Windows Backup Error 2155348010 – The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error

Technically a Windows Backup/External USB Drive issue but it came about when trying to perform an Exchange backup.


Smaller customer running Exchange 2010 on a new deployment. They’d been having trouble setting up their backup and as a result had 30GB of transaction logs and were running low on space. Customer was trying to use a Western Digital USB 2TB HD as the backup destination. Backups would take forever on “Running Consistency Check for Application Exchange” and would ultimately fail with the following error message within Windows Server Backup:

“One of the backup files could not be created. Detailed Error: The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error”

Event Viewer would also give:

Source: Microsoft-Windows-Backup
failed with following error code ‘2155348010’ (One of the backup files could not be created.). Please rerun backup once issue is resolved.


Ran vssadmin list writers and also enabled expert level logging (Set-EventLogLevel “MSExchangeIS\9002 System\Exchange Writer” -Level Expert) but the writers all showed a state of Stable.

The backup was hanging at “Running Consistency Check for Application Exchange…” because of all the transaction logs. Dismounted database, removed logs, checkpoint file, and re-mounted. The backup would now just take much less time to fail with the same error 😦

Found the following articles that seemed to address this issue:

The issue was being caused by the fact that Windows Server Backup does not support drives with large sector size (4096 bytes) unless they support 512 byte emulation.

Information about Microsoft Support policy for large-sector drives in Windows

Drive type Support/functionality
4K native (4K logical sector size): Most of the drives larger than 2 terabytes and with a USB connection are this kind of drive. Currently not supported on any released operating system version. Contact your drive manufacturer for support.

The fix was ultimately supplied from the blog post in the second link. We downloaded and used the WD Quick Formatter Tool ( on the USB drive to format it with the non-XP compatible setting. Hopefully other manufacturers have similar tools or properly support 512 byte emulation.

Afterwards the Windows Backup completed successfully and the Exchange logs were being properly truncated.


21 thoughts on “Windows Backup Error 2155348010 – The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error

  1. Thank you for this post. I have replaced 2 drives thinking that this was a hardware issue. running the utility suggested above on my WD external drive fixed the issue.

    • I’m not aware but their support may be able to assist you. I would be hesitant to use the WD tool on another model drive as I couldn’t be sure of the results.

    • vttech, I also have a 3TB Seagate drive, and getting these same IO errors when running SBS2011 Windows Backup…my drive was able to be formatted using CompMgr as GPT drive.
      Did you ever find a fix for this problem as yet?

  2. I had to reply and say thanks. I fought for several hours trying to figure out how to use a WD MyBook Essential 3TB drive for backup of WHS 2011 Server. The I/O Error threw me off and I thought I had a USB driver issue or something. Thanks a ton for setting me straight!

  3. I brought 4 Seagate 2TB drives for rotational backup – 3 work OK and one has this error on backup. Any clues why one should be different to the other 3 ?
    If so what can I do to change this drive to be like the other 3 and work ?
    It’s not a disc error as such so I presume I can’t return the disc.

    • Not sure but I suppose it could be some kind of low-level sector corruption. First check if all drives are on same FW version. Then see if you can perform a reformat & then if that doesn’t work, a low-level reformat using the manufacturer utility (if they make one). Aside from that if the other 3 work then I would try to exchange it.

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  5. I could Kiss you!

    Worked a treat. Note i had a WD my book 4tb and i found the “WD Quick Formatter” utility under the “WD Elements Desktop” downloads page. download from here

    It was driving me crazy because i thought it was a Exchange issue as exchange was complaining it couldnt backup correctly. funny thing is i have a 2012 server using the same device working fine next to this 2008 (2011) server that wouldnt work.

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  9. Yeah, the tool did the trick 🙂

    Was strange because I was using a 4TB WD USB 3.0 drive on a 2012 server, and I need to replace a old drive on a 2008. Stops working when did the swap. Now I know Why :O

  10. Great post. Helped me finalize my solution to the problem. I bought a 6TB WD MyBook from Costco and formatted using the tool you suggested. Worked like a charm to get to 512 and the backup completed successfully and the majority of logs were truncated. Freed up 95GB of data on my Small Business Server 2008.

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