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What to do when the external hard drive is not recognized by your Windows 10 PC?

External hard drives such as USB drives, memory sticks, pen drives etc, are widely used data storage devices. It’s very annoying to see your Windows 10 PC not recognizing the external hard drive, especially when you want to access the important data from the drive.

External hard drive not recognized

Many users have reported that their Windows 10 machine often fails to recognize the USB drive, especially after the updates. If you’re experiencing the same issue with your Windows 10 PC, here’s how to fix it.

Before we jump to the solutions, let’s first understand why your the external hard disks are not working on your Windows 10.

Why External Hard Drive is not Showing Up on Your Windows 10?

Most likely, it is due to the outdated or broken driver software. But, here are some other reasons why your Windows 10 computer won’t show external hard drive:

  • Hardware issue with your PC’s USB port
  • Driver problem with Windows PC
  • Dead drive
  • The hard drive isn’t initialized
  • The hard drive is hidden
  • Raw or unsupported file system
  • Virus attack and many such related issues

These were a few common reasons causing problems with recognizing the external hard drive in Windows 10.

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Now, let’s see the best possible fixes for this problem.

Related Reading: 5 Methods to Fix “USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Not Showing Up” in Windows 10

Fixes for: External Hard Drive not Showing Up or Recognized in Windows 10

The solution for a non-recognized external hard drive on Windows 10 depends on the reason. There are a number of different methods for different causes.

1. Run the Hardware Troubleshooting

The first method you should apply is to run the hardware troubleshooting feature, a built-in Windows 10 feature. Let’s see how to do it:

  • Go to the Search menu and type Troubleshooting
  • On the Troubleshooting Window, select and click on Configure a device

Run the Hardware Troubleshooting

  • A pop-up window appears. Now, click on Next and follow the easy instructions on the screen

Run the Hardware Troubleshooting

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This is one of the basic methods to find out the issues with your external hard drive and fix them.

2. Update the Drivers through Device Manager

If the above method doesn’t work well for you, you can try to update the drivers and fix the issue. Follow the steps below to update the drivers, manually:

  • Press and hold Windows + R Keys together to open the Run dialog
  • In the Run dialog box, type and enter devmgmt.msc

Update the Drivers through Device Manager

  • Search for your external hard drive from the menu and right-click on the title of your hard drive and choose “Update Driver Software.”

Note: If you notice a yellow or a red sign on the external device in the list, it is highly indicating some Compatibility issues in the driver.

  • Also, update all the unknown device (if any) to keep your tools and drivers updated
  • Select “Search automatically for Updated driver software” and later follow the instructions on the screen and complete the task.

Alternatively, you can update the drivers instantly by merely downloading Driver Easy to scan and detect any issues on your PC.

3. Initialize the New Hard Drive

You may face External Hard Drive not Showing up or Recognized in Windows 10 problem if you have a brand new hard drive which needs initializing. So, to do so:

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  • Right click on the Start button and select the Disk Management option

Initialize the New Hard Drive

  • Find your new unknown disk and now, right-click on it and choose Initialize Disk option
  • Select your preferred partition style (MBR/GPT)
  • Hit on OK to finish the task

You have now created new partitions on your hard drive to make it appear on your Windows system.

How to Fix “Hard Drive Displays In Disk Management but Not In PC” Issue?

Sometimes, you may notice that the external hard drive is there in Disk Management list but doesn’t show up in the PC.  In that case, follow this method below:

1. Recover All the Data on Your Unrecognized External Hard Drive

You can simply run EaseUS Data Recovery software and scan and find existing and lost data on your external hard drive. You can also retrieve the data by clicking on the Restore button by selecting on all the lost files.

2. Format the External Hard Drive

  • Open the Run dialog by Pressing and holding Windows + R keys
  • Type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter
  • A Disk Management window appears, right-click on the hard disk partition you wish to format and select the Format option

Format the External Hard Drive

  • Set your preferred file system and cluster size and hit on OK

This method most likely views your external hard drive in the My Computer or This PC folder.

What To Do If Your Hard Drive Doesn’t Show Up In Neither Disk Management Nor Computer?

If you can’t find the external hard drive in This PC (My Computer in Windows 10) or even the Disk Management, you might need to update the disk driver and change the drive letter. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Update your Disk Drivers

First, you’ll need to update the disk drivers to make your computer recognize the hard drive. Follow the below-listed steps for this:

  • Right-click on This PC or My Computer and select the Properties option
  • In the taskbar section (on the left), click on the Device Manager
  • Now, besides the USB controller, hit on “+” (a yellow exclamation mark appears)
  • Right-click again and select ‘update driver software.’
  • A list appears, out of which click on automatically search for driver software online (Internet required)

Great! Your disk drivers are now up-to-date successfully.

2. Change the driver letter to fix the issue

Once you have updated your disk drivers, change the drive letter of your hard disk to avoid clashes which result in an unrecognized external hard drive. Follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Press and hold Windows + R Keys to open the run dialog
  • Type diskmgmt.msc and Enter
  • Place your external hard drive and right-click on it
  • Select Change Drive Letter and Paths

Change the driver letter to fix the issue

  • Assign any letter to your hard drive and hit on OK to complete the task

You can now view and use your external hard drive on your Windows 10 system.

These easy methods can fix almost all the issues related to your external hard drive on your Windows system.

If your Windows 10 PC still doesn’t recognize the external hard drive, chances are high that there might be issues with your external hard drive or USB port, connection or cable.  We suggest you check your USB port or USB cable connection.

Feel free to drop down your suggestions and queries related to this article in the comments section below.

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