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External drives — either USB flash drives or external hard drives — should be easy to use. In some cases, you may connect your drive to a Windows PC or another device with a USB port and find that it’s not recognized. This problem can be caused by partition issues on your external drive, using the wrong file system, dead USB ports, driver issues in Windows, or other problems. In a worst case scenario, the drive itself may simply be dead.

The steps below will be the same for both USB flash drives and larger external hard drives, which work similarly.

Does the Drive Show Up in Disk Management?

First, let’s check whether Windows detects the drive when you plug it in. Plug your removable drive into your computer. If it’s an external hard drive, you may have to flip a power switch on the hard drive to activate it. Some heavy-duty removable hard drives may even have to be plugged in with a separate power cable before they’ll work.

Next, open the Disk Management tool. To do so, press Windows Key + R, type diskmgmt.msc into the Run dialog, and press Enter.

open-disk-management-tool

You should see your external drive listed in the Disk Management window. Even if it doesn’t appear in your Computer window because it doesn’t contain any partitions, it should show up here.

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disk-management-removable-drive

If you do see the drive here, you can continue to the last section where we’ll format it properly so Windows or your other devices can access and recognize it.

If you don’t see the drive here, continue to the next section where we’ll try to determine why your drive isn’t recognized.

Making Windows Recognize the Drive

If Windows doesn’t see your drive at all, it’s possible there’s a hardware issue with your computer’s USB port, a driver problem with your Windwos computer, or you may just have a dead drive.

First, unplug the drive from your USB port and try plugging it into another USB port on your computer. If it works in one USB port but not another, you may have a dead USB port Dead USB Port? Here's How to Diagnose and Fix It! Dead USB Port? Here's How to Diagnose and Fix It! When your USB port stopped working, did you just plug your device into another one? Well, you might need that port one day! The fix could be easy, so let's give it a try. Read More . If you’ve plugged the drive into a USB hub, try connecting it to the computer instead. Some USB hubs won’t provide enough power for your external drive to function.

If the drive doesn’t show up in Disk Management even after you skip the USB hub and connect it to another USB port on your computer, it’s tough to know for certain whether the drive itself is bad or the computer is having a problem. If you have another computer nearby, try plugging the drive in there to check whether it’s detected. If the drive doesn’t work on any computer you plug it into — be sure to check whether it appears in the computer’s Disk Management window — the drive itself is likely dead How to Diagnose and Fix a Dead Hard Drive to Recover Data How to Diagnose and Fix a Dead Hard Drive to Recover Data Several years ago, I experienced a hard drive failure. I was at work when my laptop suddenly started to act particularly strange. About half an hour later, the hard drive failed audibly and the laptop... Read More and will need to be replaced.

If the drive does work on other computers — or you don’t have another computer around to test this with — Windows may be having a driver problem with the drive. You can check for this using the Device Manager.

To open it, press Windows Key + R, type “devmgmt.msc” into the Run dialog, and press Enter.

open-device-manager

Look under Disk drives and check for any devices with a yellow exclamation mark next to them. If you see a yellow exclamation mark, you have a driver problem. Right-click the device with a yellow exclamation mark, select Properties, and look at the error message. This error message can help you fix the problem — you may want to perform a Google search for the error message you find.

device-manager-removable-drives

Such problems can be tricky to fix. If the problem started recently, you may want to run System Restore What You Need To Know About Windows System Restore What You Need To Know About Windows System Restore Imagine the trouble you could find yourself in, if your system failed! The Windows System Restore feature could save your butt. This article explains how to create and use Windows restore points. Read More . You may want to use the Update Driver button to install an updated driver, use the Roll Back Driver button to revert any changes, or use the Uninstall button to uninstall the device from your system and hope that Windows will reinstall the driver and configure it correctly when you reconnect the drive.

usb-device-properties

Partitioning and Formatting the Drive

We can use the Windows Disk Management tool to fix partition and file system issues with the drive. If you see that the drive is unpartitioned and is full of “unallocated space,” you’ll want to create a new partition on it. This will allow Windows and other operating systems to use it.

To do so, right-click inside the unallocated space, select New Simple Volume, and go through the wizard to create a new partition.

create-partition-on-flash-drive[4]

If your drive is partitioned and you still can’t see it, ensure you’ve set a drive letter so you can access it in Windows. This should happen automatically, but if you’ve manually unset the drive letter, the drive may not show up and be accessible in Windows.

To do this, right-click the removable drive’s partition, select Change Drive Letter and Paths, and add a drive letter. For example, add the letter G: and the removable drive will be accessible at drive G:.

give-partition-a-drive-letter

If the drive does appear to be partitioned, it may be partitioned with the wrong file system. For example, you may have formatted the drive with the ext4 file system from Linux or the HFS Plus file system from a Mac. Windows can’t read these file systems. Reformat the drive with the newer NTFS file system or older FAT32 file system so Windows will be able to recognize it.

To reformat a partition, right-click it, select Format, and select your desired file system.

Note that this will erase all the files on your drive, so you’ll want to copy any important files off of it first — for example, if you formatted the drive on a Linux or Mac computer, take it back to a computer running Linux or Mac and copy your important files off of it before continuing.

format-a-partition

If you can’t access the drive from another device, such as a DVD player, smart TV, game console, or media center device, it may be formatted as NTFS. Many devices, even Microsoft’s own Xbox 360 Using Your Xbox 360 As A Media Center - Is It Worthwhile? [Opinion] Using Your Xbox 360 As A Media Center - Is It Worthwhile? [Opinion] About two years ago I decided to "cut the cord" on my television service. Or to be more precise, I decided to switch cords - moving my entertainment needs from my cable to my Internet... Read More , can’t read the Windows NTFS file system. They can only access drives formatted with the older FAT32 file system. To fix this problem, simply reformat the NTFS partition as FAT32. The drive should then be recognized by other devices when you connect it to them.

Note that this process will erase the files on your external drive. Copy the files off the drive to back them up first, if necessary.

format-removable-drive-as-fat32

Following this process should solve most of the disk recognition issues you’ll encounter. If a drive isn’t recognized by any computer you connect it to and never shows up in the Disk Management window, it’s probably dead.

Have you ever had to do any of the things here to fix an unrecognized external drive? Leave a comment and let us know what worked for you!

Image Credit: Vincent Wei on Flickr

  1. John Challinor
    December 5, 2016 at 7:56 am

    I still need help please. In this instance my external hard drive particulars are as follows:
    Seagate Expansion Desk SCSI Disk Device
    I have formatted the drive on my Windows 7 PC. It works well there!
    When I put this same drive into my Windows 10 PC it is now recognized.
    I followed your above instructions up to and including going to Device Manager > Disk Drives > and found the 'seagate expansion desk SCSI Disk Device'. I then r/clicked >Device Status "this device is working properly".
    I'm an 81 yr old pensioner, I can't afford another external hard drive especially when it works well on Windows 7. Can you help please?
    John C

  2. Nels
    December 3, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Very helpful. Thanks!

  3. Toply
    December 3, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Turns out it was the Hard Drive cable that was the issue. Try it with a different USB cable to see if that works.

  4. Yassine Laaroussi
    December 2, 2016 at 6:05 am

    My external hard drive shows up in Device manager but not in Disk Manager, any idea what that means?

  5. saurabh
    December 1, 2016 at 3:16 am

    it worked.....mine was showing healthy partition(online). I first deleted the volume and formatted it.

  6. Sandy
    November 30, 2016 at 2:56 am

    What, where is "the Windows key"?
    Why do all of you always start with at least the second step, even the third or fourth?

  7. Aishvarya
    November 29, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Hi, I tried entering diskmgmt.msc into the run window, but that isn't opening up anything. I have a 1tb ext hard drive that shows up on my computer, but doesn't work as a USB device. It's driving me crazy

  8. Antanas
    November 22, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks! This instruction really helped. Thumbs up

  9. Psycho Elvis
    November 19, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

    I've been to probably 20 sites, even Microsoft and Windows troubleshooting, AND Sony. I have a tiny little Sony flash drive 8 GB and you're instructions are the only one's that worked. Everyone else kept saying the same thing that wasn't working.
    Appreciate ya.!!!

  10. Teju
    November 16, 2016 at 9:58 am

    It's really worked.
    Thanks a lot for given a nice solution .

  11. Keith
    November 12, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    None of these steps work. The drives don't even show up in the disk manager so I cannot rename the drives. The drives are not broken because I have tried two different drives, one brand new, tried every one of the 10 USB ports on my computer. The computer detects a usb thumb drive no problem though, it is just external harddrives. They haven't worked since I updated to Windows 10.

  12. Sammy
    November 12, 2016 at 10:40 am

    i tried to do all of the steps to detect the drive but i still cant access it. I plugged it into my friends computer and it had no problems. and i used a different usb to check if the port was broken. any suggestions?

  13. Sarah
    November 11, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    This actually worked. I just needed to change the letter path on my external ssd after I reformatted it like 3 times for the computer to recognize it again.

  14. Dani
    November 1, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    My ext HDD is visible, but is not being detected. I don't want to format it as it contains extremely important data. Is there any way i can repair it without formatting it?

  15. Leoquaz
    October 31, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    i have change the letter
    it shows no media at diskpart - list disk
    i cannot format the flash drive with ANY program
    i run out of ideas
    all the USB ports are fine
    AND
    the flash drives are working fine in other devices (Smart tv and stuff)?

  16. Joshua Magee
    October 31, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    It was my fault for not reading the whole article first, but you may want to mention at the start of the article that renaming and formatting it will delete everything on the harddrive. I was not aware that that would happen and uh, ya i lost everything

  17. Eshan
    October 26, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Can the steps be followed for a hard disk.And how much time does it take to format.How does one tell that a port is dead??

  18. Aditya Kulkarni
    October 24, 2016 at 10:54 am

    My ext HDD is visible, but is not being detected. I dont want to format it as it contains extremely imp data. Is there any way i can repair it without formatting it?
    Awaiting reply.
    Thank you.

  19. J.P.
    October 23, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    GOD BLESS YOU! This was driving me NUTS!

  20. vani
    October 22, 2016 at 6:02 am

    hi there!

    Really useful information.

    I had solved my problem.

    Thank you so much.

  21. Mahin
    October 21, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Thankyou so much

  22. WinonMac
    October 20, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Does the author have a Boot Camp installation on a Mac? It looks totally like mine. Note that everything except C: has no file system listed.

  23. Guy Gilbert
    October 19, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    My external hard drive is nearly full and is readily recognisable on my Windows 8.1 system but not on Windows 10. Are you telling me I have to format the drive to be able to see it on Windows 10?

  24. Praneeth
    October 16, 2016 at 11:01 am

    thanks a lot, it worked :)

  25. Julie
    October 15, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    great info BUT mine says it's healthy, is already on a path(E). I downloaded all from a computer that is now in repair and my old computer won't read it, so now what?

  26. Craig
    September 30, 2016 at 3:36 am

    Every other forum and bit of info google found never worked! Tried this and 'Hey Presto' first time! Re formating as i write this!.. only thing is i lost all my data on my hdd!8( so greatfull for your time in writing this artical! Much lv n respect max kudos!
    Craigy-lif4hacker. Forever eternily greatful!

  27. omar gardabbou
    September 26, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    thank you that helped me a lot :)))

  28. Larry W
    September 16, 2016 at 3:33 am

    Thank you for taking the time to write this guide. My smart tv recognized my external hard drive, but my laptop didn't. I have a lot of important files on that drive. Luckily, I tried uninstallation. When I plugged it in for reinstall, it's now working on my devices. Thanks again.

  29. Emmanuel Frank.
    September 12, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    thanks for help..i manage it.

  30. Emmanuel Frank.
    September 12, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    A lots of thanks to you brother Chris Hoffman for your guide, I was having a problem with my external hdd...I just follow your article above and now my external hdd is working well.

    have a nice moments.

  31. Christopher Cormier
    September 7, 2016 at 3:51 am

    So I tried this and none of my USB ports are working. Oddly, my USB keyboard and mouse are and just today my External Harddrive and my 64gb USB just stopped working at all...

  32. rajendra
    September 3, 2016 at 7:47 am

    thanks..

  33. mark
    August 28, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    i also have problem with my external drive(buffalo hd-pntu3).instead that my computer will read the external hard drive is being read as cr rom.pls i need an anwers on this. thanks hope you can tell me the answer. mc_mc_1008gmail.com thanks

  34. Jim
    August 28, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Thank you!!

  35. Yeah2
    August 27, 2016 at 6:02 am

    Still not recognize. Mine's WD My Passport Ultra 1TB

  36. Jon
    August 26, 2016 at 2:50 am

    You might consider warning people about the risk of erasing all of their data higher up on the page.

    I followed your advice step by step and lost all of the files on my external drive, only THEN to see the warning that this would happen.

    This has now cost me two days of work while my computer was being used by an IT person to retrieve the files, as well as whatever he will charge me for doing so.

    • J
      October 7, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      So..understand...if drive is not recognized uhmmm. How are we going to save files..i bought the thing to be the backup.. crazy..hope it works when i get home.

  37. Sujatha Sadhasivam
    August 24, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Currently, this hardware device is not connected to the computer. (Code 45)

    To fix this problem, reconnect this hardware device to the computer. . I tried to reconnect many times...but not successful

  38. Sujatha Sadhasivam
    August 24, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Earlier my external drive was detected and using for a while,now it is not showing up. I checked in diskmgmt. What should I do now. Seggate 500 , with dell insprion 15

  39. Noah
    August 22, 2016 at 4:20 am

    My hard drive works now but the terabyte of data I had on there has vanished. The HDD is also split into 4 different sub-folders now. HELP........

  40. ALEC
    August 21, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I FOLLOWED THE STEPS, BUT STILL MY HARD DRIVE IS NOT RECOGNIZED IN THE DISK MANAGEMENT! COULD YOU PLS HELP? ITS A VERBATIM 500GB EXTERNAL DRIVE.

  41. aa
    August 20, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks a lot. Really helpful.

  42. Rabih ABOU-CHAKRA
    August 15, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Excellent, very well explained, and very efficient, Bravo!

  43. joe
    August 14, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Flash Drive was already formatted FAT32. Any other ideas? It is recognized on my other desk top computers.

  44. Brian Probetts
    August 4, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Brilliant! Solved the problem in the easiest way - Many thanks.

  45. Idan
    August 3, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    You are great. I though my HDD was corrputed, but this helped fixed it.
    Thank you.

  46. Dianne
    August 2, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Thank You for your help. Awesome, it's fixed. My LG G4 was suddenly not being recognised by my pc, I had to reinstall the driver, windows did it automatically when I followed your instructions. THANKS YOU :)

  47. Jason
    July 31, 2016 at 2:47 am

    Thanks! Just what I was looking for. External HDD wouldn't show up but now all is well.

  48. laurent
    July 30, 2016 at 4:59 am

    is it my things will be format?

  49. Robert
    July 26, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Very interesting, but I only got half way as when I R/Click on the drive the menu is Grayed out except for "Properties and Help" then I get a message saying (Cyclick Redundancy Check) whatever that is, so job stopped again ;-)

  50. abel
    July 26, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Thanks a lot the information I got here helped me a lot in trying to recognise my hard drive..

  51. TFtigerGeek
    July 19, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    I can see the portable HDD in windows 7...no problem.

    But, when I use a flash drive UFD using Windows PE, to attempt to capture an image, it does recognize the Portable or any other USB drive...in order to CAPTURE the image.
    Thoughts?

  52. edchombeau
    July 10, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    I simply clicked the the "esc" button on startup; and chose the 'system diagnostics";let it do its thing-----and that fixed it

  53. geordie boy
    July 2, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    All you need to do is right click 'my computer' 'manage' 'disk management' your disk should be there. Allocate it a drive letter higher than M, I used S for seagate, worked a treat for me.

  54. Karla
    June 29, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    OMG you saved my bacon. I had to assign a Letter to the drive. I have avoided using my personal computer for months because of this problem.

  55. LynnL
    June 28, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    I bought a laptop 2.5 drive and put it in to an external case. I didn't realise when I bought it that it wouldn't work straight away and it needed formatting and partitioning. Your details were so easy to follow.

    thank you

    Lynn

  56. jacob bohnenkamp
    June 23, 2016 at 12:02 am

    i had my drive working the way i wanted it working but our power went out and was unable to acces it anymore via my xbox one. I have tried these steps as listed, but my console will only recognize it as a media drive.

  57. Yash Aggarwal
    June 18, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Thanks it work ...but only problem come that i have to format the drive and lose my all nesscary data

  58. Akilesh
    June 12, 2016 at 4:47 am

    It shows up in the disk management but not letting to create new simple volume, that option is not highlighted. or not letting me to click on it.

    • Greg
      June 15, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      If the volume is cross hatched as mine was since it was one formatted in Ubuntu; I simply deleted the volume, and started over - worked the second time.

  59. D A kounas
    June 8, 2016 at 6:11 am

    I have a SanDisk Removable Flash Drive. it was preformatted to FAT32 system. I was hoping to use it to install Windows 10. iwas told to format it to NTFS. Well, i did. Now my pc doesn't recognize it.Your article was of no help at all.

  60. custodiokarlo
    May 27, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Thanks much! It worked. :D

  61. Mark
    May 26, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Windows 10 on HP Envy. I have an external DVD player that is USB plug and play. The problem is that when I plug it in it is first recognized (at least it sees something) and then it goes away (with the corresponding sound).

    In Disk management you can see the device appear and the disappear every 30 seconds or so. The same thing happens in the device manager section. Windows says the drivers are up to date. I have 4 USB slots and I have tried them all with the same results.

  62. Mr. Boi
    May 26, 2016 at 4:22 am

    Hi, Thanks for your great idea But my External HDD memory is not show. How to do ?

  63. Terry Anders
    May 20, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Brilliant. Exactly what I needed. Thanks!

  64. Casey
    May 19, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    I followed all the instructions and got it to recognize it but you didn't give the warning that it would completely wipe out my hard drive until after all the steps. I lost years worth of photos because of this one step I did. I'm completely devastated.

  65. Garth
    May 17, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    I followed the above instructions and was able to format my external hard drive and make it useful again. Thanks!

  66. Amir
    May 12, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    thank you.
    the flash disk is really old and cheap. but I was happy to restore it.

  67. Cherry Rose
    May 9, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    This is utterly useless.

    All this "you'll see it here". No I wont. I've now got 2 external drives (from different companies, different ages etc) that are not even seen by windoze. I've got a Linux dual boot AND a windows virtual machine on there, both of which see both external drives without a problem. "update the driver software" HOW WHEN M$ DOESN'T EVEN SEE TI?!?! What tit also thought it was a good idea "format the drive instead yeah great idea, 2 1TB harddrives that are backup drives to use on both boots lets format them so that sh1tty windows can finally see the now empty and useless drives. What a cr4p article.

    • Xander
      May 23, 2016 at 10:38 pm

      Cherry, I would recommend using chkdsk in Command Prompt as Admin and then using the following parameters on the drive: /f (fixes disk errors) /r (recovers readable information) and /x (dismounts the drive for a thorough check).. The command looks like as follows:

      chkdsk D: /f /r /x

      Substitute D for wherever your Non-Readable drive letter is.

      • alfredo
        May 26, 2016 at 11:49 pm

        when I enter the command mentioned above nothing will happen and appear what should i Do?

  68. Hubert Liu
    May 1, 2016 at 5:01 am

    Put some bloody warnings I just wiped my hard drive LIKE IT MATTERS IF U WARN THEM AFTER THE INSTRUCTIONS MAYBE PUT IT BEFORE IT

  69. Emmy
    May 1, 2016 at 2:45 am

    Fixed my Seagate external drive thanks to your guidelines - though initially couldn't follow every move exactly, I was able to discover the options required for my particular case. Thank you!

  70. Shane
    April 27, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    I read all the above and none of it worked. I didn't try assigning letters and all that crap as I didn't want to be transfer stuff off my hard drive to wipe it clean. stuff that. So I figured, I know, download windows 10.

    PROBLEM SOLVED.

  71. Dustin
    April 27, 2016 at 12:30 am

    I've been trying to fix a bricked 320 GB Seagate drive... Fixed it in literally 5 minutes following you're detailed instructions. THANK YOU!!!!

    • nathan
      April 28, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      What did you do to fix the drive? I've got a bricked seagate too. I'm trying to follow the steps but nothing is working.

  72. Adil
    April 26, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    My laptop was not detecting my external hard drive in File Explorer, so I went into disk management where a pop up asked me to initialise my hard drive. Unaware of consequences, I just clicked Yes and then later I unplugged the hard drive, while the process was still going on (I guess it was). That made my hard drive to go to GPT Partition. It shows healthy but on right clicking, all the options are blocked, except for Help option. I still can see the hard drive in Disk Management but not in explorer. I'm using Win 10. Please help me recover the hard drive, if possible, without loosing data.

  73. Litiane
    April 25, 2016 at 12:39 am

    I did all the instructions written but the flash drive still not working. There is a note appear that the flash drive is working properly but it can't open when i click on it.

  74. Rismint
    April 20, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    I have a brand new BTO laptop, the usb ports aren't dead, the drive itself ís on, but the laptop doesn't recognise the drive, it's not in Disk Management ór Device Manager. It did work on my previous laptop and I always remove the drive safely. What do I do now?

    • Rismint
      April 20, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      I also want to note that I'm not really tech savvie besides looking things up on pages like these, and English is not my first language, so please, use simple wording.

  75. Srotalina
    April 17, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    My hard disk is recognised but it shows that its unallocated.on proceeding to next step,right clicking on it,the new simple volume is not showing.is it damaged?

  76. Leonar
    April 15, 2016 at 3:33 am

    I have the same problem but in my case, my Seagate external hard disk is not even showing in the disk management. Actually it was working properly a week ago but now when I connect it on my Lenovo laptop the sound that is connected and even the light on the hard disk is on but its not showing anything. I don't know what to do.

    • wout
      April 15, 2016 at 6:43 am

      Did you find a solution? I have the exact same problem with my seagate expansion (2TB).

  77. George
    April 12, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    I am making this comment because I do not see it mentioned here, and it may save some people time. If your external hard drive is more than 2TB it is probably formatted in GPT instead of standard MBR, which cannot be read by 32bit Operating Systems such as WIndows XP. (Luckily I also have a 64bit Windows 7 computer). Google "GPT versus MBR" and there are many articles on the subject. Also, there are some good format utilities out there that helped me solve the problem. I have had good luck with free MiniAide Fat32 Formatter, which analyzed my 3TB Hard Drive and allowed me to Partition and Re-Format in Windows 7.

  78. sysmark
    April 9, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    When I plug in my external hard drive the diskmgmt.msc stop response. And when I try to unplug the external HD the one window appear to format the HD, I try to format but can not.
    But the same hard drive when I use with old iBook G4 laptop its working.

  79. Masud Shorif
    April 8, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Going into the disk management and then formatting did the job for my ssd drive.

  80. Nayab
    April 7, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Even i got some problem with my external hard disk. I have lots of data in my disk. But my laptop is not detecting the drive. I followed all above suggestions. But its not showing any external drive. Please someone help on this and save my data.

    • Imoniche
      April 17, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      Hi Nayab I'm having the same issue as you, any luck in finding a possible solution cause the faith of my business depends on it. Thanks in advance

  81. Nilliay316
    April 6, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    You mention at the end that formatting will wipe all files on the drive and that they should be backed up before formatting. How can I do this if I can't get the drive recognised?

    Trying to recover files from an old console HDD after putting it in to an enclosure case. I don't think I'm going to be successful. Anyone have any ideas?

  82. RudyB
    April 2, 2016 at 5:44 am

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for your comment. It's nice to know I am not the only one with this issue.
    I think formatting my portable hard drive for my LG TV the first time I used it might have something to do with it. I cannot be sure though - it might be a faulty product. All the tests I did with 'Data Life Guard' gave me a tick for good health.
    Cheers, Rudy.

  83. RudyB
    March 31, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Chris, Thanks for your outline on reformatting an unresponsive external drive.It was easy to follow and well laid out.
    However, when I went into disk management and right clicked the portable hard drive I am having a problem with in the dialogue box that opened ( 10 options including 'format') there were only two that I could access - 'delete volume' and 'help'.
    I'm looking into 'help' but it does not seem to cover this variation.
    Cheers and thanks, Rudy.

    • Mike L.
      April 1, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      I am having a similar problem

  84. Hitesh
    March 30, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    As u've explained, following the diskmgmnt.msc steps, that the removable drive is BLACK coloured & is showing UNALLOCATED written with it, then gets converted to either FAT or NTFS following the respective steps.....but in my case the External Hard Disk is shown to have that BLUE colour (primary partitioned) & that too it has "RAW" written with it, instead of FAT or NTFS.....What to do now,,,please help ?

  85. Leo Meyers
    March 28, 2016 at 10:56 am

    The problem I am having is that since I have installed Windows 10, when I start up my pc from "Sleep", it will not recognize "Removable Drive E (SD chip). I have to go through a "Restart" of the pc, then it will show, and view the chip. But, as soon as I put the pc to sleep, and then start back up, the drive is gone. I am running a Sony VAIO. Is there a fix for this? Best Buy's "Cheap Squad" says there is no fix.

  86. Laurence
    March 28, 2016 at 1:18 am

    Thanks heaps, my new 2nd hand drive needed to be initialized. now, how to partition it into two logical drives ? LOL

  87. Ren'z
    March 26, 2016 at 3:07 am

    Good information however you forgot to mention that it also could be the components between the usb port and the drive itself. The culprit could be the cable or the usb controller within the enclosure. This was precisely what the problem was in may case. I have installed the drive in another box think and now works just fine.

    • Ren'z
      March 26, 2016 at 3:08 am

      No edit function on this engine? Okay then I ment "thing" not "think"

  88. walter r
    March 25, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    very useful. thanx

  89. blueaxe
    March 25, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    In the diskmgmt toolbar is a "action" button where you are able to rescan the discs on your system. After a 20-second rescan, my externals and my Hot-Swap Deck always appear. No formatting necessary.

  90. David Webb
    March 25, 2016 at 5:07 am

    Of course this will erase all files on your drive, please backup files from external drive before you do this...

    Do you see The Logical flaw?

    If I could read the files I would back them up :-) the all the advice you give here is to wipe out the drive and use it somewhere else what if the two or three gigs is important information

  91. brian
    March 20, 2016 at 1:11 am

    thank you very easy to follow, wish I had a direct line to you

  92. marouane
    March 12, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    ... hello , i thank you !! :D it's works for me !

  93. Maria Jose
    March 10, 2016 at 12:49 am

    This was extremely helpful! Thanks!

  94. Frank
    March 7, 2016 at 5:56 am

    Thanks helped

  95. Karen
    March 6, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you, great instructions. I feel slightly more windows savvy now.

  96. Frank
    March 4, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    I have 20 external hard disc and almost continually errors and problems. I must press W+R: devmgmt.msc and uninstall all USB slot, except keyboards and mouse. After restarting is sometimes OK. But there is another problem with external disc with its power supply. Chinese power supply are too soft, there is not 12 V and 2000 mA, but only 9 V and 500 mA. I am angry...

  97. Mart
    March 3, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Thanks. It worked.

  98. rahul kumar
    March 2, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    i am using transcend storejet 1 tb hdd it is showning diskmanagment but not in my computer,
    when i right click on hdd in diskmagmt it show me either delete or help option i didnt find new volume option plz tell me how to get my hdd work again normally

  99. Shree
    February 27, 2016 at 1:03 am

    Great Post! Helped me in getting my HDD troubleshooting

  100. Paul Read
    February 24, 2016 at 3:15 am

    Thanks. I changed the cable and followed your instructions on another computer and I managed to get into the WD drive and copy the files. You saved me a lot of money -- Singapore about $300 !

  101. atp
    February 22, 2016 at 1:02 am

    BIG issues! This hard drive was working on both laptops just a few days ago and now... not!!!
    Not visible, to either, or the hubby's computer?!
    EVERYTHING is on here!!!

  102. Geoff
    February 21, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    hi,
    my 8gb usb won't let me do any of this as its write protected, so I can't format it.
    in disk management it says that it is Removable, 7.87Gb read Only, and it shows the primary partition is 7.87 GB RAW, Healthy (Active, Primary Partition).
    However properties say that there are 0 bytes used and free.

    Please can you help?

    I have tried removing the read only and it says the disk needs to be formatted (because its RAW?) but I cant format it because its read only

  103. Rohan Jumani
    February 19, 2016 at 6:35 am

    I have a Seagate, 1TB external HDD - it was working few day's ago, after which it had been displaying the drive under my computer. The light on the HDD is flashing blue, but I am not able to see it. I tried disk mgmnt and dev mgmnt but, it is not visible there. It has lot of important data. Please help.

  104. Niknak
    February 14, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    I have just had this problem and through your simple and clear instructions I have been able to reclaim my HDD. Cheers, Nick

  105. Liz Edsell
    February 14, 2016 at 12:51 am

    I have an external HD we've been using on Macbooks only and had been named Time Machine back-ups. I went through your steps above to add access to the external hard drive from my work laptop which is a PC. Now, when I connect the external HD to my Macbook, Time Machine has disappeared along with all of our backed up files. How do I get Time Machine back?!?

  106. George
    February 13, 2016 at 7:54 am

    For me it worked. I used a 500GB Adata external hard drive. Thank you very much, the steps were really simple!

  107. Huzaifa
    February 12, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    those answers were good , but my problem is not solved yet. my WD element 2tb hard drive fell down, it just fell from the table and there are no scratches or any particles in hard disk are moving .. my PC is able to recognize the hard drive as its showing a notification when i insert the disk but i can not see it in my computer ....Please help me i am worried

  108. sam
    February 12, 2016 at 4:57 am

    Venkat Rao, I too have a seagate free agent, and am experiencing the same issues as you. Like I can find the drive in disk management and device manager but cannot create a new path or assign a letter to the drive to open it, unless I want to format everything. My external harddrive works on other computers, but not after the windows ten update. I can see the drive, and it says working properly, but there's no way for me to open it, it seems thus far.

  109. Venkat Rao
    February 9, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    I have a Seagate Free Agent USB EHD; whenever I tried connecting to HP Stream Laptop it fails to connect. This has been happening since a few days, it used to connect earlier. It doesn't work with any of the two ports the HP laptop has. Other USB devices like flash drives did connect to this laptop. I tried connecting the EHD to the other two laptops I have, it does work fine. So the problem seems to be between the HP laptop and the EHD, something seems to have gone wrong. The device doesn't show up on the Disk drives. Any ideas please?

  110. Pedro
    February 9, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    It worked :D Thanks!

  111. Brian
    February 5, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Sorry, I had a new drive and did not need to worry about data. However, using this method you might try moving data in LINUX first or even just "mounting" the drive. I'm sure there are other options, but another OS is what really worked for me.

  112. Sunilkumar Jeerankalagi
    February 4, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Also, For that disk, it shows as "Not initialized". Kindly help if I do the initialize first and can do recovery as well?

  113. Sunilkumar
    February 4, 2016 at 5:22 am

    Hi Brian,

    I have WD Passport Hard disk. I can see the drive in the Disk Management. So the process you have mentioned here will format the Data inside the disk. So do we have any other way to have this data recovered before we do these steps. Kindly help!!

  114. Krishanth
    February 3, 2016 at 4:16 am

    Thanks a lot mate. (Y)

  115. Candy Ray
    February 2, 2016 at 3:06 am

    Update the device driver is also a workable solution. I tried to use Driver Talent to update the driver. After reboot, there was a USB icon showing up on the right cornor of the desktop.

  116. Brian Johnson
    February 2, 2016 at 2:34 am

    I also have the Seagate 1TB HDD. I tried everything. New SATA cable, switching with another drive in the computer. It shows up in the disk drive list, but not the disk mgmt. Seagate site says no jumper is needed for this drive. I have a new PC built from scratch with 3 drives. At first it wouldnt recognize the SSD, so I unplugged the other two drive to load the OS. Loaded w8.1 and the drive was not recognized there. Updated to W10, same issue. I thought bios was the issue, but it says I have three drives. How can the OS only see two drives??? This article says I may have a dead drive. What are the chances, it is brand new!

    Please help. (brjgto@aol.com)

    • Brian
      February 4, 2016 at 12:22 am

      >>>>NEW<<<>>> My SOLUTION<<<<< was to boot into a Linux thumb drive (Ubunto) and use the disk partition utility to reformat the drive. (Note: This did NOT work in W10 since it was not visible in Disk Mgmt.) I give credit to both My CS major son who provided the bootable Linux flash drive and a techie geek buddy who helped me locally solve this difficult problem. I hope others find this solution helpful. Good luck!

  117. Jaime
    January 31, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    It did not work for me.... I have a 1TB Seagate drive which I use without any problem in a Windows 7 PC and some notebooks I have.. all of them with Windows 7, both 32 and 64 bits.

    I have a míni pc with 2 USB ports and with Windows 10. The external drive was not recognized. It was not shown even in disk management.

    What may be the problem?

    • Reuben
      February 1, 2016 at 6:44 am

      Have you solved this problem? I am having the exact same issue as you and haven't found any fix.

      • dechen
        February 1, 2016 at 5:17 pm

        i think i'll have to restore system. :(

    • dave
      February 2, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      same problem here

  118. Thamie
    January 31, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Is it possible to fix my Toshiba external hardrive without formatting my data...In the Disk management area....my hardrive still shows the blue light

    • Jaime Alejandro Stuardo Bahamondes
      February 2, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      In my case, drive is not listed in Disk Management Area.

  119. AllenShepard
    January 29, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Thanks.
    SanDisk Extrem pro 240GB SSD was recognized by the hardware but not by the OS.
    It used to be simpler to format c: /s (for system files for floppies & HD)
    Now stuff is more hidden. Thank you for the help.

  120. Omkar
    January 28, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Works like a charm..Thanks a lot author :)

  121. Jack
    January 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I have a 250gb external hard drive and I want to wipe it of all it's files so I can use it with my Xbox 360 but Windows 10 won't recognize it. What should I do?

  122. Alan
    January 25, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks for this - easy to follow and most helpful!

  123. PHNATIK-2017
    January 24, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    I read many complaints Windows 10 not recognizing external drives. It is a Microsoft bug ((.9% of the time. This especially true in external drives TB and up. The only answer is time and patience. Microsoft is using all consumers to be used as testers and that is why they so much data error reports sent to them. Windows 10 is an unfinished OS that should not have been released before more bugs were ironed out. This problem is apparent in all Computer Manufactures. Good Luck.

  124. muthu
    January 24, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Hi
    thank you for an easily understandable article so that even a person who is not tech savy can understand it. my question is - i have recently bought a seagate backup plus slim 1 TB model. connected to my windows pc and copied some files. i have sony bravia EX400 full hd 32 inch tv bought sometime back. when i connected the seagate to the usb of the tv the hd drive can access power from it. but the tv displays a message this usb device is not recognized
    i have read that i can reformat the drive to Fat file system. but some say then the pc will not ever recognise it again and i can use it only with the tv. and also some say that sony tv recognizes only hard drive upto 500 gb and not 1 tb.
    kindly advise
    thank you
    muthu.

  125. Alix
    January 10, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Hi there
    Thank you for this comprehensive guide line. However, totally I had some other odd problem brought me to this page.
    I have access to 2 laptops and an old pc and the problem is with the old PC.
    Previously the motherboard of the PC was ASUS p4S133 having some power problems but worked for 6 years with that problems and finally has bean dead after 15 years working , god bless her. (Because we are using that PC for DVB TV and the power problems including inflated capacitors were not so important and I could extend its life for 3 years by replacing some of that capacitors :D )
    Why did I tell this story? because I've replaced the motherboard with a more healthy one but still second-hand (because of SD RAMs and ...). Also I've replaced my power.
    The new motherboard is SOLTEK SL-75KAV
    http://www.motherboards.org/files/manuals/118/75kav.pdf
    I've connected the cable of the front USB2 slots of the case to the motherboard.

    The odd problem is this :
    My external 1TB seagate USB+ HDD 5400rpm works on laptops well.
    Also the current PC works with different flash drives (1GB and 16 GB) in the """front USB""" well in windows XP but the extHDD won't work on front USB. However works on the onboard USB!!! however the onboard USB is old and a few crashed. The front USB has a tiny kit but has separated cables for two USB slots to connect on motherboard.
    I tested the voltage of the motherboard USB2 pins using a simple multimeter had been set on 20volt DC and it showed about 4.6v.

    After a lot of R&C (research and check) I found that seagate has announced if the drive doesn't work, one of the reasons may be the lack of sufficient watt or voltage however I'm not using a USB hub but it is possible yet. :(

    Any other idea?
    Thank you

  126. Mike
    January 9, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    I can see the drive and open it on a mac however windows 8 will not open it. the drive shows as disk 1 and a healthy primary partition but I cannot assign it a drive letter. any suggestions?

  127. Max
    January 9, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    I was trying a Linux live OS and ended up accidentally installing it on an external HD, which led to the HD being no longer visible under Win; after recovering my lost files, I still had to format the HD again to make it visible under Win again; I then looked for it in Disk Management and followed the suggested steps, and it just worked fine.

  128. Jennifer Street
    January 9, 2016 at 8:33 am

    My hard drive says not initialized and unallocated. I need to be able to recover the information on the drive. and it isn't giving me any options. please help.

  129. Mushtaq
    January 8, 2016 at 5:51 am

    Hi, did as suggested and worked a treat for me. I'd been reading "other" site with "how to", nothing as clear and concise as the above. Much appreciated someone putting in the time and effort to help complete strangers. Thank you !

  130. Rachel
    January 7, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    My external drive isn't recognized by anything at all! When I try to open up any folder, either My PC, or just Documents to get to the drive folder by the Most Recent tab at the left of the window, it just stays @thinking@, and if I click on the window, it doesn't respond at all. It was working fine just some days ago on the smart tv and I haven't really added anything after that.What should I do in orden to at least retrieve all the important data I have on it?

  131. Jason
    January 5, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Take out the USB connected headphone (which did show up days ago as I put audio files in and listened to them over past three days) which does not now show up. Diskmgmt shows only my (C:) drive. Once out I connect a Seagate Slim Drive which immediately shows up. File system is NTFS. The same results when using 2 other USB points. Even closing and re-booting still will not recognise the headphone connection yet any other external is okay. Unfortunately the advice here is of no help.

  132. Mukhtar khan
    January 4, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    What to do if toshiba storage usb is not opening in the pc??

  133. Abdelghani
    January 3, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Hello guy,

    Thank you very much! that exactly what I need.
    I have hard disk with USB 3 which is not mounted when I installed windows 10.

  134. Srikanth
    January 3, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Hallo Chris! Did exactly lyk u mentioned.. But when I opened up device properties..the device status reads as ' the device is working properly' ..so does that mean the disk is fyn n shd I change the cable..hv zero knowledge.. Could explain me as a layman..

  135. Bruce Greer
    January 2, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    The advice given here seems consistent with other sites. However, none of this seems germane to my problem. I have a 2TB Seagate USB drive. In Disk Management it shows up a drive with Simple Layout, Basic Type, Status is Healthy (Primary Partition) with Capacity of 1.8TB. It is identified as Disk 2 and online. However, if I right click on the drive, the only option that is active (bold faced) is Delete Volume. No letter is assigned (which is why it doesn't show up in Windows Explorer).

    • Lee
      January 19, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      hi Bruce, did you find a solution to your problem as i have the same thing and cant find how to resolve the problem

      • Jozef
        January 21, 2016 at 7:57 pm

        Same thing here

  136. ali
    January 1, 2016 at 4:48 am

    Asad

  137. Verity
    December 21, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you so much!

  138. Scotty B
    December 20, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you so much!! I have been searching and searching for a solution to no avail.

  139. Sudhir
    December 18, 2015 at 5:08 am

    I have the same problem as Sharon. When I connected my 1TB external harddrive to my Windows 10 Laptop, I got a message saying "there was an error connecting to the USB device. When external harddrive does not show up in "diskmgmt.msc" or "devmgmt.msc". This harddrive is visible in my older Windows vista PC.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
    -Sudhir.

  140. Sharon
    December 17, 2015 at 1:06 am

    Hi, this was all very helpful however when i reached “devmgmt.msc”, my external hard drive did not appear. My hard drive works on other computers and has worked on my laptop in the past but has done this a few times. Does anyone here now what to do?

  141. Aly
    December 16, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Hi, when I right-clicked on the unallocated space,it showed the options but only Properties and Help were available and the other options can't be selected. What should I do?

  142. Hemanth
    December 12, 2015 at 4:37 am

    I got a message did not complete successfully. When I right in the pop up window I get file system as NTFS, but your screenshot above shows FAT32.

  143. Bernard
    December 10, 2015 at 8:24 am

    God Bless your soul, you beautiful person. this worked. huge thank you.

  144. NastyB
    December 9, 2015 at 6:04 am

    Thanks so much for this! I had a 1 TB external that's been giving me problems for months j was just about to write it off as ruined. This fixed it perfectly.

  145. ming teck
    December 2, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Hi, my disk is not initialized and when i try to initialize it, 'Incorrect function.' shows up. anyone can help?

  146. Phillip
    December 1, 2015 at 5:06 am

    I dont have a mac. IM using windows but same problem. Heres how i fixed mine just today after a week of trying everything. External usb drive not seen or recognised by pc no matter what i did. I tried everything on the net. The solution. After contacting seagate they said it was a warranty prob and i could return it. I said i needed the data off the disk. They gave me permission to open the enclosure and remove hdd from inside. They said try plugging directly into a sata port in my pc and see if it was recognised. Breakthrough. The pc could see the drive but said it needed formatting. No go. I need the data. formatting wasnt going to happen. After a lot of different crap, i downloaded a recovery program. Theres a lot out there. I used zero assumption recovery. Didnt work at first cause i didnt do a deep scan. It was defaulting to a quick scan i was heartbroken. I thought all data lost. I realised after more googling a deep scan overnight might get more data. It got the lot. recovered all to a new usb drive i bought and back in business. This process took me a week of heartbreak so i hope i can save some a lot of trouble. If it cant be seen or read. try the things they say to start with but if they fail, rip it out of enclosure, plug into spare sata port on pc. Run recovery program and you might be lucky like me to recover 2 years of kids photos. Hope this helps those who are at their wits end like i was.

    • Tim
      February 13, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      This comment was so incredibly helpful to me! I have a Seagate 1TB EHD that had suddenly stopped being recognized, and after trying all the suggestions from this article with no luck, this comment gave me the idea to pop open the case and hook it directly into a SATA port on my PC. I was more fortunate in that everything on the drive was still intact (no need to recover anything). My guess is that my drive had suffered some sort of surge that had blown out the drive's internal USB adapter... but the drive itself was absolutely OK. I owe Phillip a huge thanks!

  147. Cat
    November 30, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Thank you so much.
    Got myself a new 2.5" SSD as external for my laptop, with the intent of putting files from my pc and be able to use them out and about, but couldn't get my pc or laptop to see it.
    Then I found your fix and I am so grateful at how easy the fix was.
    So thanks again

  148. Erin
    November 30, 2015 at 4:55 am

    Thank you! I haven't used my hard drive in years because it was malfunctioning but this fixed it thank you!

  149. Liz
    November 29, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Hi there,

    I have an external hard drive that I've used with my Mac for years, with no issues. Today I tried to plug it into my work PC to get some files off it (Windows 8), and it wasn't recognized. I tried to look up how to reformat it, but realized it was going to delete my files. So, I decided to forget that idea and plugged it back into my Mac. Now, it won't run, and Disk Utility says that the Partition Type is Microsoft Reserved.

    It won't let me repair or verify in the Disk Utility because it says "ERROR: Partition map check failed because no slices were found."

    Now, I can't access my files on either computer, which has like my life's worth of photos on it. I am about to have a heart attack if I've lost all of my data! I've been searching online and have seen many things where it says to create new partitions, but from what I understand that will delete all the data on the existing drive, which I don't want to do because I obviously don't have it backed up anywhere else (because this external hard drive WAS my backup).

    Please, someone out there help me!!

    MacBook Pro, OS X Yosemite (10.10.3)

    • sam riddick
      December 1, 2015 at 3:13 am

      Hi Liz, have you found a solution yet??? I am having the same problem, I CAN'T GET A STRAIGHT ANSWER ON HOW TO COPY THE FILES I NEED OFF THE DISK?!?!?!! I'm sure you've been thinking as I have... if I partition my hard disk, then I can access my files to copy them elsewhere? Nope! I called Microsoft and they said I'm probably gonna have to pay a geek! I am soooooooo frustrated!!!

  150. mikey
    November 27, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    I spent about three hours trying to locate files on a 1TB samsung external drive which stopped being recognised,THEN I read your article,followed your advice and had the drive working spot on in about 2 minutes! Many thanks!

  151. Mukarji
    November 21, 2015 at 3:30 am

    I have a USB that is recognized by the Disk Management (Windows 7) and shows an Unallocated partition. But I can't create a New Simple Volume or format or any thing. The only two available options when right click are Properties and Help.

    The USB is not recognized by the Computer so I can't use the USB at all. Please advise how to create a new volume.

    • Candy Ray
      December 7, 2015 at 2:37 am

      If the device driver is old or broken, then computer can not recognize the USB interfaces. An easy way to scan if the drivers are out of date is using Driver Talent, which could detect the drivers automatically and download/ install the newest drivers with clicks. You could have a try.

  152. Yegane
    November 20, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    hi, my hard drive is a sony usb 3-500gb external hard drive, when i plug this on my computer,both ports of usb 3 and 2, the led light is turned on, but the system could not recognize it and it is not shown in device manager drives and partitions :(
    pleas help me how to find to solution

  153. jithin
    November 19, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    WD External hard disk 500gb

    It's showing disk 1.. but beneath it "not initialized" is shown..

    Please tell me why and what must be done.

  154. Scott Brown
    November 18, 2015 at 10:25 am

    My Win 7 is refusing to accept any USB thumb drives. They show in Control Panel/System they also show in Disk Management but when I try to change Drive Letter I get the following error - "The operation failed to complete because the Disk Management console view is not up-to-date. Refresh the view by using the refresh task. If the problem persists close the Disk Management console, then restart Disk Management or restart the computer." Neither of these work either. It also will not allow me to format the drive or partition the drive. The same with every thumb drive I try. I do have a USB external drive attached and it works fine. This is only a recent problem. Any advice?

  155. rmeaks
    November 12, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    thanks a million!

  156. Joe S.
    November 12, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Your directions ROCKED! I've putzed with this damned drive for a couple days now. Tried the manufacturers utility program, tried to format it with Windows software....I tried everything and was at my wits end.

    Then I found your site and followed your directions and bingo bango, she's runnin! Many, many, many thanks!!!!!

  157. daynalikescoupons
    November 6, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    YOU ARE THE BEST!!!! <3

    Simple, easy to follow instructions for several scenarios. Many thanks!

  158. Tara Ollis
    November 6, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Thanks for the easy to follow steps- fixed my problem fast!

  159. vsagar2000
    November 1, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Hi Orville,

    when i connect my passport 1tb WD, its not showing the device under disk management. So I am unable to proceed on any of the steps you mentioned. Can you please let me know any other alternative.

    Thanks,
    K.Vidhyasagar

  160. James fish
    October 13, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Thank you! Just selected "online" as it was "offline" (for whatever reason-I don't know).

  161. Orville Francis
    September 24, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I think this would work better
    1. Open Computer Management by launching Windows Explorer, Right-Clicking on My Computer, and selecting the "Manage" options
    2. In the left pane of the Computer Management window, expand "Storage" and select "Disk Management"
    3. In the right tab, select the external hard disk that is giving these issues, right-click on it and select Properties
    4. Click the Security tab.
    5. Click the button Advanced.
    6. Click the button Edit.
    7. Ensure that at least the following users are there: Everyone; CREATOR OWNER; System; Administrators; Users
    8. If anyone of them is not there, do the following:
    8.1 Click Add
    8.2 Type the name/s of the user/s that is/are not there as mentioned in #7 separated by semi-colons
    8.3 Click the "Check Names" button. All the users will be underlined. Some will be modified to show usernames specific to the computer
    8.4 Click Ok
    9. In the Permissions Management dialog box, select one user and click the "Full Control"
    10. Do this for all users
    11. Click "Apply". Depending on the number of files in the hard disk, it may take time to apply this new security setting
    12. Click ok

  162. Samson Oweka
    September 17, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    OK mine showed up already with step 1 but I don't get the part of formatting it...pls help me with that so it can be recognised and there are lots of important files I don't wanna loose..pls help

  163. Charlie Sassine
    September 8, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Managed to get it working again,thanks so much!

  164. Mike Voelkel
    September 3, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks so much! This did the trick to make my hard drive usable again after it was being used by a DVR previously!

  165. Les. Marshall
    September 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Thank you, I followed your advice, and by changing the drive letter from F to H, my external drive is now back 'in service', and at this moment, it is backing up my files via File History. Thanks again for great advice

    Les. Marshall

  166. Daryl J Järvinen
    August 22, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I have Windows Vista and I'm using a small Toshiba 150gb external. The Toshiba itself just stopped working this morning and when I plug it in, will not show up on My Computer and will not light up. Any ideas on what I can do to remedy this? It won't show up on Device Manager/Disk Management either.

  167. PrEeTaM SiNgH
    August 20, 2015 at 8:34 am

    I also follow the same steps however somehow I improvise myself. Please follow the below steps if you face issue with External Drive:
    Control Panel >> Administrative Tools >> Computer Management >> Storage >> Disk Management >> Right Click on the Hard Drive (mine show Disk 1 as Disk 0 is system hard drive) >> Properties >> Select Driver Tab (4 one) >> Select Unistall >> It'll ask you a confirmation >> Select OK >> ISSUE Resolve

    If you face any issue you can scold me as much you can however Try it.

  168. Doug Noyce
    August 19, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    BTW, you guys having trouble with your Seagate drives, Seagate has a free download called 'Sea Tools for Windows' which contains multiple utilities for your Seagate Drives, (Also works on WD drives as well). I have 2 Seagates and they work fine.

  169. Doug Noyce
    August 19, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    I have 7 external drives. All worked on Win7. When I 'upgraded' to Win10, the 4 drives connected by SATA/USB adapters, are not recognized. Followed ALL the suggestions in the post, but nothing works. The USB ports all work fine. The drives are not all 'dead', all at once.
    The Disk Mgmt allots a space and assigns a drive letter, but does not read the drive, reporting 'no media', as if it is a card reader. The Device Manager sees the adapter, but not the drive. I can only assume that it is a driver issue for the adapters, although Dev Mgr 'update driver' reports it has the most current drivers. So is this just another of the many issues that Win 10 has yet to resolve? Curiouser and curiouser....

    • craig.lawrence3
      August 29, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      Hi Doug & Everyone,

      I accepted the Win 10 upgrade and forgot to remove my Seagate portable drive.
      The Win10 upgrade seemed to be going ok; but when the forced re-start took place my Zoostorm PC got stuck on the Zoostorm logo page. After waiting ages I had to cold boot it (a number of times) and ultimately had no choice but to re-build back to Win7 with recovery disc. I later found that I can't see files on my Seagate drive on either Win 7 or a brand new Win10 laptop. Can anyone please advise whether this has likely been wiped of drivers and all content? Shame as it had all family photos and stuff that I purposely put on here to protect against PC re-builds. The Diskmgmt check above show nothing sadly.
      Any advice much appreciated, Cheers, Craig.

      PS my advice to all is do NOT accept Win10 free upgrade, unless you have everything backed up externally and all storage devices removed.

  170. jpckwong
    August 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Does Windows 10 also has problem recognizing USB external drives like Windows 8.1 does?

  171. Michael Glen Rothermel
    August 16, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    My external drive worked fine on Win 7. Now that I have updated all three computers to Windows 10, I have an USB doorstop. I guess I'll keep it in case I have to throw it at someone but I sure can't access any of the data on it. Thanks, Windows. Disk Management only gives me the options to Delete Volume or Help. Change Drive Letter and Paths is grey'd out. I want Win 7 back.

  172. ankit padaliya
    August 15, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Much Help full..

  173. Tasneem Hararwala
    August 9, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Considering that I don't know anything about how all this functions, I was trying to find myself some help regarding my external hard drive. So, I have dropped it a couple of times but then it worked just fine until yesterday. It suddenly stopped working and I am freaking out a little because I have ALL my data of the external hard drive. The thing is, its making this screeching noise when I attach it to the laptop. Computer makes the noise on attaching the HD but then I cannot see the folder. I tried these steps, until the step where I try to locate the driver, it works fine. I don't know what to do after that?
    Is there any way I can recover all my data even IF my HD died?

  174. Nick Larson
    July 29, 2015 at 7:41 am

    OMG I LOVE YOU!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

  175. Ranga Nathan
    July 28, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Thank u very much for the post. i was blinking what to do when my ext hdd was not recognised. followed your post. by just alloting drive letters to the partitions in the drive it came active. thank u. please let me why this happens in the first instance. how to avoid it in future

  176. JC Rarela
    July 24, 2015 at 4:14 am

    Thanks for this post!

  177. Alfred Toma
    June 25, 2015 at 6:44 am

    I've tried dozens of ways to connect ANY external hard drives to my laptop; installed a whole bunch of programmes to get it up and running; I've tried this method and STILL NOTHING. Nothing works, no method or programme can help me figure out why my laptop won't connect to any external hard drives. Help please!!!!

  178. Linda Woodyard McFadden
    June 7, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    I hope for the sake of all these people in trouble here...this link is not pulled down. There IS HOPE...here ya go..flex...;)
    http://stopmalvertising.com/tips/seagate-hard-drives-and-the-click-of-death.html

  179. Linda Woodyard McFadden
    June 7, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I must have the same Seagate 1 tb ... goflex. I'm at my wit's end. I did not back up on the cloud or anywhere else. I think it didn't like the move across the US two and a half times. oh man...everything awesome was on that thing. Major regret. I'm must sick. Interviews, events...oh gawd...

    • Linda Woodyard McFadden
      June 7, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      * I'm JUST sick...

  180. Kevin Naughton
    June 7, 2015 at 7:00 am

    ka whatever 32
    I did have backups-on both hardrives etc
    and the 3rd also Seagate-done same-I was only saying..if u have nowt nice to say-y bother?
    makes me laugh people search for things to complain about or pick up on something.
    just leave it-nowt wrong with saying 3 broke-so I WONT USE Seagate again-when replacements come-I will sell on cheap

  181. Kru Bruder
    June 5, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    This worked for me...would have been nice if they would have put the notice that all of my files would be erased BEFORE the instructions to reformat.

  182. Kevin Naughton
    June 2, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    I have 2 Seagate one stopped 2 mornings ago the other yesterday-while I was trying to fix using the advice from Seagate. now ive 5tb wont load not in disk mangagement etc Seagate solution send back for replace-as under warrenty but make sure ive copies,IDIOT then I explained again-my copies were on other hard drive, and its the same on other laptops-these wont work I was told c if someone can take data off-b4 u send back- -even tho this voids warrenty so I asked what does warrenty mean-IF AFTERALL-or they say is send for replacement and its my main and and spare--just told-nothing they can do oh and a data place-wanted £200 each one-to get data off so surely that should b what warrenty stands for 2-i know im not buying Seagate again.and ive written to head office in uk

    • kaiju32
      June 6, 2015 at 10:34 am

      @Kevin I fail to see here how your failure to properly back up data is their concern. If your house burns down and your only copy of important documents was in there, then you are to blame for not having a copy elsewhere. Backups should be 1 local, 1 offsite, and 1 online. Your insurance will replace your house. But you'll have to hire a forensics team to read the contents of the charred documents that you left inside of it.

  183. Jocelyn MacKenzie
    May 30, 2015 at 2:58 am

    Thank you for this!!!! Much appreciated.

  184. Harsh Ranjan Das
    May 26, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    I have got a seagatte 1tb hard disk which was working perfectly but suddenly was not getting recognized by my Computers. The led on my hdd keeps blinking. may a times after plugging in it shows a message " you need to format the disk in drive I before you can use it " .What d I do for this????

  185. @$#!$#
    May 20, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    I ve gt a seagatte 1tb hard disk which does not appear in My Computers Neither in disk managment neither in device manager.But Yes the led on my hdd keeps blinking as usual.What do I do for this????

  186. Hector Orozco
    May 19, 2015 at 1:12 am

    Thanks for the advice Hector Orozco

  187. deepu joy
    May 16, 2015 at 5:52 am

    i have a seagate backup plus 500 gb external hard disk, it was working perfect . all of sudden it stopped getting recognized by the system. when i connect the data cable, the indicator light on the hard disk is blinking but the hard disk is not getting recognized .... what i should do ??? plz help....

  188. Sudip
    May 11, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Disk not Initialized. Whenever I try to initialize, "The Device is not Ready" comes up. How to do it?

  189. marwyn
    May 9, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    i have the same problem with my drive, it doesn't show up in my computer, but works on a different windows computer. I can tell its not dead, cos it spins and shows up as a removable drive on a different computer. Any suggestions?

  190. Steve
    May 7, 2015 at 3:32 am

    That was amazing. I had a Seagate that I copied data to and it didn't show up on my new computer. Simply adding the drive letter made it visible.

    THANKS!

  191. Matt
    April 29, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks for posting! I have this external hard drive that I used with my MacBook, but it's been a brick since I switched to Windows. I used HFS Exlporer to get all my files from the drive, but still wasn't able to write to it, or access it all through normal means. I found this article online, followed the steps to format the drive, and now it works perfectly!

  192. Marilynn
    April 29, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you so much for your excellent advice, it was perfectly written....

  193. Barima
    April 29, 2015 at 8:44 am

    with mine when i click on the unallocated space the the New Simple Volume is unselectable.it got me stucked i dont know what to do .please help

    • Gav
      November 16, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Did you find a solution from here? I'm stuck with the same issue

  194. dumie
    April 28, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Thanks a lot I followed your directions and it worked even though I lost all the data but I am happy.

  195. kev
    April 28, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    absolutely brilliant . been trying for 6 weeks to format , after reading this i achieved it. thanks so much

  196. Sai
    April 28, 2015 at 7:31 am

    I have a WD MyPassport 500gb external hard disk. I tried your methods but my hard disk is being recognised in the usb ports but it is nowhere to be seen in My Computer. I have important files in it so please suggest me a way to make it appear in my computer. PLEASE

  197. Roberto
    April 27, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    My External Toshiba Canvio 500GB Hard Drive is showing as Unallocated in Disk Management,it's showing up and says working properly in Device Manager,It should be showing up as Drive E in My Computer but it's not anymore since I reformatted my older laptop that runs Windows Vista Home Premium to full factory settings. It was working fine before I did this and Before I started reformatting I saved all my data I needed to the External Hard Drive,I then checked to see if everything backed up successfully to the drive and everything was accounted for,I then unplugged it and began the process of reformatting my laptop. I tried these steps you mentioned,I tried to Initialize the Disk I get a window that says Data error (cyclic redundancy check), I tried to start a new simple volume for the drive E and it says (the operation cannot be completed because the disk is not initialized), any more solutions or help? My External HDD was password protected could this be the issue why it's not showing up being that the drive is locked with the password protected software? Please help I need to get into the drive and retrieve my data I know it can't be corrupted the light blinks off and on and goes solid at time seems like it's responding and all my usb ports are all good.

  198. Norma Makarem
    April 18, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Hello,

    I plugged my external drive to my new Macbook air , and it says you need to format it in order for the OS to recognize it, so i did a stupid step and started the format, and the files were starting to be erased from my external! i unplugged my drive directly before it continued.
    I plug the HD back into my windows PC, and now it does not recognize it anymore.
    From Disk management: it does not show as NTFS anymore , and it says 100% free..

    so now the HD is not recognized neither from MAcbook, or from windows PC.
    Does that mean all my files are deleted? or can i restore them from my HD in a way?
    I am so depressed as all my memories are in there!

    note: in the macbook air, i can find some files in the trash which I am not able to restore as well!!

    Help!
    Norma

  199. Patrick DC
    April 16, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Thank you for this article, it solved my problem immediatly. External was connected to a Mac before and now it's back on Windows, thanks to you!

  200. Hayley
    April 14, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Is there anyway I can get back the files on the external hard drive which have been erased once I updated it? I very STUPIDLY did not back up!!!

  201. Mindy R
    April 13, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you so much for this!

  202. Eline
    April 13, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Thank you! Very clear and informative article. Solved my problem in minutes.

  203. grace
    April 11, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Though it didn't work for me personally, it did help me learn how to update my drivers, which was what it needed. My externals are all over 5 years old! One of them is even 13 years old, and it still works!

  204. Chris D
    April 7, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Very useful. I was given a 1TB HDD as a birthday present. It would have been sad if I couldn't use it.

    Thanks!

  205. Fernand
    April 5, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you very much. I followed your instructions and it worked. My computer recognized my external HD. I had data on it I dropped it twice and apparently all data was lost. So I was not afraid to format. Thank you

  206. Qx
    April 5, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Thank you so much ! My Passport cost $60 and i stop working after i uninstall window helped me reinstall Thank you sooooooo much

  207. Madhu
    April 3, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Thankyou very much.

  208. Will
    April 2, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Great article, but it doesnt fix my problem.

    Ive got a friend that has a Windows 7 Home Premium Dell PC that doesnt see any new USB device, cant find drivers for anything. His new Toshiba Canvio 3TB drive isnt seen (cant find driver - error code 20) and Toshiba doesnt have a driver on their web page because they say the Windows generic driver should work. (device does work on another system). Windows update doesnt provide a driver either.

    Same thing with a Silicon Power 32G Flash drive. When I plug it in, No driver. Goes to windows update, and doesnt find a driver either. Works on other systems.

    I was able to get an HP 8600 printer to work on the system but it came with a driver CD.

    Im almost thinking that the database of generic drivers is corrupt or not accessible. Theres a very old 500G Seagate attached to the system and a logitech wireless mouse and both of the devices work fine. The seagate is way too small, but it works, and when I plug the new Toshiba into the same port, its not found. I was initally thinking that it had bad USB controllers, but I can move usb devices that are existing from rear port to rear port (4 available) and front to back, and they work.

    Any idea as to how I can reinstall the generic driver database that comes with Windows 7 Home Prem?

  209. nyw
    April 2, 2015 at 12:58 am

    same problem here, after I follow your steps , message show driver software installation failed. I checked in device manager and it says this device working properly but i still can't use it. How should I do to install driver software properly. thank you

  210. nyw
    April 1, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    (You may want to use the Update Driver button to install an updated driver, use the Roll Back Driver button to revert any changes, or use the Uninstall button to uninstall the device from your system and hope that Windows will reinstall the driver and configure it correctly when you reconnect the drive.)
    Hi , I did those steps and I got message that driver installation failed. How should I do? mine is samsung s2 portable 3 usb drive. I need to get back some important files from it. I couldn't find driver software in samsung website too. Please help me.

  211. lily
    March 27, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Hello please help me. Mine is detected on but the name is local disc F and not the name of my HD. But when i clicked it, it said F is not accessible, data error ( cyclic redundancy check). This prob arise after i plug in my HD to my friend's laptop.

  212. Duncan Blackwell
    March 26, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Brilliant !!!
    I have an Acer internal HDD that the PC died on, I used an internal reader to remove the files and found the drive was partitioned into 2 massive areas. I deleted the partition and then windows refused to recognise the disk. After reading this page I just added the largest partition I could and assigned a drive letter and now it works. Many thanks for the help :)

  213. Z.
    March 22, 2015 at 2:21 am

    Thank you, didn't know it wouldn't prompt me to format it like a normal USB.

  214. Russell
    March 21, 2015 at 4:52 am

    I am so grateful. I have read countless posts and not been able to get my USB drive to mount. Went out and bought another one today and it didn't work. Then I found this article. All fixed by assigning a new letter.

    Thankyou so much !

    Both Drives now working

  215. apollop
    March 20, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    mine shows up under "universal serial bus controllers" andconnects and diconnects on its own. pls help

  216. Kuddel
    March 19, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Great Help

  217. Alex
    March 14, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    my pc still cant see my Flash Drive also if I plug it in it cuts off internet and make my pc lag for some reason ..

  218. DC
    March 12, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Brilliant clear advice and instruction. Would never have known how to do any of this myself. Many thanks!

  219. Daniel
    February 26, 2015 at 3:28 am

    Thank you. I got a seagate STBX2000401, popped that open and installed it into my PS4. Then took the 500gb disc out of the PS4 and installed into the enclosure. Problem was I had to basically format it... This site was a life and time saver. Thank you again

  220. Baldwin
    February 24, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I found this article very helpful, thanks, but I still have a question. My computer does not see my external in Disk Management, but it does show up in Device Management and here it says that the drive is working properly, however I cannot access the drive. Any tips on this?

  221. Peter
    February 22, 2015 at 6:21 am

    It would be have been nice to find out that the process will erase all of the existing files. You're not responsible for my ignorance, but I borrowed a friend's external hard drive and erased 100's of gigs worth of files. Or should I say ex-friend.

  222. Dee Bitner
    February 21, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    I found the external hard drive in disk mgmt, as you showed; but when I attempted to assign it a new drive designation, it was greyed out. It simply showed up as 0 drive, said it was working properly. I could access properties, but could not partition or format.

  223. Suny
    February 17, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Thank you So much ,saved my day! i was so pissed off at my antivirus it just scans every thing and deletes most of the files without any warning. Thankyou so much :)

  224. Gerry
    February 12, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for posting this article. After lots and lots of research, I came across this article and was able to make a new WD external hard drive work with windows 8.1 where it absolutely would not mount no mater what I had tried...........

    Many Thanks,
    GJM

  225. manish
    February 12, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Mahn I'm impressed. This worked, bit sad coz my files got deleted. Thank you for sharing this information :)

  226. Phil Chenevert
    February 11, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Many thanks. I was almost ready to trash my 2T drive when your comment about checking everything, including USB cords. Amazingly, that worked; the darn USB cable was bad. Geesssh! who wooda thought! thanks

  227. Dri Ebz
    February 10, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    The problem is that I don't want to format my Drive! What should I do now?

  228. Teri
    February 8, 2015 at 4:48 am

    This was the BEST advice I got. I tried the advice on six pages before this one. After I added a drive letter to the "Healthy Partition" - it immediately saw EACH external Storage device. I had gone through each step on every advice page painstakingly, and the drive letter being assigned was the actual solution. However, it is good that I changed the power settings so that hopefully this doesn't happen to me again. People that are willing to format their drives should know they should not give up - there has to be a solution - and not restore/recover either. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

  229. Ken
    February 5, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Awesome this is great very well documented easy to follow it worked like a charm.

  230. eyoonha
    February 3, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I want to do excatly as you mention but I'm afriad that I will lose my data.
    Is there any other way that I can save my data?

  231. wesam
    February 3, 2015 at 4:08 am

    unfortunately
    didn't work

  232. michelle
    January 24, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Im also having the same problem but under disk management it says " disk 1 , unknown, not initialized " and a message appears that I need to initialize it. My external hd is a wd my passport ultra 1tb, i've been using it for more than a year now, the last thing i did with it was connecting it to my samsung tv to watch a movie and I had to stop the movie in the middle but instead of pressing stop on the remote, I pressed exit then removed the external hd after turning the tv off, then the next day my pc recognized the ext hd but doesn't show in my computer and the problem in disk management appeared. please help me..i have a lot of files on it..can i still retrieve it or is it dead already? thanks

  233. bals
    January 23, 2015 at 11:20 am

    extremely helpfull

  234. Ray
    January 18, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I can see my 300gb drive in Disk Management, but when I right-click the partition, I cannot select ANY options (all of them are faded- that is not available - of the 10 options, only "Help" is offered). It says "298.09 GB, Healthy (GPT Protective Partition)".
    The drive is mounted on an external reader.

    Is this a sign that my drive is dead?

    Note that this drive was my former main drive on my Lenovo laptop, but suddenly became unbootable. I have since replaced it with a SSD drive (256gb) and reloaded Windows 8.1.

  235. Kaveh
    January 18, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    By the way, I used this drive for a long time and I did not have this problem. 4 months ago I bought a TV and I connected this drive to that TV several times. After that this problem showed up.

    • Dri Ebz
      February 10, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      I guess I have done such a thing too!

  236. Kaveh
    January 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Hello.
    I didn't read all of the comments.

    I have the same problem. My ADATA HDD710 is not recognized by win 7 anymore. It appears at disk manager but it is not shown at Computer, so I don't have access to my files on it.
    The problem is that I need my files and I can not format the drive. Is there any way that I can copy them on another drive and then format this HDD?

  237. Laura
    January 13, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Simple and easy to read step by step guide. Solved my problem easily after using other resources for hours. Thanks so much.

  238. Quan
    January 13, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Thank you very much for your article. It did the trick

  239. Jason S
    January 10, 2015 at 6:25 am

    Thanks for this Chris. I followed the steps here and it worked out for me...partly. In Disk Management it showed that my external HD had two partitions. I followed the steps and assigned a letter to the Primary Partition and them my PC recognized it. However when trying to do "New Simple Volume" on the second partition it would not give me that option. (It was greyed out as in the above user's problem) So now I have access to only half of the volume of the Hard Drive. Any ideas on how to overcome this?

  240. sourabh mehta
    January 5, 2015 at 6:18 am

    it does not have an option to create a new simple volume what to do plzzz help

  241. DAn
    January 3, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    This doesn't work for me. I get the computer to see the external drive, but once I right click on it in the disk management window, the only option I have is 'delete volume' All other options are grayed out. What would you suggest I do?

  242. Amelia
    January 3, 2015 at 4:21 am

    My mother's computer has this issue. I tested the flash drive on other computers and it works fine. I tested the usb ports and they are working fine. It doesn't show up in the disk management at all, and it doesn't show in the file system anywhere. I tried reinstalling the device, updating the drivers and the other things mentioned - none of them worked.

    • toton
      January 3, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      I think it's badly damaged my frnd... try consulting an expert... :)

  243. Shreemay
    January 2, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Thank you. My hard disk was formatted on Mac and it was not appearing on windows. This helped me. Thanks again.

  244. Balaji
    December 26, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Hi I am facing the same problem..to be on safer side,please correct me if wrong.
    I am getting format disk option,so as per the solution mentioned here..after i click format option to select files to be copied would be provided?
    I had my hard disk detecting and opening the folder content sometimes from last few weeks and now completely not opening.

  245. toton
    December 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    hi... i've read this article and it suggest that I have to do the last option. I don't want to lose my files. How can I solve it without losing my important files? :(

    • toton
      January 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      ive noticed something.. the hard disc has a black color "unallocated" and the case does not appear in any of these three cases above... :(

  246. ABC
    December 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    this article very informative, when I use my external hard drive connects to my laptop and it cannot detected but when using my desktop it successful open the hard drive. Online found this info and follow the instruction and steps as eventually fixed my issues!

  247. onpi
    December 16, 2014 at 8:46 am

    no help of that at all

  248. rk
    December 16, 2014 at 2:38 am

    My old dinosaour XP desktop reads my flash drives ("healthy" primary partion; FAT32) just fine but my brand spanking new HP Envy laptop says the drives are empty. So the laptop sees them, it just won't read them. Not sure what else to try? Thanks for any help.

  249. Martin
    December 13, 2014 at 7:49 am

    The emphasis in this article focused almost exclusively on USB drives and essentially ignored hard drives with other connection types, primarily SATA (and eSATA). This was a mistake.

    I use quite a few internal SATA hard drives in various types of external enclosures. All of the external enclosures I use allow up to four internal SATA hard drives to be connected.

    Some are simple enclosures that require you to supply power to them and require standard SATA cables to be connected to your motherboard, either directly to available SATA connectors on your motherboard or to an add-in SATA adapter card. To supply the necessary power, I use a 4-pin molex or SATA power extender cable to connect to my computer's internal power supply (making sure that the power supply has the extra available power for this purpose; I always buy 850 watt PSUs just for this reason).

    So if the computer's power supply does NOT have sufficient capacity, you may very well find that your computer is unable to "see" the SATA hard drives connected this way.

    Another type of enclosures I use include their own power supply and logic circuits, and instead of having to use four typical SATA data cables (one for each drive) as with the enclosures described above, the data from the hard drives are multiplexed by the internal logic and connects to your computer via a single connection, usually either eSATA or USB (though some use FireWire and some are NAS enclosures that use Ethernet).

    But no matter what type of external enclosure your SATA hard drives are installed in, your computer obviously has to interface with their data via some kind of adapter, either SATA connectors directly on your motherboard or with an add-on adapter card (either SATA or eSATA or whatever other type of card you need).

    And these adapter cards always need drivers (though many such drivers are included in your operating system, so you don't always need to install them yourself). And as the author of this piece, Chris Hoffman, has already pointed out, the majority of issues where your system can't "see" or mount these drives are driver-related. This isn't the place to discuss how to find updates to your drivers, but if you don't know how to do this you should investigate other sources of information. But as a helpful warning, please be extremely skeptical of third-party software that promises to keep your drivers up to date! Besides the malware-infested scamware out there that claim to do this "safely", many of these applications are written by incompetents that foolishly consider ANY driver with a newer version number to be a necessary update, even when they don't match your actual system configuration. When they do that, your system may well fail in even worse ways than from the problem you're already trying to solve!

    There is one last set of issues that may well prevent your system from recognizing and mounting your drive:

    (1) Your computer's BIOS may need updating to accommodate the type of drive you are trying to use. If your computer is too old or if there are no updates available to provide support for that type of drive -- unless you're able to find third-party BIOS updates (which is rather unlikely even if you're a tech expert) -- you're simply out of luck and you need a newer computer.

    (2) The add-on adapter cards I spoke of may need a firmware update to be able to support the type of drive you're trying to use. Occasionally you will be able to find updated firmware from the manufacturer's web site or with a simple google search, but most of the time it will take some serious search-fu to locate it, if it even exists. Good luck.

    (3) The worst scenario is that these add-on adapter cards often have unexpected limitations that their manufacturer understandably didn't emphasize in bold print. A case in point is a problem I've recently struggled with myself: For some reason I didn't at first understand, one of my computers refused to recognize a hard drive that was in an enclosure that otherwise seemed to work perfectly with other disks. But after closely reading some hard-to-find documentation, I learned that the SATA adapter card in question simply wasn't designed to accommodate GPT-formatted hard drives, or in fact any drive with greater than 2.2 TB capacity. What's curious is that it actually did work correctly with some 3TB GPT drives, but not all drives from all manufacturers. It was a fluke that it worked at all with some 3TB drives, but it was not designed to do this at all, so I was expecting too much of it.

    The key point is that some adapter cards (and motherboards as well) were never intended to handle all the different drives we may try to connect to them, so if you encounter a situation with a drive that your computer doesn't "see" or won't mount, be sure to track down all the manufacturer's detailed documentation and RTFM.

    Best wishes to all!

  250. Cliff
    December 12, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    This worked great! Thanks!

  251. Cliff
    December 12, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    This worked great! Thanks

  252. Kunal
    December 10, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    My PC not recognizing my external hardisk...I checked it in the disk managment too...its not showing...I think it have a driver problemm...plesee helpp...

  253. P
    April 15, 2014 at 2:18 am

    Reassigned drive for thumbdrive to a free letter and good to go. Thanks so much!

  254. RKK
    March 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I am having an issue with only one computer. The drive was yanked out while in operation and since then it is no longer recognized on that computer. It works fine on my laptop. I am using windows 8.1 and trying to figure out how to get the drive back online. I tried system restore and no luck. I also tried a registry fix that someone had posted on youtube without any success.

    Still looking for a solution.

    • Chris H
      March 30, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      Hm, not sure about this. It's possible that the USB port itself is damaged -- maybe try inserting the drive in another USB port?

      Try asking on Answers: http://makeuseof.com/answers Maybe someone else has seen the same problem.

  255. Olga
    March 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Wow, great explanation. I fixed my problem. Many thanks!

  256. Gordon
    March 18, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Many thanks for this great article. Really helpful!

  257. Noah G.
    March 18, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Hi,
    Thanks for the article; I'm having a different problem. When I insert the usb flash drive, the computer recognizes it and says it is working correctly. The LED on the flash drive which previously glowed solidly when it was working now flashes quickly non-stop. If I try to open the drive, my computer displays "Please insert a disk into removeble disk (F:)".
    In disk management, the drive appears as Drive 1 but it displays "No Media" rather than stating the size of the drive and "Online". When I right click, the only options I have are "Change Drive letter and Paths", Properties, and Help. It seems to have a drive letter and I've tried changing it with no success.
    Also, under the My Computer tab I've tried format the drive but again, it says I must insert a disk. I've also tried scanning the usb drive for viruses but the virus checker seems to scan zero files and then report no threats found. Any ideas? Thanks!!

    • Chris H
      March 30, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      Between the flashing and "no media" indications, my best guess is that the drive itself may be damaged.

      You may want to try asking on Answers: http://makeuseof.com/answers

      Or, better yet, try contacting the drive manufacturer's support. They've probably seen such an issue before and will be able to say whether the drive is damaged, hopefully.

  258. Michael
    March 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    This process helped me turn an old PS3 HDD into and external HDD these steps are easy to follow and help a great deal. i looked for weeks to find a solution to my problem stumbled across this and it is by far the best step by step out there.

    • Chris H
      March 13, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Thanks!

  259. Monica Keirn
    March 12, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Do you have a similar tutorial for formatting an external hard drive (that is formatted for Windows) for Linux?

    • Chris H
      March 13, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Linux can read Windows-formatted partitions just fine. That said, for formatting an external drive on Linux, I recommend GParted. Install Gparted from your distribution's package manager -- it's a pretty simple graphical partition manager. (At least, as simple as partition management programs can get!)

  260. Vijay Gawde
    February 27, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Thanks. This was very helpful to me to get the external drive working with windows 8

  261. JesusofOz
    February 21, 2014 at 2:38 am

    I think it's great that you recommend copying files off the dead USB stick before formatting it..

  262. Angel
    February 20, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    This was amazing. You just saved me!

  263. James
    February 20, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Exactly what I needed, thanks

  264. Neha
    February 13, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Lovely! Thank you so much for writing this! my problem is solved.

  265. ChrystinP
    February 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Very handy information. I learned a lot from the article and the additional comments.

    I'm having this problem intermittently with a drive and found that the issue was the cable being used; nothing at all, apparently, to do with the external hard drive or the computer. Just a reminder to check the simple things first, which won't help flash drives, but may help solve the larger external drive issue when a cable is used.

  266. J
    February 3, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Thanks very much for posting this. My laptop is 8 years old(I plan on recycling it), so I removed the 40 gig IDE hard drive, purchased an external enclosure, and my computer wouldn't recognize it. It had Linux on it, but that wasn't the issue. I formatted with the dskmgmt and assigned a letter and NTFS system(it was between that and exFAT), and the plug and play window appeared immediately. I hope to use this for my music.

  267. Jamie
    February 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks for your solution. Drive letter worked for me.

  268. Zach
    January 23, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Does anyone have a rec for a USB port that provides enough power? I have a PC with only one USB port free. I must use a USB hub. My 2 drive enclosure plugs into the hub. Unfortunately, the 2 drives in it are only sporadically recognized by my PC. I think I need a new USB hub. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  269. K,
    January 13, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    For windows 8, there is a problem with certain flash drives that are not recognised. The problem comes from the usb host controller software. I had a flash drive working on windows 7, linux and osx but was not recognised by windows 8 (tried on different computers running windows 8). This fix helped: http://plugable.com/2012/12/01/windows-8-and-intel-usb-3-0-host-controllers/
    Although it is not recommended for windows 8.1, it still worked for me.

  270. Anonymous
    January 9, 2014 at 1:35 am

    my external hard disk cannot be detect by windows anymore . it also doesn't appear on diskmgmt.msc or devmgmt.msc. do you have any solution for this?

    • elham sh
      May 12, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      this is happening with me 2 :/

  271. Rick
    December 18, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    I have a 128 MB cruzer glide that windows will not recognize on a computer but will on all others.
    I put it in a USB slot, explorer and disk management will not see it. If I go to device manager, open up disk drives, it's there.
    Now if I uninstall it, physically remove the USB fob from the slot and put it into another one it will appear and work normally. If I pull it out again, I need to repeat the above steps. I've tried to format it in several versions but get the same. Inconvenient but it works

  272. derrick
    October 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    what do you do if it is read only

  273. Bob Young
    October 26, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I didn't read all the comments and other problems, so it may have been pointed out, already.
    You address problems with flash drives formatted by a Mac. You didn't address the problem of a flash drive PARTITIONED by a Mac. It appears to use a GFI partition. This is not recognized by Windows, will not mount in Windows and will not assign a drive letter in Windows, so the suggestions above don't work in Windows.

  274. Smurfy Dog
    October 25, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    If you have followed all the steps here and it appears you have a dead USB flash drive, there may still be hope. Try the HP USB disc storage format tool. Very handy free little utility from Hewlett Packard.

  275. Ellen O
    October 23, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Thanks much for this. My desktop recently decided to stop recognizing my external HD. Everything on it was backed up offsite, so I plugged in a new external drive and downloaded all the backed up files. But I will go through the steps you suggest with the old one to see if it's toast or recoverable (rather than just tossing it - while storage media have come down in price a lot, a 1TB drive still costs a fair bit).

  276. aboufethy
    October 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    I am very grateful for this information which is very useful and I intend to use later

  277. Claire
    October 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I had higher hopes than just being told to reformat my hard drive... I work in academic science and so have to switch large data files around between a mix of all OS types. I formatted mine and my minions' external hard drives into exfat to facilitate this, but there is one PC that randomly states the hard drives are improperly formatted and can't read/write files on them.

    • Robert Nelson Lightle
      October 23, 2013 at 6:35 am

      If you are working with Mac and Windows you will run into compatibility issues. One of your best ways around this kind of problem is to use something like Apache Open Office or something similar that is capable of being run on most systems (I know you can run it on Linux and Windows). I am not sure of how reliable MS Office for Mac is that is the only reason I did not mention it here, but I know there are many cross platform Office programs for just this kind of problem. Now since Mac and MS Windows do not use the same type of partition table it is difficult to take flash drives from one to the other, so in your case I would advocate after finding an office program that you can run on all your systems, using a cloud storage such as Google Drive or Mega, or ADrive etc, to save your files too. You can log onto these from any system and as long as you have the appropriate software installed in the target machine you can then download your file to that machine and work with it. no need to reformat drives and other than the initial setup and sync of the file all you have is upload/download time. I think this would be your best choice. Well, hope that helped.

    • Scott
      October 24, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      @Claire exFat is not as universally supported compared to FAT32 but it is improving. NTFS is also not universally supported but it is improving. Ofcourse if your individual files are > 2GB and you don't want to segment them using RAR or ZIP then exFat or NTFS are your choices.

  278. Bradlee TheDawg
    October 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Yeah.... well.... If Windows doesn't recognize the drive, there's a good chance going through all this trouble isn't going to get you much. It's probably toast, along with whatever was on it. That's why anything important should be backed up continuously to the cloud and not stored on a USB thumbdrive.

  279. Kevin Ke
    October 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    This article should also include the case when you need to reflash the IO chip...
    The "checking under device manager" part is kinda wrong. Most of cases when window can't recognize the usb, it won't even know if it's a disk or not then how can it put that device under "Disk drives"? Instead, check under the USB controllers.

    • Omid
      February 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      My Silicon power drive is listed undr USB controllers but is not recognized. It does not appear under Disk Management drive list.
      What can I do? please help.

  280. Armin A
    October 22, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Nonsense !
    Most of the problems are because of bad Drive ....
    Which can be solved through returning via RMA (if it is under warranty ) or by reprogramming the chip with some tools out there ...
    For example Transcend company has a flash recovery tool for reprogramming the chip.
    Silicon power also has some tools on their website.

    • Beau W
      October 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      Sometimes people find usb drives or other portable hard drives in a pile of unused hardware. Who knows what people did to it before that. Could have been used on a mac or linux. Hardly nonsense. This article is great.

    • Daniel
      March 21, 2014 at 12:55 am

      Most problems are from the OSes in my experience. I have 3 external hard drives, they first worked and then the computer quit recognizing them.

    • Chris
      March 18, 2015 at 6:46 pm

      "new simple volume" was greyed out and I could not continue further. What do I do now?

  281. Merlin
    October 22, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Good article.
    You should have mentioned though that for all of these actions, you need administrator rights.
    Now that’s where the real problem lies when you are working on a company PC where you only have user rights.
    If there are issues with the drive itself of course, you’ll need other tools to recover the partitions or data on the drive.

    • Dennis
      April 14, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      Hence if you have problems with a company pc, I suggest it's not your problem, but it's a problem for the company administrator!!

    • YourFriendWhoHadThisIssue
      February 26, 2015 at 9:34 am

      You should also check to make sure the USB isn't trying to be recognized under one of your network drives. I had that issue when I had another colleague load a video to my flash drive, and when I plugged it back into mine, it tried to connect to a network drive we use for work.

      If you follow the first step and open the Disk Management tool and see your external hard drive/usb located there, you can right click on it, you can change the Drive Letter and Paths, then select a Drive Letter/Path that isn't being used on your computer already, then it will recognize your device.

  282. Mohammad W
    October 22, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Thanks for this pretty solution

  283. Muhammad A
    October 22, 2013 at 8:33 am

    I found this article very informative. It's new to me. Thanks for helpful information.

  284. tl
    October 22, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Unable to mount SD card with an internal SD card slot; done all of the above but still unable to get it back! From usbdeview this drive is simply not connected. Don't know how to connect it as it come from my mb! Seems I need to do it from bios level but would like to know what alternatives

    • Robert Nelson Lightle
      October 23, 2013 at 6:24 am

      Most likely it is actually a problem with your reader. Depending on the capabilities of your reader it may not be able to read SDHC (4 to 32GB) or SDXC (32GB to 2TB)cards. So if you have a SD only reader you are limited to 4GB max. So to combat this you can get a USB SD reader for very cheap that can read HC and XC cards. Check Amazon or TigerDirect.

      Check this article out for some more info.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital
      Hope that helps.

  285. kammak743
    October 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you so much for this article, perfect timing.
    I got an external HDD a few days ago and it only worked on linux not windows.

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