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External Hard Drive not showing up or detected in Windows

Removable disk drives USB flash drives or external hard drives ought to be simple to use. But in a few instances, you might connect your drive into a Windows PC or a different device using a USB interface and find the hard drive is not showing up. This difficulty has many potential causes: partition problems around the external drive, using the incorrect file system, lifeless USB interfaces, or driver problems in Windows. In an worst-case scenario, the drive itself could be lifeless. Try these workarounds and see if the problem of the External Hard Drive not being detected in Windows is resolved.


1. Connect or reconnect your new hard drive to the computer

1. Plug the SATA cable and power cable into the new drive.

Connect new hard drive to PC.

2. Plug the SATA cable into the SATA port on your motherboard.

Reconnect new hard drive to PC.

3. Power up the computer and you’ll likely see that the new hard drive is still not showing up.

Your new drive is not dead. To get the hard drive to show up, you must first initialize it.


2. Initialize the new hard drive

1. Go to the start menu and click on Disk Management.

Open Disk Management to initialize new hard drive.

2. Find your new disk, shown as Unknown, right-click on it and select Initialize Disk.

Initialize new hard drive.

3. Select the partition style for the selected disk – MBR or GPT, then click OK.

Complete to initialize the new hard drive.


3. Create partitions on the new hard drive and get it recognized by PC

Then you can create new partitions on the unallocated space on your new drive:

  1. 1. Open Disk Mangement.
  2. 2. Create partitions on the new hard drive to get the drive to show up on your PC.
  3. Right-click on Unallocated space > New Simple Volume > Click Next to set partition size and drive letter, file system etc > Finish.

There, you will now see that your new hard drive shows up on the computer and you can use the drive to save files and data as normal.

4. Try Another USB Port and Computer

The problem may not lie with your device, but the port you’re using to connect it to your computer.

Unplug the drive from its current USB port and try plugging it into another port on your computer. If it works in one USB port but not another, you may have a dead USB port. If you’ve plugged the drive into a USB hub, try connecting it directly to the computer instead. Some USB hubs don’t provide enough power for your external drive to function.

5. Troubleshoot Driver Issues

If the drive does show up on other computers—or you don’t have another computer around to check—Windows may have a driver problem with your device. You can check for this using the Device Manager.

You’ll find a shortcut to the Device Manager under the same Windows + X menu mentioned earlier. You can also enter devmgmt.msc into the Run dialog to open it.

Expand the Disk drives category and check for any devices with a yellow exclamation point next to them. If you see a this symbol, that device has a driver problem.

Right-click the device with the issue, select Properties, and look at the error message. This error message can help you fix the problem; you may want to perform a Google search for the error message you find.

Windows Device Manager Disk Drives

Driver problems are often tricky to fix. If the problem started recently, try running System Restore to roll back the changes.

If this doesn’t work, you can try the Update Driver button to install an updated driver. However, this rarely finds a new driver for generic devices like flash drives. Instead, you may want to check the manufacturer’s website for a specific driver for your external hard drive.


6. Disable USB selective suspend setting

If the methods as mentioned above do not yield the desired results then, try disabling the USB selective suspend setting. Here’s what you can do.

Open Power Options from the Control Panel and navigate to Additional power settings. Next, click on ‘Change plan settings’ option adjacent to your selected power plan.

External Hard Drive not detected

Then go to ‘Change advanced power settings’ and under USB settings, find USB selective suspend setting, and set it to Disabled.

External Hard Drive not showing up

Click Apply and exit.

Let us know if anything here helped you.

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