Are you getting “The parameter is incorrect” error in Windows 10? 5 ways to fix

Does your PC display the error message “Location is not available” or “The parameter is incorrect” when you open an external hard drive, USB stick or an SD card? We will explain why that happens and 5 possible solutions to the problem.

You will get this error if the drive you are trying to access is faulty, infected with a virus, or contains corrupt data. You may also be unable to open a drive if there is a problem with your PC’s USB port, perhaps because of outdated USB drivers or physical damage.

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Before attempting the troubleshooting steps below, switch the drive to a different port on your computer and make sure you can access the drive.

1. Run Check Disk Utility

Check Disk utility is a built-in tool that repairs bad sectors and corrupted data on internal and external drives. Scan the problematic drive using the utility and check if that solves the problem.

1. Launch the file explorer, right-click on the appropriate drive and select Properties in the context menu.

2. Go to the Tools tab and click the To check knob.

3. Click Scan and repair disk Get on.

The Check Disk utility will scan your disk immediately. Please note that this process may take some time depending on the size and contents of the drive.

During the scan, Windows automatically repairs any bad sectors it finds on the drive. Likewise, the tool will also fix possible file system errors that cause the “parameter is incorrect” error.

If the graphical user interface (GUI) version of the Check Disk utility does not find a problem with the disk, use the command-line version of the utility to run a confirmation check. This version performs a thorough scan of your disk and may fix issues that the GUI Check Disk utility has overlooked.

Before proceeding, make a note of the drive letter of the affected drive. In this tutorial, we will scan the USB drive labeled F: in the file explorer.

This may differ depending on the number of drives connected to your PC.

Right click on the Start menu and select Command Prompt (Admin)

Type chkdskleave a space, type the drive letter followed by a colon (F: in this case), leave a space, type /fleave a space, type /rand press Enter† The command should look like this: chkdsk F: /f /r

The Check Disk utility runs the command and scans the disk for errors and bad sectors; this may take a few minutes, depending on the disc size and the files on the disc. After the scan, the Chkdsk tool will let you know if any problem or bad sectors are found.

2. Fix the error with the System File Checker (SFC)

As mentioned before, file system corruption on your computer can also cause this error even on external drives. The System File Checker is another built-in utility based on the Command Prompt that can help repair, repair or replace corrupt and missing system files.

Since you are using Windows 10, it is recommended that you run Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) before running the System File Checker. That way, DISM first downloads internal system files from Microsoft’s server. After that, the SFC dives in to fix system file errors by replacing missing or corrupted files with files downloaded from Microsoft’s servers. It is a simple and straightforward process.

Remark: The Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command requires an Internet connection to copy/download files from Microsoft’s server. So connect your PC to the internet before proceeding.

1. Run Command Prompt as Administrator, paste the below command into the console and press Enter

DISM.exe /Online /Cleaning-image /Restorehealth

That will prompt the DISM tool to download system files from Microsoft’s servers. This process will take a few minutes depending on your internet speed. Proceed to the next step when you get a success message.

2. Paste the command below and press Enter

sfc /scannow

The command will ask the SFC to scan your PC for missing or corrupt system files and replace them accordingly. When the scan reaches 100% and you get a success message, try opening the affected drive. If the error persists, restart your computer and open the drive again.

3. Scan the drive with an antivirus program

If a virus infection is responsible for the error “Parameter is incorrect”, the Check Disk utility and System File Checker may not be able to solve the problem. Scan the affected drive with your antivirus software and check if it finds a virus or malware. If you don’t have antivirus, check out our recommendations on the best virus scanners that destroy every virus

4. Update the disk drivers

You may not be able to access an internal or external drive if the drivers are outdated or not working properly. Follow the steps below to check the status of the affected drive and update the drivers.

1. Right-click on the drive in File Explorer and select Properties

2. Go to the Hardware tab to see the drivers that power the drive. Select a disk drive and check the Device Properties section.

As the Device status does not read “The device is working properly”, there is a problem with the driver. Continue to the next step to update the drivers even if it works correctly.

3. Select a driver and click Properties† You must update all drivers on the list; you never know which one is problematic or causing the “The parameter is incorrect” error.

4. In the General tab, click Change settings

5. Navigate to the Driver tab and click Update driver

6. Select Automatically search for updated driver software

Windows will search both your computer and online for the latest version of that particular driver. For best results, make sure your PC is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Repeat these steps for all disk drives, restart your PC and try opening the disk again.

5. Format the drive

Format the affected drive only as a last resort. Before doing this, however, try to access the drive on another computer. If the error “The parameter is incorrect” also appears on another PC, proceed to format the drive.

Keep in mind that formatting the drive will erase its contents permanently. However, the action will also create a new file system and eliminate errors that are causing the problem. You could use one third-party utility to format the drive or follow the steps below to use the built-in Windows formatting tool.

1. Right-click on the drive in File Explorer and select Format

2. Click Get started continue.

3. Finally click Okay at the confirmation prompt.

The problem may not be solved

If you still get the error message “parameter is incorrect” after formatting the drive, it is likely that the storage device is permanently damaged. If so, the device cannot be repaired or used.

You can try to recover your files from the damaged USB stick. We also have a comprehensive guide to extract files from an empty hard drive† Check them out and let us know if you need help.

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