Common Hard Drive Error Codes

Monday, 20 December 2021 by Ontrack Team

Open Hard Drive

If you’ve ever experienced hard drive failure, you’re aware of how quickly the resulting data loss can occur. Understanding the specific type of failure your hard drive is experiencing not only helps you get to the bottom of the issue more easily, but it also prevents you from making matters worse when it comes to the odds of a successful data recovery. Need help figuring out what’s causing your hard drive to fail? Take a look at our rundown of the most common hard drive error codes and how to fix them.

Disk Full

This error code indicates that there is no free space left on the hard drive because it has all been used.

To resolve this issue, you’ll need to free up some space. You can do this by deleting any unnecessary files or applications, emptying the recycling bin and removing any old or unneeded log files.

SMART Failure Predicted on Hard Disk 0

This code means that S.M.A.R.T (the device’s Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) has detected an error and is predicting that the hard drive is close to failure. This usually happens if the hard drive is corrupted or damaged.

If you see this error code, you’ll need to back up all the data on your device immediately and replace your hard drive.

SMART Hard Disk Error or SMART Hard Disk Error 301

This error code is common on laptops and desktop computers and occurs when a hardware issue is detected during a scan. This error occurs without warning and often leads to data loss.

There could be several things causing the issue, including an outdated BIOS, a loose connection, a virus, file corruption, physical damage, an unexpected shutdown or a power surge.

To solve SMART Hard Disk Error 301, you’ll need to try the following:

  • Changing the boot priority order
  • Resetting BIOS
  • Reseating the Hard Drive
  • Hard Reboot
  • Using Data Recovery Software

Hard Disk Quick (303) or SMART Hard Disk Error 303

Error 303 is a hard disk error that occurs when the computer fails to boot successfully and redirects to the System Diagnostics. There are several reasons for the error occurring, including:

  • Outdated BIOS
  • Loose connection
  • Virus
  • File corruption
  • Physical damage
  • Unexpected shutdown
  • Power surge

To resolve this issue, you’ll need to have the hard drive assessed by a professional to establish what the problem is and the extent of the damage.

Although it can be tempting to try and resolve the issue yourself, tools such as Bootrec, FSCK, Windows Error Checking Tool and CHKDSK can cause further damage to the hard drive and make the data unrecoverable.

If you decide to check the drive yourself using this software, make sure you have it in read-only mode when testing and take a photo the drive before making any changes.

Hard Disk 1 (3F1)

3F1 errors commonly occur with laptops and indicate that there is a problem with the hard drive. They can occur when the hard drive is corrupted or damaged, or if the operating system files are damaged.

The following solutions can often be used to fix this type of hard drive error:

  • Hard reset
  • BIOS reset defaults
  • Run hardware diagnostics
  • Reset the hard drive
  • Remove the hard drive and test it
  • Use Data Recovery Software

Boot device not found – hard disk (3F0) or No boot device available

This error code means that the BIOS is unable to locate a boot drive in the system. It is usually caused by:

  • Incorrect boot sequence in the BIOS
  • Connection issue
  • Malware attack
  • Physical damage to the hard drive

To fix this type of error:

  • Perform a hard reset
  • Restore BIOS default settings
  • Reset the hard drive

Primary Master Hard Disk Error or 3rd / 4th/ 5th Master Hard Disk Error

This common error code indicates that there is an error with one or more of the drives in the system. It occurs if the drive is corrupted or damaged, or when if the operating system files are damaged.

If your device shows this error code, you’ll need to get the hard drive assessed by a professional. Don’t be tempted to use error-checking tools yourself as this can cause further damage and make the data unrecoverable.

Disk Boot Failure

A Disk Boot Failure means that the system has found an error with the drive that is currently designated as the boot drive. It can occur if the drive is corrupted or damaged, or if the operating system files are damaged.

If you encounter this error code, you’ll need to have the hard disk assessed by a professional. Although it can be tempting to use error-checking tools yourself, this can cause further damage and make the data unrecoverable.

If you decide to check the drive yourself using this software, make sure you have it in read-only mode when testing and take a photo of the drive before making any changes in case you need the information later.

Cyclic Redundancy Check Error or Drive is Not Accessible Data Error

This error code indicates that there is a read failure from the drive. It can occur when the hard drive is corrupted or damaged, or when the operating system files are damaged. This type of error can also be caused by misconfigured files, unsuccessful program installation, or file corruption.

If you run into this error code, don’t be tempted to use error-checking tools yourself. Instead, seek a professional who can do a hard drive assessment as this error is often a hardware issue. By working on it yourself, you could cause further damage and make the data unrecoverable.

If you decide to work on the hard drive yourself, ensure you have it in read-only mode for testing, and take a photo of the drive before making any amends in case you need to refer to it later.

I/O Device Error

An I/O Device Error indicates that there is a read failure from the drive. This type of error can occur when the drive is corrupted or damaged, or if the operating system files are damaged.

Similar to other error codes, we recommend not working on this yourself and seeking a professional to run a full assessment. By using error-checking tools yourself, they may cause further damage and make the data unrecoverable.

If you have experience working on hard drives and choose to try and repair the drive, remember to put it in read-only mode.

Disk Read Error

This error code indicates that there is a read error from the drive, it usually occurs if the hard drive is corrupt or damaged, or if the operating system files are damaged.

To identify and resolve the issue, the drive will need to be assessed by a professional. If you do decide to check the drive yourself using error-checking software, make sure you have it in read-only mode when testing and take a photo of the drive before making any changes. Be aware that by working on the hard drive yourself, you may cause additional damage and the data might become unrecoverable.

Windows Error Codes

If Windows encounters certain issues, it will stop running and the diagnostic information will be displayed in white text on a blue screen – as a result, they are often known as blue screen errors.

These error codes typically start with “STOP 0x”, followed by various letter and number codes that reveal the cause of the error.
Windows error codes can occur if the hard drive is corrupt or damaged, or when the operating system files are damaged.

If you encounter a Windows error code, try restarting the system. If this does not resolve the issue, search for the specific error code to determine the source of the issue. If the error code suggests a hardware issue, stop using the drive immediately and have it assessed by a professional.

The Parameter is Incorrect

This is a common error with external drives, usually caused by a power issue, bad USB port or cable, or an improper disconnect of the drive.

The issue can sometimes be resolved by plugging the drive into a different system. If that doesn’t fix the problem, then you will need to have the drive assessed by a professional.

The Request Failed Due to a Fatal Device Hardware Error

This error code indicates that the device is no longer accessible. It can occur if the drive is corrupt or damaged, or if the operating system files are damaged.

This type of error can sometimes be resolved by rebooting the system. If that doesn’t work, then the drive will need to be assessed by a professional. Don’t be tempted to use error-checking tools yourself as they can cause additional damage and even make the data unrecoverable.

If you’ve experienced an error with your hard drive, we can help. Ontrack’s data recovery experts are equipped to provide successful recovery from any make, model, brand, or operating system. Start your free evaluation today and let us determine the best course of action to help you get your data back.