[Solved] External Hard Drive Not Showing Up or Detected in Windows

[Solved] External Hard Drive Not Showing Up or Detected in Windows
Content :

The external hard drive not showing up issue is one of the most common issues of disk storage. Actually, there are two manifestations to consider:  external hard drive does not showing up in Disk Management Windows 10, and the external hard drive is not recognized in Windows 10/8/7.

In this post, you will learn the possible causes as well as the solutions for this issue.

External Hard Drive Not Showing Up in Disk Management

If your external hard drive is not showing up even in Disk Management, you need to figure out the reason. Usually, you can try the followings to identify the issue:

  1. Connect the external hard drive with another USB port.
  2. Connect the external hard drive with another USB cable.
  3. Use another USB drive/external hard drive and connect it to your computer.
  4. Connect the external hard drive to another computer.
  5. Check if the hard drive is detected and enabled in BIOS.

Doing the above helps you make out if your external hard drive has failed or not. If the drive has already failed, you need to use another one.

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External Hard Drive Not Showing Up in This PC

Most of the time, external hard drive not showing up means the external hard drive is not showing up in This PC. This is more complicated but you can find a way to fix it.

#1. The External Hard Drive Has No Partition

Before you can save data to a hard drive, you need to create partitions on it. Before creating, you need to choose a partition style to that drive. Therefore, check out if the external hard drive does have an MBR/GPT partition table and a partition on it.

If the external hard drive is shown as Basic & Unallcated, this indicates that there is nor partition created on it. In this case, you need to right-click on the Unallocated space, choose New Simple Volume and follow the wizard to create one.

create a new partition in Disk Management

If it is shown as Unknown, Not initialized,  right-click on it and choose Initialize. Then in the pop-up window, choose a suitable MBR partition style. Take care that if your external hard drive has more than 2TB storage space, choose GPT to make full use of it. Finally, create new partitions on it by following the wizard.

initialize hard drive

If your situation is different, move on to find other solutions.

#2. The Partition on the Drive Has No Drive Letter

A drive letter is a single alphabetic character starting through A to Z and is assigned to a physical computer drive or drive partition.

Without a drive letter, Windows won’t display it in This PC. Thus, if external hard drive not showing up in This PC, check out is all partitions on it have a drive letter and assign one to the partition that has no drive letter.

To do this:

Right-click on the partition without a drive letter and choose Change Drive Letter and Path from the context menu. Then click Add and then choose an available drive letter from the drop-down box. Finally, confirm the change.

change drive letter and path

#3. The Partition on the Drive Has Unsupported File System

To use a partition normally, the drive letter is not the only determinant. You should also check if it has a recognized file system in Windows.

Windows can recognize FAT (12/16/32), exFAT and NTFS file systems without errors. But if the partition on the external hard drive has a different file system such as Ext (2/3/4) or RAW file system, it will not showing up normally and refuse access. Therefore, you need to do the formatting.

This is much easy to perform, but before you start, be aware that formatting will definitely lead to data loss. So, please make out if there some important files saved on the drive. If you do have, external hard drive data recovery should enjoy high priority.

Now it is time to format the external hard drive. Just select any partition that has an unsupported file system, choose Format, choose NTFS and then confirm the formatting.

format external hard drive

When the format completes, check if the external hard drive not showing up Windows 10 issue persists.

#4. The External Hard Drive Has Hidden Partitions

This is much similar to the external hard drive has no drive letter but is different in fundamentally. Indeed, a hidden partition has no drive letter, but the cause is the hidden partition type ID.

In Windows 10 Disk Management, you only have the option to delete a hidden partition. Therefore, you had better search for reliable disk partition manager software to help you unhide that partition.

#5. The External Hard Drive Has Lost Partitions

This is more difficult, for it involves indispensable partition recovery or data recovery as long as you need the data saved in, which usually costs some money.

Disk Management won’t help in this case, so you need to find a data recovery program to help you recover lost partitions or you need to consume data recovery which takes more time and effort.

#6. The Drivers Are Outdated

To support your disk, Windows offers hard drive drivers and your hard drive manufacturers also release some drivers.  If the driver is outdated or problematic, your external hard drive won’t show up.

So you can try to disable or uninstall the driver and then enable/reinstall. If you are not familiar with the process, use a professional driver tool to help you fix external hard drive not recognized Windows 10.

Tip: update your driver is very useful in dealing with Windows hardware issue. It also works to resolve DNS Server Not Responding error.

Here are some useful solutions to resolve external hard drive not showing up error in Windows 10. Click to tweet

Wrapping Things Up

Above are the possible causes and the corresponding solutions to fix external hard drive not showing up Windows 10. If you are having trouble finding your external hard drive in Windows, have a try. And we want to hear your voice no matter if they are useful or not. Leave us comments below to share your thought.

External Hard Drive Not Showing Up FAQ

🖥️ Why is my hard drive not showing up?

Hard drive not showing up can be caused by faulty connection, missing partition, no drive letter, hidden partition, or faulty hard drive.

🖥️ What do I do if my hard drive is not detected?

First of all, you should check for the connection. Then make out if it is detected in BIOS and successfully recognized by Windows. Finally, go to Disk Management utility and find out what makes the external hard drive not showing up.

🖥️ Why can’t I access my external hard drive?

If you cannot access your external hard drive, it is possible that the hard drive is corrupted, has unrecognized file system, or you are not permitted to access that drive.

🖥️ Can HDD be repaired?

Both external hard drive and internal hard drive are likely to fail. If there are bad sectors on the hard drive, data recovery should be given the top priority before you send it to the repair. However, if a hard drive is badly damaged, it is hard to revive and you need to purchase a new one.