“An Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred” 0xc00000e9: Fix It Now In 6 Steps

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Tohil R.


Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred Pop Up

Hey guys, I hope you can help me figure out how to troubleshoot an "Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred" that popped up on my PC... this has been bothering me now.
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Error messages on our devices may be frustrating, especially if they slow us down.
As a Windows user, you might’ve experienced “An Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred” message with a code “0xc00000e9“.
This error message signals a device I/O (Input/Output) problem1. If not rectified immediately, this problem may cause data loss or significant system instability.
It’s typically associated with your HDD or SSD drives2 unable to read or write data.

This belongs to one of the BSOD errors, here’s our comprehensive fix guide for all BSODs.

This guide will explain the error “An Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred, 0xc00000e9”, its reasons & ways to fix it.

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How to Fix An Unexpected IO Error Has Occurred

TL;DR: Quick Ways to Try Now to Fix the Error

  • First, verify the hardware connections. Check that all computer cords and gadgets are properly inserted and working. An occasional problem or unreliable connection may cause this error message.
  • Unsupported or outdated device drivers may cause the error. To communicate between hardware and OS, drivers must be updated. Incompatible HDD/SSD drivers may be updated using driver update programs or Device Manager.
  • Invalid system files might produce this error message. A built-in System File Checker (SFC) may discover and fix compromised files that may be the source of the problem. CHKDSK disk checks may also help diagnose and fix hard drive issues.

We’ll talk about those in more detail later on.

3 Beginner-friendly Steps to Fix The 0xc00000e9 I/O Error (Time to Complete: ~10-20 mins)

Let’s get started by firstly implementing the most easy and straightforward solutions.
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Step 1: Check and Restart Your Computer

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When facing “An Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred” issue, one of the initial troubleshooting procedures to consider is verifying and restarting your computer. This simple yet efficient procedure often fixes a variety of input/output error-related problems.

Restarting your computer enables it to renew its system resources, eliminate any temporary issues, and reset some settings that may be generating the I/O error. In essence, it gives your computer a new start, allowing it to perhaps fix the current problem.

Note: If your PC doesn’t restart — follow our guide here.

Here are the procedures to follow:

  • Save unsaved work: Before restarting, save any critical files or documents. If the “An Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred” problem interferes with your ability to view or save files, this will stop possible data loss.
Save unsaved work
  • Shut down all open apps: Before starting a restart, be sure all open applications have been properly shut down. This helps avoid any conflicts or issues that may arise during the restart procedure.
Right click and select close
  • Select the Start menu: Locate the “Start” icon in the bottom left corner of the screen, which is frequently the Windows logo.
  • Select “Restart” or “Restart/Shutdown”: Based on which version of your operating system, the Start menu may contain the options “Restart” or “Restart/Shutdown.” By selecting this option, the system will resume.
Click Restart
  • Let the computer completely shut down before restarting: Give your computer a moment to finish shutting down before starting up again. Depending on the specifics of your hardware, this might take a few seconds.
  • Check whether the I/O problem persists: After the computer is restarted, check if you still experience the “An Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred” issue that caused you to do this troubleshooting step originally. If the error message disappears, it means that restarting fixed the problem.

Restarting often resolves simple software-related problems that result in the I/O error, but it may occasionally address more complicated hardware or program incompatibilities. Restarting the system may not fix the problem; more troubleshooting actions could be required to find and fix the root cause.

Step 2: Disconnect External Devices and Check Cables

It is essential to thoroughly inspect the cables involved if you are facing an I/O error or having problems with external devices. “An Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred” and other connection issues may often be traced back to defective cables.

Disconnect all the Peripherals Devices

Disconnect any devices that are external from the system prior to commencing troubleshooting. This includes all connected external hard drives, USB flash drives, scanners, printers, and other computer devices. 

You can isolate the “An Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred” problem and ascertain if it is associated with a particular device or cable by eliminating these gadgets mentioned earlier.

Inspect Cable Health

Next, give each cable a thorough inspection to look for any wear or damage. Keep an eye out for loose connections, twisted connectors, and frayed wires. These physical flaws have the potential to cause I/O mistakes and obstruct appropriate data transport.

Replace any damaged cables or connections with new ones that are known to be in excellent operating order if you find any during your check.
Faulty cables can be the VERY exact reason for i/o errors.

Replace computer cables

After replacing any damaged cables or connections, reconnect the external devices one at a time, keeping an eye out for any intermittent “An Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred” failures. This phase helps in determining if a certain device is the source of the issue.

Step 3: Run Disk Check Utility to Identify and Fix Disk Errors

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Using a disk check program might assist find and resolve problems if you are having “An Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred” failures or think your disk (whether HDD or SSD) could be defective. This step will walk you through the process of fixing disk issues in Windows by utilizing a disk repair application.

The first program you should use is the Windows Disk Check Utility, which is built-in and goes by the name “chkdsk.” This tool looks for any problems on your hard disk and does an automated repair attempt. This is how to operate it:

  • Open File Explorer by pressing the ‘Windows key + E’ on the keyboard.
  • Select “Properties” from the menu that appears subsequent to right-clicking the disk (e.g., C: drive) that you wish to examine for errors.
Select Properties for Local Disc C
  • Navigate to the “Properties” pane and select the “Tools” tab.
  • From the “Error-checking” column, select the “Check” icon.
Run Disk Check using Properties

Following that, Windows will initiate a defect scan of the selected disk. The duration of this process may vary depending on the condition and size of the hard drive.

During the examination, Chkdsk will examine every part of your disk and attempt to resolve any issues it discovers. Upon the completion of its investigation, it shall generate an exhaustive report should any concerns arise.

It is essential to keep in mind that chkdsk directly modifies the file system of your disk; therefore, administrator privileges are required to execute it. Before proceeding to this step, ensure that you are logged in as the administrator or possess the required privileges.

By carrying out this maintenance procedure on a regular basis, you can keep your storage drives operating at their best and remaining reliable.
So we recommend performing this check at least every ~6 months or so.

3 Advanced Steps to Fix The Unexpected I/O Error (Time to Complete: ~10-25 mins)

In an unfortunate case if easy steps didn’t fix the error — let’s dive a bit deeper and try out more advanced ways.
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Advanced Step 1: Update or Reinstall Device Drivers

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Reinstalling or updating the drivers is one of the troubleshooting actions you may take when you experience an unexpected I/O error linked to device drivers.
Device drivers serve as a bridge that allows communication and guarantees correct operation between your hardware devices and the Windows operating system.

All sorts of problems are often caused by outdated or corrupted device drivers, which may interrupt operations and impair system performance.

The procedures listed below may be used to update device drivers:

  • Determine which driver is the issue: Identify the precise driver responsible for the I/O problem. Typically, error messages or event logs provide this data.
    In your case — most likely it will be a HDD or SSD driver.
Determine which driver is the issue
  • Go to the website of the manufacturer of your HDD or SSD: Visit the official website of the company that made your computer or the company that made the hardware components. To locate the most recent versions of the drivers, look for a support or downloads area.
  • Obtain and set up the most recent drivers: Find the driver that is compatible with the hardware model and operating system version that you are using. Download it from a reliable source, then adhere to any manufacturer installation instructions.
  • Restart your computer: To guarantee that all updates are applied correctly, it is advised to restart your computer after installing new drivers.

Consider reinstalling the device driver entirely if upgrading it does not fix the problem:

  • In order to uninstall the existing driver, launch Device Manager on Windows or a similar operating system by selecting “Manage” from the right-click menu on “My Computer” (or “This PC”). Within Device Manager, locate the problematic device in its respective category. While using the right mouse, select “Uninstall.”
Locate the problematic device then Uninstall
  • Reinstall the driver: If Windows prompts you to restart your computer after uninstalling it, do so. Windows need to try to reinstall a generic version of the driver for basic functioning automatically upon restarting.
  • Install the updated driver: Follow the previous instructions to access the manufacturer’s website, download the necessary driver, and install it manually.

Always be sure to obtain drivers from reputable sources to guarantee their legitimacy and steer clear of any possible virus or compatibility problems. Additionally, before making any big modifications to your device drivers, it’s advised to build a system restore point.

Advanced Step 2: Do a Windows Startup Repair

If you’re getting the error during startup — you can do its repair.

First, you need to access Advanced Startup options, to do so follow this:

  • Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to open the Switch User screen
  • Click the Power button on the bottom-left side
  • Press the Shift key and select Restart.
switch user screen restart

You will now boot into the Advanced Startup Options screen.

Now, select “Startup Repair” and let Windows do itself a repair.

select startup repair windows

Advanced Step 3: Perform a System Restore or Reset Windows Installation (If Necessary)

Resetting the Windows installation or doing a system restore might be useful troubleshooting techniques if your Windows system is exhibiting the unexpected I/O error.

How to Do a System Restore: 

The System Restore function of Windows enables users to restore their system to a previous state where it functioned without any issues.

To carry out a System Restore, adhere to following procedures:

  • To launch the Run dialog box, use the ‘Windows key + R’.
  • Press Enter after typing “rstrui.exe” to open the System Restore wizard.
Type rstrui.exe
  • Select a restore point that comes before the I/O failures begin by following the on-screen instructions.
  • Verify your choice, then let the repair finish.

Resetting Windows Installation:

You could think about doing this if System Restore is unable to fix the problem. With this option, Windows is reinstalled without affecting your personal data.

Use these procedures to reset your Windows installation:

  • Press the ‘Windows key + I’ to launch the Settings app.
  • Select “Recovery” under “Update & Security”.
  • After selecting “Reset this PC,” choose “Get started.”
Reset this PC
  • Select “Remove everything” or “Keep my files” based on whether you want to start again or save your own data.
Reset this PC choose an option
  • Let Windows reset itself by following the on-screen directions.

Always create a copy of your most critical files prior to performing a system reset or restoration in order to prevent data loss. For further guidance on performing a system restore or resetting a Windows installation, it is advisable to consult official instructions or seek professional assistance if uncertain.

Is the Error Resolved Now?

We hope that above solutions helped you fully resolve the error code 0xc00000e9: “An Unexpected I/O Error Has Occurred” issue on your Windows PC.

Remember, troubleshooting often involves data loss, therefore it’s best to back up important data before major restorations or reinstallations.

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If your Unexpected I/O errors are still not fixed — feel free to reach out to us via email and share your problem.

  1. I/O problems explained — via IBM.com []
  2. SSD & HDD explained — via Microsoft.com []
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About the author
Iggy Shells
Iggy Shells - IT & PC repair expert

Iggy is the founder of WindowsGuided.com. He’s been involved in custom IT and security solutions for more than a decade.

Now he and his team are sharing their knowledge with the world by helping casual users solve a myriad of different computer issues, system errors, and virus/malware infections.