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External Hard Disk Drive Not Recognized – How to Detect?

Published By Raj Kumar
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On December 12th, 2023
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading
Category Hard Drive

External hard disk drives probably might be the simplest of all ways for transferring any of the stored information from one particular device to another. Mostly, such USB external HDDs are very easy to handle. However, there is a time when you are likely to face connection issues with your MS Windows OS machine or even any other devices where USB ports are not able to detect these connected external drives. Sometimes, you face an issue where this external hard disk drive not recognized.

External Hard Disk Drive Not Recognized

Table of ContentHide

Is Your External HDD Visible in Disk Management?

  • First and foremost, you must find out whether your Windows OS is detecting your external HDD while it is plugged into your system’s USB port. Connect your targeted HDD to your machine, because sometimes some external drives need to be switched on to activate them. Also, some other removable drives might even need to be plugged in using some separate power cables to get access.
  • Once done, you now have to open the disk management utility. In this, you can view all of the connected external HDD listed under the window of the Disk Management tool. This list would include all of the connected drives, even the ones that were somehow not appearing in the system window earlier due to any sort of partition issues.
  • Now, you need to see whether your connected drive is there in the list, and then you can format that fully so as to get it recognized by your PC or even other devices and at the same time make it accessible.
  • However, if, in case, your drive does now show up in the list of the Disk Management window, then you can move further to the next set of procedures.

Read More: How to Fix Microsoft Windows Detected a Hard Disk Problem?

How to Make the External HDD Visible in disk Management?

If your system does not recognize an external HDD, then it is quite likely that your computer might have a faulty USB port or maybe an outdated driver, or worst of all, your HDD might be dead.

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You can download this utility on Windows OS. To recover deleted files from Seagate External hard drive, the program performs a quick scan of the storage device and views the recovered data with the following attributes: file name, size, type, creation date, and modification date.

Read More: How to Recover Deleted Partition from Hard Drive?

Steps for Determining What the Real Problem Is!

  • First and foremost, you must check the USB port of your system. For this, you must first unplug your hard disk drive from the USB port in which it is currently plugged and try connecting it to another one. If this works, then it is quite possible that the port you were using is a dead one. In the case of USB hubs, try connecting your external HDD directly to some other machine instead, as even some USB hubs do not get enough power for running these external drives.
  • If the drive is not appearing in Disk Management still, even after you have skipped the USB hub to connect that directly to some other USB port; then your drive is either bad in itself or it is your computer that is having problems. To clarify the confusion, you can connect the HDD to another machine and check if it is actually detected.
  • Even after following this workaround, if the HDD stops responding, then you must check if that appears in your system’s Disk Management window, and unfortunately, if it does not, then maybe your drive itself is faulty and needs to be replaced.

Also Read: Hard Disk Formatted by Mistake

Partitioning and Formatting Issues with the External HDD

The Windows Disk Management utility is a tool that is used for fixing partition and file system issues. If your drive has partition issues and has a lot of unallocated space, then you must create a fresh partition there. Steps for this go as under:

  • Using the Windows OS, right-click inside the space that is unallocated
  • Here, you can choose the ‘New Simple Volume
  • Then, carefully follow the instructions in the wizard for creating the new partition
  • If the drive is properly partitioned and still not showing, then ensure that you have set a drive letter for accessing it on the MS Windows OS
  • In most cases, this process happens by itself; however, sometimes it is needed to be done manually in the case where the Hard Drive is not showing up on Windows with the drive letter
  • For creating a new drive letter: Right-click on the HDD’s partition >> Then, choose ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths’ >> After that, add a drive letter
  • If still nothing works, then maybe it is formatted as NTFS.
  • Some devices do not read NTFS and only FAT32
  • So, you can fix the problem by reformatting NTFS to FAT32.

Final Verdict

There can be multiple causes when your external hard disk drive not recognized.  In this post, we have provided you with a reliable solution to fix this issue. By doing this, if you lose your data, you can use the automated tool.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I fix Windows not recognizing my external hard drive?

Let’s say Windows doesn’t recognize your external hard drive. In this case, there are several methods that will help solve the problem. Some of them:

  1. Make sure you have connected your device to the USB port correctly.
  2. Use Disk Management to check the disk.
  3. Generate a partition or assign a new drive letter.
  4. Troubleshoot hardware and equipment problems.
  5. Format your hard drive.

Q: Why isn’t my external hard drive showing up?

There could be several reasons why your external hard drive is not showing up on your computer. Some of them:

  • Your drive has damaged hardware components; its performance may be affected.
  • If you have outdated or corrupted drivers installed on your hard drive, you will encounter compatibility issues.
  • If the hard drive is not receiving enough power or is not connected to the appropriate USB port, it will not appear.

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