External Hard Drive not showing up or detected in Windows

Sometimes our PC fails or just refuses to recognize the External Hard Drive even after confirming the successful connection. The problem occurs mostly when the device driver is either corrupted or outdated. Such problems can be quite tricky to fix. You can spend hours but find no solution. Try these workarounds and see if the problem of the External Hard Drive not being detected in Windows is resolved.

External hard drive not showing up

Before you begin unplug the external hard drive from the port and insert it into another port. If it works, maybe your first post is dead. Alternatively, use another USB and check. If it works fine in both ports, perhaps your USB is dead.

Run the Troubleshooters

The first thing you want to do is run the Hardware and Device Troubleshooter and the Windows USB Troubleshooter and check if it helps. The automated tools check the hardware/USB connected to the computer for any known issues and fix them automatically.

You could search for them via your Start Search, or you can access these Troubleshooters via the Windows 10 Settings Troubleshooter page.

Update or Reinstall the device driver

To do this, go to Device Manager by pressing Win+R together to open the “Run” dialog, enter devmgmt.msc. Next, locate the external device from the list. If you see a yellow/red sign appearing against the driver, right-click on its name and select “Update Driver Software…”. Also if you find any “Unknown device”,  update it too. Select “Search automatically for updated driver software” and then follow the instruction to finish the process.

If this does not work, uninstall and then reinstall the driver.

This post will show you how in details to update or reinstall device drivers.

Create new partition on your removable drive

If you never connected your hard drive to your PC earlier and are trying to connect it for the first time, then, the drive may not be detected since you do not have any partitions created for it. However, the same may be recognized by Windows Disk Management tool. So, verify if Disk Management tool can locate the external hard drive.

Open Disk Management tool, go to Search, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter. If the external drive is found listed in the Disk Management window, simply format it properly, so that it shows up next time you connect it to your PC.

If you see that the drive is unpartitioned or unallocated, the format and then create a new partition there and see.

If you need detailed explanations, then this post shows how to create a new Partition using Disk Management Tool.

Disable USB selective suspend setting

If the methods as mentioned above do not yield the desired results then, try disabling the USB selective suspend setting. Here’s what you can do.

Open Power Options from the Control Panel and navigate to Additional power settings. Next, click on ‘Change plan settings’ option adjacent to your selected power plan.

External Hard Drive not detected

Then go to ‘Change advanced power settings’ and under USB settings, find USB selective suspend setting, and set it to Disabled.

External Hard Drive not showing up

Click Apply and exit.

Let us know if anything here helped you.

If you need more ideas, see these posts:

  1. USB Devices not working in Windows 10/8.1
  2. USB 3.0 External Hard Drive not recognized
  3. USB Device Not Recognized
  4. Windows 10 does not recognize second Hard Drive.
Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.