating or reinstalling the drivers can fix your external hard drive “The parameter is incorrect” issue.

  1. Right-click Start and select Device Manager.Opening Device Manager.
  2. Expand Disk drives. Right-click your external hard drive and click Update driver.Updating the drivers.
  3. Click Search automatically for drivers. This will require an internet connection.Searching for updated drivers.
  4. If no updated drivers were found, right-click the external hard drive again and click Uninstall device.Uninstalling the existing drivers.
  5. Click Uninstall.
  6. Remove the external hard drive then connect it again to force the drivers to reinstall.

Solution #7: Update the Operating System

Microsoft regularly releases updates for Windows. These updates include fixes for bugs and compatibility patches. It could be that you’re simply running an older version of Windows where this problem is prevalent. Therefore, updating your Windows version can indeed resolve the issue.

  1. Press Windows Key + S and search “Check for updates”. Open the first result.Opening Windows update.
  2. Click Check for updates. Windows will automatically begin downloading and installing the necessary updates.Checking for Windows updates.

Solution #8: Run a Troubleshooter

Windows includes a host of troubleshooters designed to fix specific problems that arise in different parts of your computer. One such troubleshooter is the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter which finds and fixes problems relating to your built-in and externally connected hardware.

  1. Right-click Start and select Windows PowerShell (Admin).Opening an elevated PowerShell window.
  2. Type msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic. Press Enter to open the troubleshooter, then click Next.Opening the Windows troubleshooter.
  3. The troubleshooter will present you with solutions that you can apply to fix the issue.

Solution #9: Format the Drive

If none of the previously mentioned solutions have worked thus far, consider formatting your external hard drive to fix “The parameter is incorrect” issue instead. Formatting is basically the equivalent to restoring your hard drive to factory settings. Therefore, since this process will delete all of the data on the drive, be sure to back up everything you need first.

  1. Right-click Start and click Disk Management.Opening Disk Management.
  2. Right-click the volume of your external hard drive, then select Format.Formatting the external hard drive.
  3. Provide a name and specify the file system you want. Ensure Perform a quick format is selected. Click OK.Beginning the format.
  4. Click OK to start the format process.