External drive not showing up or not detected? 6 repair attempts (2023)

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Removable drives such as USB flash drives, SD cards, and external hard drives should be easy to use with your computer. However, in some cases, you may connect your hard drive to a Windows computer or other device with a USB port and find that the external hard drive does not appear.

There are several possible causes for this issue: partitioning problems on the external drive, using the wrong file system, a dead USB port, or driver problems in Windows. In the worst case, the drive itself may be dead.

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Let's take a look at what to do when your external hard drive doesn't show up in Windows.

1. Make sure the external drive is turned on

These are preliminary steps, but worth considering. Almost all flash drives and many external hard drives do not need a separate power supply - they are powered via USB. However, some external desktop hard drives have dedicated power cables or at least a physical power switch.

If this is the case and your external hard drive is not showing up, there may be a problem with your device's power cable. Try plugging it into another outlet or replace the power cord (if possible). Before continuing, check for signs of activity, such as a blinking light on the drive or a hum of movement inside the drive.

If you see no sign that the drive is working no matter what you do, the device may be damaged. make sure you knowSigns that your hard drive is failingSo if this happens again, you can catch it early.

Assuming your device is turned on but still not showing up, check the following points in order.

(Video) How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up

2. Check the drive in Disk Management

First, you need to check if Windows detects the drive when you connect it. Connect the removable drive to your computer (if you haven't already).

then opendisk managementtool. To do this, press itwin + x(or right-click the Start button) to open the Power User menu and selectdisk managementlist. You can also openrundialogueWin + Rand enterdiskmgmt.mscOpen this utility.

External drive not showing up or not detected? 6 repair attempts (1)

As the name suggests, Disk Management allows you to view all the hard drives connected to your computer. it makes youCheck disk size, partitions and other information.

You should see your external drive in the Disk Management window, probably under your primary and secondary drives. Although it does not appear in thethis computerSince it contains no partitions, it should appear here asremovableSound volume.

External drive not showing up or not detected? 6 repair attempts (2)

If you see the drive here, skip to section 5 below. There, you'll partition and/or format your drive properly so Windows and other devices can access it.

If your external drive still doesn't show up in Disk Management, move on. You will need to determine why your drive is not recognized. You may be experiencing hardware issues, driver issues, or a dead drive.

3. Try another USB port and computer

The reason your external drive is not detected may not be your device, but the port you use to connect it to your computer.

Unplug the drive from its current slot and try plugging it into another USB port on your computer. If it works on one USB port but not the other, the USB port may be dead. LookHow to diagnose and repair a dead USB portIf you doubt this.

If you connected the drive to a USB hub, try connecting it directly to the computer. Some USB hubs cannot provide enough power to external drives.

What if the drive still doesn't show up in Disk Management after trying these two steps? It can be difficult to determine if the drive is faulty or if there is something wrong with the computer. If there is another computer nearby, try plugging in the external drive to see if it is detected.

(Video) [EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE NOT SHOWING UP] 5 Ways to Fix Hard Drive Not Detected Issue

If the drive does not work on any computer you plug it into, the drive is probably bad and needs to be replaced. When testing another machine, don't just checkthis computerMake sure you check that it appears in your computer's Disk Management window, as above. Even if it works, if the drive doesn't have a volume recognized by Windows, it may not show up in File Explorer.

4. Troubleshoot device drivers

If the drive shows up on other computers, or if you don't have another computer nearby to test it, Windows may have a driver problem with your device. You can verify this using Device Manager.

you will find a shortcutdevice managerat the samewin + xThe menu mentioned above. You can also enterDevelopment Management Tools.mscOpen it in the run dialog.

In Device Manager, expand itHard drivecategory and check for devices with a yellow exclamation point next to them. better controlUniversal Serial Bus ControllerFestival too.

If you see an error symbol for any entry, there is a driver problem with the device. Right click on the device in question, selectcharacteristicand see below error messagedevice status.This information can help you solve the problem.

External drive not showing up or not detected? 6 repair attempts (3)

we have exploredHow to fix "This device cannot start (code 10)" error.alsoFix "Unknown USB Device", which provides good steps for troubleshooting driver problems. If these drivers don't solve your problem, there are some more general steps you can take, although driver problems can be difficult to resolve.

If the problem occurred recently,try performing a system restoreRevert changes. If that doesn't help, you can right-click on the affected device in Device Manager and use itdriver updatebutton to install the updated driver.

However, this rarely finds new drivers for generic devices like flash drives. Instead, you may want to check the manufacturer's website for the specific driver for your external hard driveGuide to updating Windows driversAsk for more help.

heconduitThey appear incharacteristicEach device's menu in Device Manager has some additional options.reverse driverIt will roll back any recent driver updates (if any), which probably won't have any effect if System Restore doesn't work.

As a last resort, you can useuninstall deviceRemove the device from the system. After restarting, Windows will reinstall the driver and hopefully set it up correctly when you reconnect the drive.

(Video) How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac? [6 Methods]

External drive not showing up or not detected? 6 repair attempts (4)

5. Create a new disk volume

If your device previously appeared in Disk Management in #2, or one of the troubleshooting steps above caused Windows to detect it, you're ready to initialize the drive so it can be used. In addition to displaying basic information, Disk Management can also repair a drive's partitioning and file system problems.

If only your removable drive is shownindisposedspace, you will need to create a new partition in it. This allows Windows and other operating systems to use the device. To create a new partition, right-click anywhere on the partitionindisposedspace selectionnew simple volAnd follow the wizard to create a new partition.

After partitioning the drive, you should be able tothis computerpanel and use it normally.

External drive not showing up or not detected? 6 repair attempts (5)

If your drive is partitioned (meaning it contains more thanindisposedspaces) and you still don't see it anywhere else in Windows, make sure it has a set of drive letters. This should happen automatically, but if you manually remove the drive letter for any reason, the volume may not be accessible to Windows.

To change the drive letter, right-click on the removable drive partition and selectChange drive letter and path.If the device does not have letters yet, clickAdd toand select one. If you do, click onChangeand try another one.

something after the alphabet, likegramThei, is standard on removable drives and works great. Avoid preceding letters such asONEYesdo, has been reserved by Windows for other purposes.

After changing the drive letter, it may be necessaryshow all drives on this computerto make sure it appears.

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6. Format the external drive

If the drive appears to be partitioned, but Windows still can't access it, it may be partitioned with a different file system.

For example, you may have formatted your drive with the ext4 file system on Linux or APFS on Mac. Windows cannot read these file systems. Therefore, you need to reformat the driveFile systems that Windows can access, such as NTFS, exFAT, or the old FAT32, so that Windows recognizes it.

To reformat the partition in the Disk Management utility, right-click and selectForm.

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External drive not showing up or not detected? 6 repair attempts (7)

NoticeFormatting will delete all files on the drive, so you should copy any important files on it to another device before proceeding. If the drive has been formatted for use on a Linux or Mac computer, transfer it to a computer running that operating system to back up the files before formatting.

When formatting, you can optionally give the drive a new name. permissionallocation unit sizeasPredefined;protocolrun a quick formatChecked is also fine. Most importantly, you need to choose oneFile system.Which one you should choose depends on the type of disc and your usage.

External drive not showing up or not detected? 6 repair attempts (8)

What file system should I choose for my external drive?

If you have a small flash drive, it can be formatted asFAT32 format.Despite its age, this file format is still used in small storage devices due to its wide compatibility. However, it is not a perfect choice.

FAT32 has a maximum file size of 4 GB and only supports volumes up to 2 TB. You're less likely to experience these issues with flash drives, but they're still limitations. The main reason to use FAT32 is that it works with almost any device, such as cameras, media players, game consoles, etc.

exFAT, on the other hand, is the more modern successor to FAT32. It's not as common as FAT32, but it doesn't have the file size limitations of the older format. exFAT was also faster in the test.

Therefore, we recommend using exFAT for small removable devices such as flash drives, unless you have specific compatibility reasons for using FAT32. We haveComparison of FAT32 and exFATIf you are interested in learning more about the differences.

Another option isNTFS file system.This is the modern standard file system for Windows, but there is no benefit to using it on a flash drive. Many older devices do not support NTFS and it has a lot of overhead, which is not necessary on smaller drives.

It is good to use NTFS for large external hard drives used only with Windows computers. But if you plan to use the drive on other machines, choose exFAT.

Now your external drive is recognized and displayed again!

Following this procedure should resolve most drive recognition problems you'll encounter when your external hard drive doesn't show up. If you've tested the drive on multiple computers and it never appears in the Disk Management window after following these steps, the drive may be inactive. You could take it to a computer repair shop to have it checked, but at this point, you can be sure it's burned out.

(Video) How To Fix External Hard Drive not showing up or detected in Windows 10

Fortunately, there are many good options for replacing external drives that don't cost much.


How do I fix my external hard drive not detected? ›

Here are a few troubleshooting steps you can take to remedy the situation, before you declare everything has been lost.
  1. 1. Make Sure It's Plugged In and Powered On. ...
  2. Reboot Your Computer. ...
  3. Try Another Cable, Port, or PC. ...
  4. Update Your Drivers. ...
  5. Enable and Format the Drive in Disk Management. ...
  6. Clean the Disk and Start From Scratch.
Oct 21, 2022

Why is my PS4 external hard drive not showing up on my PC? ›

The fact is that PS4 hard drive does not appear in Windows Explorer as PS4 uses a format that Windows cannot recognize. To make the PS4 hard drive work in Windows, you need to change the file system format of the PS4 hard drive on PC.

Why is my external hard drive not showing up? ›

Try plugging your external hard drive into a different USB port on your computer, to see if this makes a difference. It may help to restart your computer if this doesn't work, since this should "refresh" your ports if they're acting up.

Can you recover a failed external hard drive? ›

Yes, it is possible to recover data from a dead external hard drive. There are options for both physical and logical types of disk damage. The key factor for logical damage is to get your computer to recognize the broken device so you can use recovery software to recover files from the dead external hard drive.

How to fix a corrupted external hard drive without formatting? ›

How to Recover Corrupted External Hard Drive Without Formatting
  1. Method 1: Scan Your Computer for Viruses.
  2. Method2: Use CHKDSK to Fix File System Errors.
  3. Method 3: Replace Corrupted Files with SFC.
Feb 24, 2023

How do I reset my external hard drive on my ps4? ›

Go to Settings > Devices > USB Storage Devices. Select the USB storage device to format and choose Format as Extended Storage.

How do I fix a corrupted hard drive? ›

Methods to Fix Corrupted Hard Drive
  1. Go to Computer/This PC >> Select Hard Drive >> Choose Properties.
  2. Select Tools >> Error checking >> Check now >> Check local disk >> Start.
  3. Shut down all open and running programs >> wait for the system to check upon the next boot >> restart the PC.
Mar 9, 2023

How do I fix corrupted data on ps4? ›

Fix 1. Delete the Corrupted Data Manually
  1. Go to "Settings" > "System Storage Management" > "Saved Data" > "Media Player".
  2. Enter into the Media player folder. ...
  3. Press the "Options" button and delete the saved corrupt data file.
  4. Now exit. ...
  5. Delete the downloaded file. ...
  6. Retry downloading the file.
Feb 22, 2023

How do I regain access to my external hard drive? ›

External Hard Drive Access Denied Error and How to Fix It
  1. Method 1: Switch Computers and Check the Cable.
  2. Method 2: Change Permission for Accessing External Hard Drive.
  3. Method 3: Change the Drive Letter.
  4. Method 4: Check Disk Utility.
  5. Method 5: Format.
Dec 29, 2022

How do I know if my external hard drive is corrupted? ›

Common symptoms of hard drive corruption include:
  1. The drive is completely inaccessible.
  2. Sluggish performance.
  3. Missing files.
  4. 'Blue screen of death' (BSoD) – [this can happen if the drive in question contains operating system files]
Apr 7, 2022

Is My external hard drive Dead? ›

Generally, you will find the dead USB drive in one of the following situations: The USB drive is not recognized/detected by Windows at all. The external hard drive shows "Online" in Disk Management but you cannot access its files since the partition shows RAW or is lost.

How common is external hard drive failure? ›

The high initial failure rate can be chalked up to manufacturing defects. Every batch of hard drives will have a few lemons. After that, the failure rate levels out to 1% per year. This is explained by random drive failures.

Can a corrupted external drive be recovered? ›

If your external hard drive gets corrupted, you can fix it with Windows repair tools. Open This PC, right-click the drive that has bad sectors, and choose Properties. Go to the Tools tab. Click Check to check and repair the bad sectors on your external hard disk.

What to do if external hard drive is corrupted and unreadable? ›

5+ Fixes for "The Disk Structure Is Corrupted and Unreadable" Error
  1. #1. Unplug and Re-plug the Corrupted/Unreadable Device.
  2. #2. Check and Repair Disk Errors via CHKDSK.
  3. #3. Reinstall Disk Drivers.
  4. #4. Format Drive.
  5. #5. Recover Data.
Mar 23, 2023

How to use command prompt to repair external hard drive? ›

Type cmd (Command Prompt) in the Start menu search bar, then click Run as administrator. Type chkdsk and hit Enter. CHKDSK will scan for drive errors and let you know if it found any you should repair, but it won't try to fix them without a command.

How do I uncorrupt my external hard drive PS4? ›

Below are some basic troubleshooting on fixing a PS4 corrupted database.
  1. Fix 1: Delete the game and reinstall it. ...
  2. Fix 2: Delete corrupted downloads. ...
  3. Fix 3: Clean the game disc. ...
  4. Fix 4: Update the software. ...
  5. Fix 5: Restore your PS4 software licenses. ...
  6. Fix 6: Start the PS4 in safe mode and rebuild the database.

How do I factory reset a corrupted hard drive? ›

Right-click Start and click Disk Management. Right-click the volume of your corrupted hard drive and select Format. Ensure Perform a quick format is selected and click OK. Click OK again to confirm the action.

Why does an external hard drive get corrupted? ›

Hard drive data corruption can occur due to mechanical component issues, software errors or even electrical events. Serious data corruption is more likely with larger files than with smaller files, since larger files take up more physical space on a hard drive's platters.

Can a failed hard drive be repaired? ›

Hard drive repair is possible, but they should not be reused after a recovery! Of course, HDDs can be repaired! However, a repaired HDD should not be reused, but rather, have its contents recovered immediately and then be discarded as it cannot be trusted to work into the future.

Can you recover data from a corrupted PS4 hard drive? ›

Connect your PS4 hard drive to the computer. Choose PC Recovery mode from the homepage. All storage devices will be detected and listed on the right panel. Select the exact PS4 drive you want to restore data from and hit “Scan” to start the scanning process.

Will initializing PS4 fix corrupted data? ›

Choose Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software)

This would start re-installation of the OS. After initialization (installation) process is complete, PS4 will restart automatically. The “Corrupted Database” error should be fixed.

Can a dead hard drive be recovered? ›

It's definitely possible to get data from a dead hard drive. However, the drive must be recognized by the operating system and displaying the correct size. If these two conditions are met, you can attempt recovery using data recovery software.

What kills an external hard drive? ›

Overheating is well-known to kill any electronic device after some time. If an electronic device is under a heat strain for a long time, it will eventually give out. With a lack of proper ventilation, it will overheat.

What is the average life of an external hard drive? ›

The average lifespan for an external hard drive, assuming no physical damage occurs, is around 3-5 years, depending on the make, model and conditions it is stored in. If you're using an external hard drive to back up your data, you might want to consider replacing it every few years to ensure your data is safe.

How do I know if my hard drive is fried? ›

Here are the most common hard drive failure signs:
  1. Overheating.
  2. Strange sounds.
  3. Corrupted data, files, and folders.
  4. Major slowdowns.
  5. Stuck spindle motor.
  6. Frequent error messages.
  7. System crashes.
  8. Blue Screen of Death.
Nov 19, 2021

What is the lifespan of a 2tb hard drive? ›

The simplest answer is that they can run smoothly for three to five years. This means any HDD, whether it's external or inside of a system. Asking about the longevity of an external enclosure—a metal or plastic housing designed to cover and protect a disk drive from damage—is a different question altogether.

Why did my hard drive suddenly stopped working? ›

Mechanical or Internal Failure

Mechanical failure in your hard drive can occur due to moving parts, malware or virus attack, bad sectors, improper power supply and so on. These reasons could lead to hard drive failure or damage and data corruption.

How do I get my PS4 to show up on my computer? ›

Launch PS Remote Play app on your PC or Mac, and then select Sign In to PSN. Sign in with the same account that you use for your console. When you select Settings, you can configure video quality settings for Remote Play such as resolution and frame rate. Select PS5 or PS4.

Can you use the same external hard drive for PS4 and PC? ›

When you connect your PS4 hard drive to your PC, your PC won't be able to read the hard drive because of encryption and other features ment to protect the PS4 content (mainly game data) from illegally getting copied. So it's just no use trying to do that.

Why is my external hard drive not showing up in disk Utility Windows 10? ›

Update Your Drivers. If the external hard drive is connected to the computer but still can't be detected in Disk Management, it may be caused by the outdated driver, or some errors exist in it. You should update your external Hard Drive drivers to fix the issue.

How do I enable external hard drive on PS4? ›

Visit Settings > Storage and hit the Options button on your controller to show a new menu. Select Application Install Location here, and set it to Extended Storage. This will configure your external drive as the default save location.

How do I recover my PS4 hard drive? ›

Here's how to achieve PS4 hard drive recovery through backup.
  1. Log into your PS4 console > go to Settings menu > Saved Data and Game/App Settings.
  2. Move to Saved Data (PS4) option > choose Cloud Storage.
  3. Navigate to “Download to Console Storage”.
  4. Select the game files you need to recover > choose Download.

How to rebuild a hard drive on a PS4? ›

Press the PS button on the controller. Select Rebuild Database from the menu. This scans the drive and creates a new database of all content. This operation may take a while depending on the type and number of data items.

Why is my PS4 on but not showing anything? ›

The HDMI port the console is plugged into might be broken. If your TV screen is black but you can hear sound coming from PS4 games or the system, this could be the root of the issue. Check the PS4 HDMI cord for damage. If you can't see any visible damage, try a new HDMI cord and plug it into the PS4 and TV.

How to connect PS4 to PC without USB? ›

The Bluetooth Method
  1. With the DualShock 4 turned off (you'll know by the deactivated light bar), press and hold the PlayStation and Share buttons for three seconds until the light bar starts double flashing.
  2. Access the Bluetooth menu on your PC via the system tray.
  3. Click "Add Bluetooth or other device."

How do I get my PS4 out of safe mode without a computer? ›

Unplug your PS4 for about 20 minutes.

If your PS4 is not booting up properly, power off your PS4, unplug it and disconnect the power cord. Wait about 20 minutes and plug it back in. Power it back on and see if your game console is able to boot up normally.

Are all external hard drives compatible with PS4? ›

What should you look for in a PS4 hard drive? Interface type: Any USB 3 drive of almost any size will work; 250GB is the minimum capacity and a whopping 8TB the maximum.

Can you swap external hard drives between PS4? ›

Turn off your PS4. Unplug your external hard drive. Plug your external hard drive into the new PS4. Turn on the PS4.

Can I use a used external hard drive for PS4? ›

You can use any external HDD that has a USB 3.0 connection. The PS4 and PS4 Pro will address up to 8 TB of storage. I used a Seagate 5 TB Expansion drive and the process went very smoothly.

Why is my hard drive not showing up on anything? ›

If your new hard disk is not detected by or Disk Manager, it could be because of a driver issue, connection issue, or faulty BIOS settings. These can be fixed. Connection issues can be from a faulty USB port or a damaged cable. Incorrect BIOS settings may cause the new hard drive to be disabled.


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