How to Fix a Computer I/O Error

By Regina Paul

If you've had a personal computer for any length of time, then you my have gotten the dreaded I/O error message at least once. The awful thing about an I/O error is that it can really be just about anything, and I/O doesn't really tell you much about what the error is or what to do about it. Basically, what getting an I/O error means is that there is an error that is causing your computer to have problems reading data when you're trying to install a program, or copy data from your CD/DVD drive. This particular error is common with the CD/DVD player in computers with XP operating systems. Here is how to fix a computer I/O error.

Step 1

Reboot your computer and try the CD/DVD player again. Sometimes the problem can be resolved by doing this.

Step 2

Purchase a CD cleaner for your CD/DVD drive, such as Fellowes CD/DVD Drive Lens Cleaner. It can remove oxide residue, dust and debris from the laser lens and may correct the problems causing an I/O error.

Step 3

Try the CD in another computer if you have access to one just to see if it's the CD rather than the computer that is causing the problem. If you don't have access to another computer, try a different CD and see if you get the same error.

Step 4

Alter the transfer mode on your CD/DVD drive. You can do this by going to the "Start" menu, and then right-clicking on "My Computer" and selecting "Manage." In the resulting window select "Device Manager." You should then notice in the right pane "IDE ATA/ATAPI" controllers, you want to expand this by clicking on it, then right-click your CD/DVD drive and select "Properties." Next click on "Advanced Settings." At this point you should notice a transfer node box that signifies your CD/DVD drive; usually this is "Device 1." Finally, open the drop down menu and select "PIO," then click "Ok" and exit.

Step 5

Check to make sure all devices that are hooked up to your computer are turned on. For example, if you have an HP printer attached to your computer and it is turned off, this can cause an I/O error to pop up. As soon as you turn it back on, the I/O error should disappear the next time you reboot.

Step 6

Download and run a registry cleaner on your computer. Often if Steps 1 through 5 don't correct the problem, cleaning your registry can.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider updating the drivers for your CD/DVD on your computer.
  • Be aware that changing the transfer mode on your CD/DVD player may not help. If it doesn't, then you'll need to go back into My Computer using the same process as you did to change the transfer mode, and change "Device 1" to "DMA If Available," and "Device 0" to "PIO only."