5 Easy Ways to Fix External Hard Drive Not Recognized in Windows


Is your external drive is not recognized by Windows? If you are wondering how to make your unrecognized external hard drive show up on Windows, here are the best workarounds. Not only that you will also find solutions to get back your important data from the external drive using most trusted and best methods explained in the article.

When external drive is not showing up on your Windows computer, you might think that all your important documents files, photos other data cannot be accessed. Nevertheless, with the help of the methods explained you can easily get back your data and fix the external not recognized by Windows issue.

Before looking in to the measures to fix the issue, it is always good to know the reasons that are causing the trouble. When you know the causes, it might help you to fix the error more efficiently.

Why external drive is not recognized by Windows?

There exist many possible reasons that cause external hard drive to not show up on your Windows, here are a few major reasons listed:

  1. Windows update plays an important role. If your disk drives are not updated, this could cause the external USB drive to go undetected.
  2. Unsafe handling or removing of the external drive might cause damages on the drive and makes it unrecognized.
  3. Logical damages cause file system corruption or corruption on the drive that leads to the error.
  4. Sudden power surge, viruses and file system corruption, damage in the file allocation table could also lead to the error.

You may come across the error “USB not recognized” when your drive is not showing up on your computer. Do not panic, try the methods given below based on the cause that might have been caused the error.

If your external hard drive is not is recognized on my computer but showing up on Disk Management, you can fix the issue without any data loss situation. What if your external hard drive is not recognized by disk management too? Do not worry, you can still have your important files back by using a most trusted and safe External drive data recovery tool.

SFWare External Hard Drive Data Recovery tool helps you to recover the data from the drive that is not even recognized by the Windows. The tool’s excellent search algorithm searches every sector to find the lost, corrupted or formatted data from the drive. Also, it supports recovery from all types of external USBs such as Buffalo, Western Digital, etc and file formats including RAW. 

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It is always appreciated if you secure your data from the unrecognized drive at the first hand and try fixing the issue later.

How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up or Recognized on Windows?

Before trying any other methods to fix the issue with external hard drive, try these basic workarounds:

Check the cable and try external drive on different PC. If your Windows doesn’t recognize the USB drive on different computers, there might be a problem with the cable. If the external drive is recognized on the other system, the problem could be with the 1st PC’s drive ports.

If your drive is still unrecognizable follow the next methods shown here:

1: Update the Disk Drivers

As mentioned earlier this could be one of the main reasons for any error related with USB drives. Therefore, updating the drivers could help you fix the issue.

Step 1: Press Windows Key + X → Select Device Manager

Step 2: Find the Disk drives section → expand it.

Step 3: Check for the yellow exclamation mark, if you find any next to the drive, there might be the issue with the driver.

Step 4: Now, you can update the driver by right-clicking on it.

Step 5: Select Search automatically for driver software.

Windows will automatically search the appropriate driver online and install it. Once the process completes, check for the error. If you still encounter the error move on to next method.

2: Change the Drive Letter

Step 1: Press Windows Key + X together → Select Disk Management from the menu.

Step 2: Find the external hard drive in Disk Management →  Right-click and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.

Step 3: A current letter of your external drive appears on the new window.

Step 4: Click Change → choose a new letter for it.

(Assign the letter that is not assigned to any of the drive)

Step 5: A dialog box asking for the confirmation appears →  Select Yes to change the drive letter.

Check if the issue is fixed. If you still encounter the error try the next method.

3: Try Formatting the Drive

You need to format the external drive if Disk Management shows your hard drive is filled with unallocated space. Formatting a drive will delete all files from it, so make sure that you backup important files first.

Step 1: Open Disk Management → Right-click your external hard drive

Step 2: Select Format from the menu → choose File system type.

Step 3: Press OK. Formatting process takes time depending on your drive size, wait until your portable hard drive is formatted.

If you have not taken a backup of your data, there might be chances your data will be at risk. Do not worry. You can still recover data after formatting the drive using a trusted SFWare Recovery tool.

4: Run the Hardware Trouble-shooter

Step 1: Together press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.

Step 2: Now, navigate to Update & Security section.

Step 3: Select Troubleshoot from the menu on the left. In the right pane choose Hardware and Devices.

Step 4: Now click on Run the trouble-shooter button.

Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the trouble-shooter. Once the process completes check if the problem is still existing or not.

5: Uninstall the Problem Causing Drivers

Step 1: Open Device Manager as mentioned in Method 1

Step 2: Find your portable external hard drive, right-click it → select Uninstall device from the menu to remove the driver.

Step 3: Now click on Scan for hardware changes icon.

Once the process initiates, Windows will install the default drivers for your portable external hard drive. Make sure you update the drivers when the updates are suggested.

With the help of above-mentioned methods, you will be able to fix the problem external drive is not recognized in Windows. If you ever happen to lose data due to any of the situation. With the help of the exceptional SFWare data recovery tool, you can recover deleted, corrupted, formatted or lost data from the drive.

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