How to fix an external Hard Drive not recognized / detected ?

External drives are the simplest way to transfer the stored data from one device to another. Usually, these USB drives are easy to handle, but at times, you might face connection issue with Windows PC or any other device, where the USB port is not able to recognise the connected external drive. There could be some causes of this problem, such as driver issues in Windows, dead USB ports, partition issues on your external drive, wrong file system, etc. The worst case could be the dead drive itself. You can follow to resolve the above-explained problem applied for both USB flash drives and larger external hard drives. Here is How to fix an External Hard Drive not recognised/detected ?

External Hard Disk Drive not recognized

External Hard Disk Drive Not Recognized Check Into Disk Management?

First, determine whether Windows detects the external hard disk drive when it’s plugged into the USB port. Connect you targeted drive to your system, at times some of the external hard drives need to switch on to get activated. Moreover, some removable hard drives might have to be plugged in with some separate power cable to get access.

  1. Now, open the Disk Management, where you will be able to see all the connected external drive listed under the Disk Management window. This list includes all the connected drive, even those drives that are not appearing in your Computer window due to partition issues.
  2. If your connected drive is listed here, you need to format it correctly so that your system or other devices can recognise and access it.
  3. In case, your drive is not showing in Disk Management window then, continue to the next section to make your drive visible.

Making External Hard Disk Visible in Disk Management  

If the Windows does not recognise the external hard drive, then possibly your computer has a faulty USB port, an outdated driver, or above all you might have a dead drive.

Follow the steps to determine why External Hard Disk Drive not recognized:

Check the USB port

  • Unplug the drive from the current USB port and try to connect the drive to another USB port on your computer. If it works then, you might have a dead USB port. Or if you are using a USB hub, then try to connect the drive directly to the computer instead of as some USB hubs don’t provide enough power to run the external drive.
  • If still the drive doesn’t appear in the Disk Management even after skipping the USB hub and connects it directly to another USB port, then either your drive itself is bad, or the computer is having a problem. To clarify this confusion, you need to check your hard drive is detecting or not. You can try it by connecting to different system/port.
  • If still, it doesn’t work, then also check whether it appears in that computer’s Disk Management window, if not then possibly your drive itself is faulty and need to be replaced.

Update or un-installed Driver

  • If the external hard drive does work on another computer then possibly your Windows has a driver problem. Check for the driver using Device Manager.
  • Go to under Disk drives and check the driver for all the devices next to them. If a yellow exclamation mark is there, then you have a driver problem. To update the drive right-click the device with a yellow exclamation mark, go to Properties, and check the error message. This message can surely help you fix the problem.
  • If you are unable to understand and fix the problem, then you might use Google to search the problem. In case the problem started recently, you can also use System Restore or install an updated driver using the Update Driver button. To revert any changes use the Roll Back Driver button or uninstall the device from your system using Uninstall button.

Partitioning or Formatting issues with the Drive

  • Windows Disk Management tool is used to fix the partition & file system related issues. If the drive has a partition issue and is full of “unallocated space,” then you need to create a new partition on it. You can do this using Windows operating system.
  • To initiate this, right-click inside the unallocated space and choose ‘New Simple Volume’ and follow the wizard to create a new partition.
  • If you have partitioned your hard drive properly but still not able to show, then make sure you have assigned a drive letter to access it on Windows. Usually, this happens automatically, but at times you need to do it manually when the drive does not show up in Windows with a drive letter.
  • To create a new drive letter right-click on the removable disk’s partition, choose ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths’ and add a drive letter.
  • You need to format the hard drive as NTFS if you are unable to access the Hard Drive. Some devices can’t read the NTFS file system as they only follow FAT32 file system. To fix this problem, simply reformat the NTFS partition as FAT32.

If the process mentioned above resolves most of the disk recognition issues, but still the problem persists “Hard disk drive not recognised”  by any computer, then it’s probably dead. Then you need to use a Hard Disk Recovery Services to procure the stored data from the External hard disk.

23 thoughts on “How to fix an external Hard Drive not recognized / detected ?

  1. The article is very informative, when I was using my external hard drive and connected to my laptop, it was not detecting, but when connected to the desktop the hard drive successfully detected. Now I can access my Hard Drive DATA. The article helps me to fix my hard drive issue. Thanks !

  2. My PC is not recognizing the external hard drive, I also checked into the disk management. It is not showing. I don’t know what happened with my Hard Drive. Can you please help me.

    1. Hello,
      If your external hard drive is not detecting anywhere and you also checked into Disk Management, then it may be the cause of Physical failure.
      At the stage of Hard Drive Physical failure, you have no option except replacing Hard Drive. And you need to go for data recovery services to recover your data stored in hard drive.

  3. Great Article. But I need to know that what is the cost of Hard Drive recovery? I heard that hard drive recovery is a little bit costly. Is it true?

    1. Hi Vijay,
      No, it is a myth. The cost of data recovery depends on many factors such as the condition of devices, devices type, how much data you want to recover, etc. So that first we do media analysis and provides all estimation to the customer. Moreover, we perform data recovery after customer approval.

  4. My Hitachi external hard disk is not detecting by the system, also not showing in Disk Management section. Please give me a solution how can I recover data from my undetected hard disk.

    1. Dear Priyanka,
      There can be many reasons a hard drive not detected, you can check it with service center. As you said your hard drive is not detecting in Disk Management can be problematic. May be you have to compromise with your data.

  5. this is nice & informative blog.. My External Hard Drive was not recognized, i feared for the worse… but this article helped me fix the hard drive. I had formatting drive issue.. thank you very much

  6. My Seagate external hard disk is not detecting on PC or Mac – in Windows not show up in disk manager, but it shows up in Device Manager.
    Any possibility for data recovery from this drive – and what is your or market cost criteria for data recovery. Please also let me know if you are open on Saturdays and Sundays so that I can visit you to get my drive checked.

    1. Hi Vivek,
      It seems like you have tried for the possible solution. But still, your hard drive is not Detected. Yes, we can recover data from an external hard drive not detected.
      The cost of data recovery is not fixed, and it depends on various factors such as devices type, the size of data, how you lost data etc. You can submit your hard drive for analysis. Our Data recovery experts will do the analysis of your hard drive and provide you best possible solution.
      We are open on Saturday. Drop your media at your nearest location: https://www.stellarinfo.co.in/company/contact.php

  7. Hello,
    I have tried all the possible option given here but still unable to see my data. Please let me know if any other free option is available ?

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for recommending our blog to solve your hard disk problem. As it seems no free solution available except above, I will recommend you to get in touch with the data recovery service provider. It can be bit costly, but you will get upto 100% data. Remember do not apply hit and try methods that may be prone to further data loss.

  8. I have Seagate external hard disk it is not showing but on Computer Management it is showing as “Unidentified Partition” also showing its space that is 935 gb. This partition colour is Black and other partitions colour is Blue which are working. Please tell me what to do?

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