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Why do I get an I/O device error when I try to create a system image?


Windows 7 Home Premium running on an Acer Aspire Notebook. Following the
instructions here in how to create a Windows 7 system backup and repair disc,
after purchasing a Seagate Expansion External drive, 3 TB. It went OK up to
Windows saving the backup, “Preparing to create the backup”. Then the following
wording appeared: “One of the backup files could not be created,” with an error
number. Additional information: “The request could not be performed because of
an I/O device error,” with another error number.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #61
, I look at a new external drive that is showing an input/output error.

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Input/Output error

In this kind of a situation, my tendency is to believe the error

The error message is literally telling you exactly what’s wrong. There was
an I/O (an Input Output) error on a device. Since it says the file could not be
created, my assumption is the I/O error happened on your external drive; the
drive that the backup was being written to.

Check the drive

Now, exactly what happens next really varies.

One thing I would do is I would run ChkDsk /R on that external drive. So if
the drive is Drive letter F: for example, then in a command prompt, run
chkdsk /r f:” and then hit the Enter key.

ChkDsk will actually check the surface of that drive to see if there are
problems on it, and potentially, it will mark bad sectors on that drive as
being bad.

If that doesn’t resolve the problem, I’d be seriously tempted to return that
external drive for warranty work. It shouldn’t have any problems when you get
it out of the box like that and this definitely does feel like a problem on
that external drive.

So, those are the things that I would do, the directions I would heed. The
error message is actually telling you the truth in my opinion. It is telling
exactly what’s wrong. The trick is understanding that what it means is there’s
a problem with that external drive.

Do this

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4 comments on “Why do I get an I/O device error when I try to create a system image?”

  1. Hi Leo, a call to Support at Seagate with a copy
    of the error code and a description of what was
    being done will get some quick help. Those guys
    are good.

  2. You could try to copy a few picture or music files to the disk in question. If it lets you copy & retrieve the file(s) then there is probably nothing wrong with the drive. If it won’t, then return it to where you bought it and get a replacement. I wouldn’t worry about warantee work & all that so early in the game. Most stores, online as well, give you at least a 90 day return policy.
    If it’s giving you problems right from the box, I wouldn’t trust it now, or ever.
    Also, sometimes the program(s) these “expansion, backup” drives utilize are not the most easy to maneuver through even though the claim on the box states such.
    The last one I used I wiped the whole thing and used Macrium. Of course, doing this WILL void the warantee.
    Just a few things to consider?

  3. Fixed. Thank you.

    Ran CHKDSK
    ‘Windows has checked the file system and found no problems’

    Have now completed the download of my internal hardrive to the 3TB Seagate external harddrive.

  4. It sounds like you are using the Backup program in Windows. I have the exact same problem. My external drive was a Western Digital.

    I believe that the problem is the Windows software. I solved the problem by using different backup software. Macrium (which Leo recommends) does have a free option, if you don’t want to pay for it. However, I understand the free option has some limitations.

    I went with EaseUS Todo Backup (again they have both a paid and free version). I went with the free version. It seems to do everything that Leo recommends that a backup program should do.

    I’ve started doing my backups with EaseUS instead of fighting with Windows Bakckup and have not seen that error ever again.


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