External Hard Drives are becoming extremely common. They are ideal for work and storing important items. They are equally easy to utilize. This is because all you need to do is connect them to your Windows PC and it will show up with ease. For this reason, lots of individuals tend to store their important items on Hard-drives so that they would be able to access them later on.
So what do you do if you face an issue like this? Well, if you are here, you are in the right place as we will be taking a look at some steps you can take when your computer is not recognizing your external hard drive.
Why Is My External Hard Drive Not Showing Up?
If your external hard drive is not showing up when connected to your computer, this can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s a matter of minor corruption, which can be resolved with a quick scan. Even Chkdsk, which is built into Windows, can occasionally resolve those issues.
In more severe cases, a disk might not be recognized due to physical damage. If the disk’s controller gets damaged, this is usually not fixable without expert assistance. And if the disk plates themselves are damaged, that disk can be written off.
Recovery is sometimes possible in specialized facilities, but chances are low and the cost is typically prohibitively high for ordinary consumers.
|External hard drive not showing up in Windows||Fix 1: Make sure the drive turns on |
Fix 2: Use Disk Management to check the drive
Fix 3: Use an alternative Windows PC
Fix 4: Use Reputed Data Recovery Tools
Fix 5: Use Chkdsk
Fix 6: Reinstall drivers
Fix 7: Troubleshoot devices and hardware
Fix 8: Format the hard drive
|External hard drive not showing up on Mac||Read our guide for fixing external drives that don’t get recognized on your Mac|
|Files on external drive are missing and/or corrupted||Fix 4: Use a recovery tool like Disk Drill to inspect the drive and attempt to recover missing files|
Ways to Fix a Drive That Won’t Show Up in Windows:
Before you begin to learn how to repair a hard disk that is not detected, you need to find out what could have caused this issue. This issue may be due to a host of factors. Some of this may consist of:
- Making use of the incorrect system file
- An issue with your driver on windows
- Damaged USB outlets
- Damaged Hard-Drives
Fix #1: Ensure the Drive comes on
You would be surprised how easy it is to miss this obvious step. Plug in the hard drive and see if it powers on. If it does not, then there could be a problem with the Hard-Drive cable.
Fix #2: Use Disk Management To Check The Drive
Connect your hard-drive to your Windows PC. Then open the Disk Management. You can do this using:
Windows Key + X button. Then select disk management from the list.
You would also be able to view your hard-drive in the included in the Disk Management window. Even if you are unable to find it in this Window because it has no partitions, you should be able to see it a Removable.
If the drive comes up here, you would then be able to create another Volume and Assign a Drive Letter. Here, you will be able to format it correctly or create a partition. This will ensure you will be able to get into the hard-drive using your Windows PC.
Fix #3: Use an Alternative Windows PC
Try connecting the hard-drive to another USB port on your PC. If it comes up, your issue may be a bad USB port.
If you the hard-drive does not still come up on Disk Management after doing all of these, you can use another computer if you have one close to you. If this does not still work, move to the next step.
Fix #4: Use Reputed Data Recovery Tools
You can make the hard drive show up by partitioning it. This would be possible using the Disk Management tool. But, if the hard drive is battling from an issue of partition loss, you would have to create a new partition. This would allow you to recover your lost data. Here, you need to do a lost partition recovery before you do anything else.
Recovering Lost or Removed Partition
The Disk Management tool cannot restore a lost or removed partition. But you can use professional software for partition recovery and get back any volume you might have lost.
The solution also allows you to support a host of systems. These include:
To use Disk Drill for recovering your data
- Download, Install and launch Disk Drill on your Windows or macOS.
- Ensure that your external drive is plugged into your computer. Select the drive from the list of devices and click Search for Lost Data. Insight: You can choose a preferred recovery method from the available options – the Quick Scan or Deep Scan.
- The scan time will vary depending on how much data there is and how large your drive is. Once the scan is complete, click Review found items.
- Filter through the search results, find the items you wish to recover.
- Finally, choose the recovery location. Now, click OK > Recover.
Fix #5: Use Chkdsk
Chkdsk – short for CheckDisk – is a command line utility built into Windows that can help troubleshoot issues with your drives. While it often gets ignored by experts, it can occasionally help you fix an external drive that’s not getting recognized.
- Open Start, type in Command Prompt, and click on Run as Administrator
chkdsk /f X:, where X: is the letter of the drive that’s not getting recognized.
- Wait until the operation is finished (the last line should read “Total duration: XX seconds”).
Fix #6: Reinstall Drivers
Sometimes the issue could be caused by corruption in the disk’s drivers, especially if it uses custom drivers from the manufacturer. To fix any potential driver issues, follow these steps:
- Open Start, type in Device Manager, and launch Device Manager from the search results.
- Find your drive in the following screen. It should be under Disk Drives.
- Right-click the drive and select Properties.
- Go to the Driver tab.
- Click Update Driver.
- Click Search Automatically for Drivers and wait for the process to finish.
- If this didn’t fix your issue, go back to the screen from step 4, and select Uninstall Device.
- Once the disk’s drivers have been uninstalled, disconnect and reconnect it to your computer.
Fix #7: Troubleshoot Devices and Hardware
The hardware troubleshooter is a tool that comes in Windows 7 devices and above. If the flash drive is not showing up, you can utilize this tool in finding out if the device has errors.
To use it you need to:
- Hit Windows key + R.
- Type in
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnosticand hit Enter
- Click Next to initiate the hardware and devices troubleshooter.
- You apply the fix right away or later.
Fix #8: Format the Hard Drive
This may be your next option if all else fails and windows doesn’t recognize your external hard drive. There is a possibility it is partitioned in a file system windows is unable to recognize.
If you need to format a particular partition using the Disk Management Utility, launch it, right-click and pick Format.
Tips to Protect Your External Hard Drive
External hard drives should be treated with caution to avoid damaging them. Since most of them are based on regular hard disks (and not SSDs), they are very sensitive to physical damage.
Even knocking the drive around a little bit can sometimes cause irreversible damage. In addition, you should always take care to disconnect the drive properly in Windows.
- 🛍️ Take care when transporting your external drive. Keep it well protected, ideally in a soft cover that can take some damage.
- 🪢 Avoid bending the USB cable too much when using the drive, especially around the drive’s USB port. Otherwise, you could damage the port or the internal controller it’s attached to, which is often difficult or impossible to fix.
- ⏏️ Always disconnect the drive properly in Windows, using the Eject feature.
The processes above are sure to help you solve the case of a hard-drive not showing up on your PC. However, if you have tried everything above without any headway, then you most likely need a new hard-drive.