External Hard Drive Is Not Showing Up on Windows

Some cases of external hard drive not showing up on computer:
1. “Hi, when I connect my Seagate external hard drive to my computer, it won’t show up in This PC, how to fix this issue without formatting it?”
2. “Hi, I can find my Western Digital external hard drive in Disk Management, but it is not showing up in File Explorer. Is there any way to fix this issue?”
3. “My external hard drive gets damaged, and can’t be recognized by my computer. Is there any way to recover my documents from it?”

It is a common error that you find your external hard drive can’t be recognized by your computer. When you encounter this issue, the first two things come into your mind are: 1. Recover data from the unrecognized external hard drive; 2. How to fix this issue so that the external hard drive can be reused without any data loss. Yes, the most important thing is keeping your data safe. In this article, we will show you some proven methods to fix external hard drive not showing up on your computer and help you recover all your data.

Some simple operations you can do to fix the unrecognized external hard drive:

  • 1. Make sure the external hard drive is plugged in and powered on. (If your external hard drive came with an AC power adapter but you haven't plugged it in, try hooking it up (and pressing the power button, if there is one). If it came with two USB plugs, make sure they're both plugged into your PC.)
  • 2. Reconnect the external hard drive to your computer.
  • 3. Change USB cable/USB port.
  • 4. Try other external hard drive on your computer or try the external hard drive to other computers.
  • 5. Restart your computer and check if the connected external hard drive could be detected.

If the 5 methods listed above can’t help you fix your unrecognized external hard drive, you can try other methods to help you fix external hard drive not showing up issue and recover your data.

Method 1. Update drivers on your computer.

When you find your computer can’t recognize the connected external hard drive, just check the disk drives. Open the Start menu, type "Device Manager" and press Enter when the option appears.

If you see any device with yellow exclamation point next to them, that device has a driver problem. You need to right-click the device with the issue, select "Update driver software" and click "Automatically search for drive software online...". When the update progress finishes, reboot your computer and then reconnect the external hard drive to your PC to see whether it can be accessed.

update drives

Method 2. Fix ‘external hard drive not showing up’ issue using Disk Management.

In most cases, the unrecognized external hard drive can be fixed by Disk Management tool. Just open Disk Management on your computer and check if the external hard drive can be recognized by Disk Management, and then find the right method to fix the unrecognized external hard drive.

Open Disk Management on Windows PC: Right click This PC, choose Manage > Storage, then open Disk Management.

Case 1. If the external hard drive has no drive letter, change the drive letter and paths.

This method is very useful when your computer can’t recognize your WD external hard drive, Seagate external hard drive or Toshiba external hard drive.

Just open Disk Management, then find the external hard drive. Right-click the external hard drive and choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths" from the context menu. If the device doesn't have a drive letter, you should click on the "Add" button in the pop-up window and choose one. If the device has a drive letter, click "Change" and try another one.

change drive letter

Case 2. If the external hard drive is unallocated in Disk Management, create a new volume.

Right-click on the unallocated space and choose New Simple Volume. Then follow the wizard to create a new volume.

create a new volume

Case 3: If the external hard drive is unknown or not initialized, initialize it.

Right-click on the unknown, not initialized disk and choose Initialize Disk from the context menu.

initialize

Case 4: If the external hard drive is offline, set online.

Right-click on the offline disk. Choose "Online" from the pop-up menu.

set it online

Method 3. Repair unrecognized external hard drive with DoYourData Super Eraser.

If you have installed DoYourData Super Eraser on your computer, you can use this data erasure & disk management software to help you repair unrecognized external hard drive. Just run this software on your computer, and click Disk Repair. If you could find the external hard drive, just click on Repair button to fix it.

Repair unrecognized external hard drive with DoYourData Super Eraser

In some cases, you are going to sell your external hard drive, just try Wipe Hard Drive mode. This mode will help you format the damaged external hard drive and permanently wipe all data from it. After erasure, the external hard drive can be reused and all data is lost forever, can’t be recovered by any data recovery software.

Repair unrecognized external hard drive with DoYourData Super Eraser

Method 4: Recover lost data from unrecognized/initialized/formatted external hard drive.

If you can’t directly fix the unrecognized external hard drive without data loss, you can try data recovery software. Here we recommend Do Your Data Recovery - a safe, powerful and easy-to-use data recovery program. It can help you:

Just follow the steps below to help you recover lost data:

Step 1. Download and install Do Your Data Recovery on your computer. Then run it on your computer.

Step 2. Connect your external hard drive to your computer, then select it to start data recovery. Do Your Data Recovery is able to find all existing, deleted or lost files on the external hard drive.

Recover lost data from unrecognized/initialized/formatted external hard drive

Step 3. Now, click on Scan button to scan the external hard drive. It is recommended to enable the advanced recovery mode to scan the external hard drive deeply.

Recover lost data from unrecognized/initialized/formatted external hard drive

Step 4. Once the scan is completed, you are able to preview all recoverable files. Then select the wanted files and save them to your computer.

Recover lost data from unrecognized/initialized/formatted external hard drive

Final Words:

External hard drives back up your most important files, but what happens when they malfunction? Now, you can follow the guide above to help you fix unrecognized external hard drive and recover all your lost data. In most cases, the unrecognized external hard drive can be fixed in Disk Management. Whether the external hard drive has been formatted or not, the data can be recovered by Do Your Data Recovery.

If your external hard drive is not showing up on Mac, read this guide: fix unrecognized external hard drive on Mac.