Type to search

Solved Windows Don’t Recognize External Hard Drive

You must have faced this issue, during the course of use. You plug in an external hard drive and Windows refuses to recognize it. Sometimes this could happen only with Windows 10 while all the other versions of Windows can read it properly. Here’s what you can do when facing this problem with Windows 10.

Uninstall And Reconnect The External Hard Drive

Search for the device manager and launch it. From the list of hardware, find disk drives and right-click on the external drive you are facing the issue with. Click on uninstall. Now unplug the drive, wait for some time and plug it back in. This will load the driver automatically and resolve the issue.

Run Hardware Troubleshooting

Open the search box in the start menu, search for troubleshooting and open it. Select the option of configuring a device under hardware and sound. A window will pop up, click next on it and then follow the onscreen instructions to finish the process. This will find the issues and fix them automatically. After the process is completed, see if your OS detects the external drive now.

Update The Driver

You must be aware that you can update the driver both manually and automatically. For manually updating the driver, open device manager. Launch Run command by pressing Windows and R together and type in devmgmt.msc.

In the device manager, find your external drive and right-click on it. You will find the option of updating the software driver, click on it. In the next window, select automatically update option and let device manager update the driver. If you find any unknown device in the list, update its driver as well.

For automatically updating the driver, you can download tools online. Download them and then install them. Click on scan now after launching them, and they will look for all the outdated drivers in your system. When prompted, select update all and your work is done. Your system able to recognize the external hard drive now.

Reinstall USB Controllers

If the driver for the external hard drive has become corrupt or unstable, this method will work for you. In the device manager, expand the option of Universal Serial Bus Controllers or USB controllers. Select one device, right-click on it and uninstall. Repeat this with all the other devices under USB controllers. Now restart your system, and all the controllers will be automatically reinstalled.

Disable USB Selective Suspend Setting

Right-click on the battery icon on your taskbar and adjoining to your current plan you will find the change plan settings option. Click on the link for customizing the power plan. Go to the option of changing advanced power setting and expand the option of external drive settings.

In there, expand the selective suspend settings and disable the plugged in option. Apply the changes and click ok. Before you change this setting, create a system restore point in case anything goes wrong.

Initialize New Hard Drive

If the system is still not recognizing the external hard drive, initialize the hard drive, especially if it’s new. From the start menu, navigate to the disk management option. Find the disk; it could be with the name ‘Unknown’ if it is new. Right-click on it and select initialize disk option. Now, you will need to select the style of partition between  MBR or GPT and then click ok. Your OS should recognize your disk now.

Create Partitions On The New Hard Drive And Make It Recognized By PC

You can use the unlocated space on your drive for creating new partitions. Go to the disk management and create a new partition on the new drive. Now, make this partition show up on PC. To do this, right-click on the unlocated space and go to the new simple volume. Then select next for setting up the partition size, drive letter and the file system. Now click on finish. Now your OS should recognize this partition.

Run Antivirus Scan

You can also run the antivirus scan on your system. Sometimes, a virus or malware can prevent your system from recognizing the external hard drive. You can either use antivirus software or Windows Defender. The defender is a very useful tool that comes with Windows 10. It protects your system from malicious software along with spyware, malware, virus, etc. make sure that Windws Defender is turned on in your system.

Run the thorough system scan and clear the malicious software. Also, sweep the external drive for the same. When the process is completed, and the malicious software is removed, try connecting the external hard drive again and see if this resolves the issue.

If the problem persists, try using the drive on other systems and see if they can identify it. And try using other hard drives with your OS. You will soon figure out if the problem lies with your external hard drive or your system.