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External Hard Drive Not Recognized In Windows + Fix The Problem

External Hard Drive Not Recognized In Windows + Fix The Problem

If You Have Connected Your External Hard Drive To Your Computer Or Laptop, But You Cannot See The Content Inside It. In This Article, We Have Explained Some Of The Causes Of The Problem, How To Troubleshoot And Fix It.

The problem of not recognizing an external drive (usually a hard disk) in Windows is one of the most frequent problems that may occur to users and even lead to the loss of data stored in the drive.

It doesn’t matter if you have connected a brand new drive to the system, industry, or hard drive that you have previously related to the strategy. The problem of not displaying the external hard drive can happen.

The drive may detect on the computer, but the partitions are not shown, or it is not detected at all and does not show any reaction, which in any case can be just a minor software problem and can be fixed, or it can be a sign of hardware problems.

Among the possible reasons for not displaying the computer’s external drive are insufficient to power supply, faulty USB port, lack of drive name, old drivers, file system, and partition problems.

In this article, we will look at some of the most common reasons for not displaying the external drive on the computer and the available solutions to solve this problem. So if you are having trouble accessing your files, don’t miss this article.

What to do when the external hard drive is not shown?

If an external hard drive doesn’t show up in File Explorer, you should first make sure the drive is correctly connected to the computer and that the movement is turning on commonly.

In addition to the standard USB cable for data transfer, some hard drives use another cable (usually USB) to supply the necessary power or even a separate adapter. Therefore, check whether you have connected this cable correctly to the power source or not.

After this, you should check whether the operating system recognizes the hard drive or not. To figure this out, you need to use a tool in Windows called Disk Management.

 If you see the external hard drive as Unallocated, Not Initialized, or Offline in Disk Management, it will be easy to fix the problem of not recognizing the external hard drive.

In these cases where the external hard drive is detected but doesn’t show up in My Computer, you can fix the problem by formatting, creating a partition, initializing to MBR/GPT, or bringing the drive online.

If the external hard drive still doesn’t show up in Windows Disk Management (the computer doesn’t recognize, see, or read it), you should detect the external drive by restarting it, enabling Legacy USB Support, and using a different USB port.

The USB port you use may be out of order, and the computer cannot recognize the external hard drive. If you’re using USB 3.0, try a USB 2.0 port. Also, connect the drive directly to the computer if you use a USB hub.

In some cases, the external hard drive is not displayed due to physical damage. With all these words, now that you have an overview of the issue, follow the methods described in the article to fix the problem of not recognizing the external hard drive in Windows.

Changing the USB port or connecting the hard drive to another computer

The USB port may be damaged if the computer does not recognize the external hard drive. If the external hard drive doesn’t show up when connected via a USB 3.0 port, you can also try a USB 2.0 port to detect the movement.

Additionally, you should try connecting the external hard drive directly to your PC and see if your PC can recognize the USB drive. Not showing the USB drive in Windows 10 can also happen when the USB port’s power supply is insufficient. In this case, we advise you not to use a USB hub because some of them cannot provide enough power for the external hard drive.

Also, don’t forget to connect your hard drive to another computer or laptop in such cases so that you can find out from the beginning of the troubleshooting process whether the problem is with the computer, ports, or operating system or the pain comes back to the external drive itself.

Check the drive in Disk Management.

Sometimes an external hard drive that doesn’t show up in My Computer may show up in Disk Management. To check this issue, press the Windows + X keys and click on the Disk Management option from the opened menu.

The following may prevent the drive from being displayed:

  • Unallocated external hard drive
  • Failure to initialize the external hard drive (Not Initialized)
  • Offline external hard drive
  • Lack of letter (Drive Letter) to assign to the hard drive

Next, you can see the steps to fix the above problems.

Create a new partition for the drive

If the external drive is not partitioned, right-click on Unallocated space and select New Simple Volume.

  • Click the Next button.
  • Specify the partition size and click Next.

2- Create a new volume for the drive without partition

  • Select Assign the following drive letter and select a letter to assign to the drive from the drop-down menu. Click Next.
  • Select Format this volume with the following settings option. Use the default settings.

2- Create a new volume for the drive without partition

  • In the Volume label section, enter a descriptive name for the drive.
  • Check the Perform a quick format option. Click Next and then Finish.

After completing the steps, the system will create a usable drive space with a partition and a drive letter.

Initialize the drive

Sometimes when you connect an external drive to Windows that has never been initialized or formatted or is being used on another computer, Windows may not recognize the drive correctly. This drive is shown as Unknown and Not Initialized in Disk Management. Therefore, you can quickly initialize the drive using the following steps:

  • In Disk Management, right-click on the Unknown or Not Initialized space and select Initialize disk.

1- Solving the drive problem without initialization

  • If the drive is not already selected, select it.
  • Select the MBR (Master Boot Record) option.

Solve the problem of the drive not initializing

  • Click the OK button.

Initialize the drive using the Online disk operation

If your dream is not shown in File Explorer and appears Offline in Disk Management, you can use the following steps to fix the problem:

  • If the hard drive appears as Offline in Disk Management, right-click on it and select the Online option.

Solve offline hard drive problem

After completing the steps, you should be able to start using the memory as usual. If you can’t bring the storage online (even though it was recently available), the drive may be broken, disconnected, or not get power.

Change the drive letter.

Another way to indicate an unknown or unrecognized external hard drive is to change the drive letter.

  • Right-click on the disk partition that does not have a drive letter.
  • From the context menu, select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  • Click the Add button in the pop-up window.
  • Assign a drive letter to the partition and click OK to confirm.

Changing the drive letter and paths to identify the external hard drive

Wait a moment. The drive appears and works again.

Run the Windows troubleshooter

  • In the Windows settings panel, select Update and Security.
  • Go to the Troubleshoot tab.
  • Scroll down and select Hardware and Devices from the right side.
  • Click the Run the Troubleshooter button.

Run Troubleshooter to diagnose external hard drive problems

  • Wait for the problems to be detected. After the scan is complete, Windows will list the issues found. You should select the problem you want to fix and click Next.

Update and remove and restore the driver

If the external hard drive is not displayed on the computer, you can remove the drive in Device Manager (Uninstall or Delete). Then open My Computer or This PC to check if the external hard drive is displayed. If it doesn’t show up, you should restart your computer and check again. for this job:

How to update, remove or restore the driver

  • Press the Start + X keys and select Device Manager from the opened menu.
  • Expand the Disk drives option.
  • Right-click on the hard drive.
  • Choose one of the Update driversUninstall device, and Properties options.
    • Update driver helps to solve the problem of not recognizing the USB drive due to the device driver being damaged/outdated.
    • The option to remove the device ( Uninstall device ) removes the external hard drive driver when connected to a defective USB. It is useful when your USB driver is unstable or corrupted. After selecting it, you must remove the USB device from the computer and reconnect it after at least one minute.
    • The Properties option will help you better diagnose the error. After clicking on Properties, you can go to the Driver tab and select the Roll Back Driver option.

Finish the rest of the steps by seeing the system prompt.

Reinstall the USB controllers

  • In Device Manager, find and expand Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  • Right-click on one of the items and select Uninstall device from the context menu.
  • Click the Uninstall button in the pop-up window.

Refurbished installation Universal Serial Bus controllers

  • Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all devices under Universal Serial Bus controllers are uninstalled.
  • Restart your computer. Windows automatically installs USB controllers.

Enable legacy USB support in BIOS

Sometimes, you may find that your hard drive is not recognized in the BIOS. It may be due to Legacy USB Support being disabled.

  • Restart your computer. Press the corresponding button to enter the BIOS.
  • Go to the Advanced tab.
  • Select USB Configuration.
  • Select Legacy USB Support and set it to Enabled.
  • Exit and save changes.

Note: This process will be slightly different in different motherboards.

Disable the USB selective suspend setting

  • In Windows search, type power planChoose Choose a power plan option from the search result.
  • Next to the currently used plan, click Change plan settings.
  • Click on Change advanced power settings.
  • Find USB settings and click the + button to expand it.
  • Click the + button to expand the USB selective suspend setting.
  • Change the setting to Disabled.
  • Click Apply button to confirm and the OK button to close.

Disable USB selective suspend settings

Update motherboard chipset drivers

Sometimes, improper installation of computer drivers, especially motherboard chipset drivers, may cause this problem. We recommend you get help from the introductory training article on installing drivers. To install special drivers for your device, you must first go to the website of the computer or motherboard manufacturer and search for its model from the support or downloads section and install all the mandatory and essential drivers.

Identifying and removing computer viruses

If a virus attacks your computer, it may be affected by connecting an external hard drive to the computer and becoming inaccessible. To fix the problem, you can use Windows Defender or third-party antiviruses and run a system scan to detect the virus.

The drive will usually return to normal by identifying and removing the malicious agent. But if this does not happen, it is better to back up your drive using special software and then format it.

Unreadable drive

Suppose Windows does not recognize the external drive correctly and appears in Disk Management as Unreadable. In that case, it means that Windows is having trouble reading and writing to the industry or the movement has a hardware problem.

Suppose you have already tried the above methods to solve connection, initialization, and format problems and have not received any answers. In that case, the problem may be due to hardware failure, so you should buy a new external hard drive.

Fixing the problem of not opening the external drive

If Windows recognizes the external hard drive, it can’t open it because the file system is unknown to Windows or corrupted. When Windows doesn’t support your hard drive’s file system, you won’t be able to access the industry. For example, Windows does not support the ext4 file system (designed for Linux) and the HFS+ file system (designed for Mac).

Therefore, you will be prompted to format the disk before using it after clicking on the drive. You should know that if you select Format, all your saved data will loose. If you choose Cancel, you will encounter the message The volume does not contain a recognized file system.

In addition to the mentioned cases, the following reasons may have caused the problem:

  • The file system is damaged.
  • The drive is in RAW mode.
  • The parameter is wrong.
  • The file or directory is corrupted and cannot be read.

To fix this problem, try the following method:

  • Type cmd in the search box. From the search result, right-click Command Prompt, select Run as administrator, and click Yes.
  • * Type chkdsk /r (* for drive letter) and press Enter.

Clean the disk with the clean command

Wait for the process to complete.

Clean the disk with the Clean command

In some specific cases, the drive appears in Disk Management; But simply formatting the industry is impossible. In these cases, to restore the total capacity of your campaign, you must run the Windows clean command, which converts the movement to its raw state. It will erase everything on the drive, so only run this command if you’ve tried all possible solutions.

  • In the start menu, type diskpart and press enter.
  • When the prompt appears, type list disk and press Enter to see the disks attached to your system. Please pay attention to the name and capacity of the desired drive to be selected correctly. We used Disk 2 in this example.
  • Type select disk two and press Enter to select the disk you want to erase.
  • Type the clean command and press enter to wipe the disk. Next, you can follow the above steps to format the hard drive from the Disk Management console.

Clean the disk with the clean command


We hope this educational article has helped you to solve the problem of not recognizing the external hard drive in Windows. If you have encountered issues while performing the mentioned recommendations and methods, share your questions with users and us. Which way solved the problem of not recognizing your external hard drive? If you know of other practical strategies, share them in the comments section.

Common Questions

Is why the external hard drive not coming up in Windows?

In this situation, the connection between the hard drive and the computer may not fully establish. Also, some hard drives must have another cable in addition to the standard USB cable; If your hard drive is like this, make sure the second line is also connected.

Formatting, creating a partition, initializing to MBR/GPT, or bringing the drive online are other ways to fix the problem of the hard drive not being recognized.

How do we solve the Unreadable drive problem?

Suppose Windows does not recognize the external drive correctly and appears in Disk Management with the status Unreadable. In that case, it means that Windows is having trouble reading and writing toindustrydrive or the drive hasindustryrdware problem.