Why is my WD external hard drive suddenly no longer recognized by Windows?
Question by kadi /

My WD external hard drive just suddenly stopped being recognized by my computer while I was watching a movie. The light still comes on and it doesn’t make any clicking noise, but it just doesn’t show up on my computer anymore.

I’ve tried initializing it, but it keeps saying “the media is write protected” and wouldn’t let me. So I’m really confused on what to do in order to fix this problem.

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Answers (15)
  • Thomas

    I dont know how or why my external HDD is not working. Its just been 2 months. Its a WD Elements 2 TB HD. The power light keeps blinking. The most annoying thing is that there is no reaction on my computer. I can’t do any diagnostics since it doesn’t show up at all. Looking for constructive support. I tried changing the USB wire and switching off the power and many other combinations.

    • Bruce Epper

      Does it show up under Disk Management; perhaps saying it is offline? If it is there but offline, just right-click on the drive and select Online.

    • Thomas

      Nope it does not show up on Disk Management and Device Manager. If it was appearing as something I could use some diagnostic to see what caused this.

  • Azamfaiyazul2009

    Why is my external hard drive recognized, but not shown under My Computer?

    • ha14

      1) Right-click on “My Computer” then Click on “Manage”
      2) Double-click “Disk Management” You will probably see WD Disk
      3) Right-click in the left portion of that drive box WD Disk
      4) Click “Initialize” and “OK” in the next dialog box. Wait few seconds and it should now say “Online” in the box.
      5) If there is no assigned drive letter, right click on the big space of your WD hard drive then choose Assign drive letter or Change Driver Letter and Path

    • Juanmllion

      It worked perfected. Mahalo!(Thank you in hawaiian)

    • mm12

      ha 14 You my friend are a legend, I spent all day trying to get my wdbcc to work again on my comp. Cheers bro :)

    • santiago

      I tried that, but when I assigned a letter is telling me that is not initialized, when I tryto initialized is telling me that is writte protected. So I go no where? Any suggestions?


    Hello, have you tried the Data LifeGuard Diagnostics tools provided by western digital to check their drives?  It could not hurt to try.  Visit the next link and choose the drive you have.  There should be the tool mentioned above for your model. 

    Have you tried connecting drive to a different USB port?  Have you tried connecting it to a different computer?  You could also uninstalling the USB drivers and restart your system.  Once system restarts, USB drivers would be reinstalled and you could try to see if drive is recognized.  Other than that, followed the suggestions from previous poster.

    • Delilah

      my external hard drive also stopped working,did the same as kadi’s one,but i got the “USB Device Not Recognized” message. I plugged it in a different port and even tried different computers.suggestions please

    • Susendeep Dutta

      Have you tried Fidelis’s advice fully like trying Data LifeGuard Diagnostics tools,uninstalling your external HDD drivers and reinstalling it?

    • Oron

      The error you are getting may indicate one of three things:
      1. A physical (hardware) fault with the hard disc
      2. A problem with the driver (software on the PC)
      3. Not enough power reaching the hard disc.
      I’d start by trying the hard disc on another PC (if a desktop PC, plug into one of the sockets at the rear, they tend to have more power). If you still get the same error, then it’s a problem with drive (option 1 above). Otherwise, you’ll need to figure if it’s problem 2 or 3 and proceed accordingly.

    • Delilah

      my hard drive also just stopped working and keeps giving me the “USB Device Not Recognized” message. The light goes on and everything but now sound, nothing. I tried plugging in different ports and even different computers and I get the same message.suggestions please.


      Hello, does your external drive come with warranty? If it is still within the time limit, you might be able to exchange it. I know that doing this way, you will be unable to retrieve any of the data in it but it is a possibility. You could try, entering safemode in your computer and see if it is recognized that way. To enter safemode, keep pressing the F8 key at start up and select safemode from the menu. Once you are in safemode, make sure to connect drive and see what happens.

      When you connect your external, do you connect it to its own outlet? or do you use a power bar? Try connecting it directly to its own outlet. There is also the strong possibility that the external drive’s hardware is compromised.

  • Anonymous

    go to device manager and look for yellow exclamation point beside a device, if it is there then right click on it and choose uninstall. Then reboot pc and plug in WD hard drive.

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