9 Ways to Fix The ‘Parameter is Incorrect’ Error on an External Hard Drive

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Sometimes, while trying to access an external hard drive, you might encounter the, “The parameter is incorrect” error message. This could happen if your hard drive has sustained some physical or logical damage. But don’t worry, this is a common error that is solvable. 

In this article, we’ll take you through the various reasons why you might have encountered the “The parameter is incorrect” error. Subsequently, we’ll describe 9 ways to fix the error.

What Are the Reasons Behind the Parameter Is Incorrect Error?

This section dissects the several reasons behind the “The parameter is incorrect” error on Windows 10 and 11:

The file system of the hard drive is corruptedIf the file system has become corrupted, Windows may display the error since it’s unable to read and access the files.
Bad external hard drive connectionLoose or damaged connectors manifest as read/write issues. Sometimes, your PC may not detect the external hard drive, leading to the error message.
Operating system corruptionCorrupted system files can lead to data misinterpretation errors when the OS attempts to read an external hard disk.
Driver issuesIt’s possible that corrupted drivers and HDD firmware can lead to errors.
The hard drive is physically damagedPhysical damage can lead to bad sectors on your HDD – which eventually contributes to accessibility issues on your hard drive.
Malware or virusesVirus attacks on your PC/external HDD can cause accessibility errors.
The drive is BitLocker encryptedBitLocker Encryption can hinder access to your drive, and throw “The parameter is incorrect” error.

How to Recover Data from Hard Drive With the Parameter Is Incorrect Error

Before attempting to fix the corrupted hard drive, data recovery must be your top priority. Among our shortlist of the best recovery apps, Disk Drill stands out. The tool ships with an intuitive interface and offers several advanced features.

In our case, Disk Drill is a perfect match because the tool allows users to bypass the “The parameter is incorrect” error and retrieve data from an inaccessible external hard drive as long as it’s visible on Disk Management. Moreover, the tool helps recover files from several major file systems, including NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, etc.

We recommend Disk Drill to most of our users because the tool promises reliable and hassle-free data recovery. The software also boasts high recovery rates and also allows you to recover up to 500 MB of data for free!

Follow these steps to use Disk Drill to recover data from an inaccessible hard drive when the “The parameter is incorrect” error keeps appearing:

  1. Download, install, and launch Disk Drill.install disk drill for Windows
    We utilized a Windows 11 PC for this process. Nonetheless, Disk Drill 5 is compatible with Windows 10, and earlier versions of the software can be used with Windows XP through Windows 8.
  2. Select the affected external hard drive drive from the list of devices, then click on Search for lost data.Select external drive with error and start scan
  3. Wait for the deep scan to terminate, and then click Review found items. Subsequently, you can filter the scan results by selecting a relevant file type (Pictures, Video, Audio, Documents, Archives, and Other).review found data on external hard drive
    Insight – For this demo, we attempt to recover all pictures on the corrupted drive.
  4. Click on the various categories like Existing, Deleted or lost and Reconstructed to view your recoverable files.Click on the Reconstructed categories
  5. Preview and select the files you want to recover by hovering over the ‘eye’ button. Tick the checkboxes to select the files that you want to get back. Then, click Recover.Preview found files and select them to recover
  6. Finally, specify a destination to save your recovered data, and click Next.select recovery location for files
To learn more about the tool and all its fascinating recovery features, check out our complete Disk Drill review. Also, check out our shortlist of the best hard drive recovery software.

At Pandora Recovery, we have conducted thorough testing and analysis of various data recovery tools. As a result, our specialized data recovery tool comparison engine provides recommendations tailored to specific scenarios. Additionally, our interactive software picker and detailed reviews can assist you in choosing the most suitable recovery application for your unique needs.

How to Fix the Parameter is Incorrect Error

Once you’ve secured your data through hard drive recovery, it’s time to explore solutions to fix “The parameter is incorrect” error on the hard drive.

Method 1: Check Your External Hard Drive Connection

Sometimes your external hard drive might be showing an error because of a faulty connection. Thus, the most basic thing to do is try testing the external hard drive in another USB port. If this doesn’t work, try using different USB cables and hard drive adaptors to solve the problem. If the hard drive still doesn’t work, move on to other methods.

Check USB drive connection

Alternatively, try purchasing an OEM specific connecting accessory, like an exclusive cable for the WD My Passport.

Method 2: Scan Your System For Viruses

Another valuable step before attempting other solutions is to remove any viruses that may have caused the issue. While removing the virus won’t solve the issue completely, it ensures that the error doesn’t return later on when the problem is eventually fixed.

We are using Windows Defender to scan the external hard drive for viruses:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and search “Windows Security”.search Windows Security
  2. Click Virus & threat protection.Click Virus & threat protection
  3. Click Scan options.Click Scan options
  4. Select Full scan, then click Scan now.Select Full scan, then click Scan now

Method 3: Repair System Files

Corrupted or missing system files often cause several issues on your computer, including “The parameter is incorrect” error. Fortunately, Windows has two in-built utilities–SFC and DISM–that can restore the integrity of these system files. However, since they are command-line utilities, running them is not as easy as other methods that rely on a graphic interface.

Follow these steps carefully to repair corrupt system files and fix the error:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and type “Terminal”.
  2. When the Terminal icon appears, click Run as administrator.run Terminal as administrator
  3. In the Command Prompt window, type DISM.exe /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth and press Enter.run DISM utility
  4. After the operation is complete, type sfc /scannow and press Enter again. If the utility detects any corrupted or missing system files, it will attempt to repair them automatically.run sfc utility in terminal

Method 4: Change Decimal Symbol Settings

While it seems odd, the decimal symbol used by Windows can cause “the parameter is incorrect” error. This is common in regional formats other than English, but it can easily be fixed by updating your Region settings by changing the setting to a period symbol.

Here’s how you can change the decimal symbol settings on Windows:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and type intl.cpl. Now, press Enter.run intl.cpl
  2. Click Additional settings.
  3. In the dialogue box, ensure that the decimal symbol is a period. Click Apply, if needed. Then, click OK.ensure that the decimal symbol is a period

Method 5: Fix the Hard Drive Using CHKDSK

CheckDisk is a Windows file system-repair tool that can scan and fix errors on your external hard drive. While Chkdsk may seem a little complicated, it’s incredibly useful and can fix the issue without much hassle.

Follow these steps to fix the hard drive using CHKDSK:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and type “Terminal”.
  2. When the Terminal icon appears, click Run as administrator.
  3. In the dialogue window, type chkdsk F: /r. Then, press Enter.Use CHKDSK utility
    Ensure that you replace F: with your own external hard drive letter.

There are cases when the mighty Chkdsk could inflict some friendly fire. We’ve prepared a separate tutorial on recovering data deleted by Chkdsk.

Method 6: Update Drivers

Drivers handle all communication between the hardware connected to your computer and the operating system. Missing or corrupted drivers affect your external hard drive performance and can throw error messages. Updating or reinstalling the drivers can fix the external hard drive ‘parameter is incorrect’ error.

Here’s how you can update and reinstall drivers to resolve the error:

  1. Right-click Start and select Device Manager.
  2. Expand Disk drives. Right-click your external hard drive and click Update driver.Update disk driver
  3. Click Search automatically for drivers.Search automatically for drivers
  4. If no updated drivers were found, right-click the external hard drive again and click Uninstall device.
  5. Click Uninstall.Uninstall device from device manager
  6. Now, remove the external hard drive and then connect it again to force the drivers to reinstall.

Method 7: Repair an External Hard Drive File System

If your external hard drive is inaccessible and shows clear signs of partition corruption (for instance, the external hard drive becomes RAW), you can use partition recovery and repair software like TestDisk to fix the problem.

TestDisk is an open-source recovery tool that uses a command-line interface, so ensure that you follow all the steps carefully:

  1. Download and unzip the TestDisk folder. In our case, the folder was named “testdisk- 7.2.win”.
  2. Right-click testdisk_win and click Run as administrator.
  3. Select the Create option and press Enter to confirm.create log file in TestDisk
  4. Now, select the external hard drive that shows the parameter is incorrect. Ensure that you’re on the Proceed option and press Enter.select drive in testdisk
  5. Select the partition table by highlighting the relevant option and pressing Enter. Since we’re using Windows 11, we selected Intel. TestDisk highlights the correct partition table by default, so it’s recommended you simply press Enter on this screen.select partition type testdisk
  6. Now, select the Analyse option and press Enter.select Analyse and press enter
  7. Ensure that the Quick Search option is highlighted and press Enter.use quick search in testdisk
  8. Use the left and right arrow keys and make sure there is a P before the partition name. Press P to list the recoverable files. After viewing the files, press Q to go back to the previous screen.set primary partition
  9. Press Enter and then select the Write option. Now, press Y and TestDisk will recover the partition from your external hard drive.write partition to disk
You can learn more about the tool in our detailed TestDisk review.

Method 8. Format an External Hard Drive

If none of the methods were helpful, perhaps the only possible way is to format the drive. But doing this will wipe off all data from the external hard drive. So, make sure that you prioritize data recovery first to format the hard drive without losing all data.

Here’s how you can format the hard drive using Disk Management:

  1. Right-click Start and select Disk Management.
  2. Right-click on the external hard drive that shows “the parameter is incorrect” and click Format.select format option in disk management
  3. Change the Format settings and select file system according to your requirements, then select Perform a quick format and click OK.set format options

Method 9: Contact Data Recovery Service

If you want to skip the risks of DIY, data recovery services are your best choice. They’re more expensive than the other methods but it’s the most reliable option to retrieve and prevent any further damage. We’ve curated a list of the best available hard drive recovery services.

Here are a few best practices to follow when approaching a data recovery service:

  • 📅 Contact the data recovery service, discuss the issue, and hard drive specifications before sending the hard drive.
  • 💰 Know the average price for data recovery services, and ensure that you agree to the price quote well in advance.
  • 📃 To prevent unnecessary expenses, make sure the company you approach has a “no data/no charge” policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the parameter incorrect error mean?

The error message “The parameter is incorrect” often appears when your computer is being prevented from accessing the external or internal hard drive due to physical or logical corruption of some kind.

To fix “the parameter is incorrect” error, first recover data from the external hard drive using a data recovery tool. Then use one of the methods listed in the article above to repair the drive and regain access to your drive. You can also contact a professional data recovery service if none of the other methods work.

There are several reasons why you can get the “D drive is not accessible the parameter is incorrect” error. Some of them are:

  • The file system of the hard drive has become corrupted.
  • Faulty external hard drive connection.
  • The operating system of your computer has become corrupted.
  • The drive must be updated or reinstalled.
  • The hard drive has sustained some physical damage.
  • Malware or virus attack on the drive. 
  • The drive is BitLocker encrypted.


If you follow any of the methods mentioned in this article carefully, “the parameter is incorrect” error is not that difficult to fix. However, you must first recover your data using professional data recovery software to safeguard your files in case you have to format the hard drive.

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Joshua Solomon
  • 5 publishings

Joshua is a content curator for Pandora Recovery. His expertise involves taking intricate IT concepts and breaking them down into super easy to understand chunks. He’s been wielding the writing sword for quite some time now - 3 years to be precise. Digital marketing, data recovery, and anything “techy” are Joshua’s niches.

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Yevgeniy Tolkunov
Yevgeniy Tolkunov

Yevgeniy Tolkunov is Hardware Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Yevgeniy has a Master's Degree in Physics, Information Technology; 15+ years of experience.