External Drive Not Recognized? This Is How To Fix It In Windows

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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.


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.


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.

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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. 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 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.


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.


Such problems can be tricky to fix. If the problem started recently, you may want to run System Restore. 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.


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.


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:.


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.


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, 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.


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

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104 Comments - Write a Comment



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.



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

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.
Hope that helps.


Muhammad A

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


Mohammad W

Thanks for this pretty solution



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.


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!!


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.


Armin A

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

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.


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.


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


Kevin Ke

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.


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.


Bradlee TheDawg

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.



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

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.


@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.



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


Ellen O

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).


Smurfy Dog

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.


Bob Young

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.



what do you do if it is read only



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



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?



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.



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.



Thanks for your solution. Drive letter worked for me.



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.



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.



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



Exactly what I needed, thanks



This was amazing. You just saved me!



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


Vijay Gawde

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


Monica Keirn

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

Chris H

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!)



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



Noah G.

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

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.



Many thanks for this great article. Really helpful!



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



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

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.



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



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…



This worked great! Thanks



This worked great! Thanks!



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!



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.



no help of that at all



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!



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? :(


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



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.



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



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.


I think it’s badly damaged my frnd… try consulting an expert… :)



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?


sourabh mehta

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


Jason S

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?



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



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



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?



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

I guess I have done such a thing too!



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.



extremely helpfull



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



didn’t work



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?



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



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!


Dri Ebz

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


Phil Chenevert

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



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



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,



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 :)


Dee Bitner

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.



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.



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?



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



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



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 ..



Great Help



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



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



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


Duncan Blackwell

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 :)



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.



(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.



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



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?



Thankyou very much.



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



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


Chris D

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




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!



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


Mindy R

Thank you so much for this!



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!!!


Patrick DC

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!


Norma Makarem


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!!


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