How can I initialize an external hard drive in Windows that is no longer recognized?

Lasha Shartava March 24, 2013
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I accidentally removed my HP USB external hard drive without ejecting it. On trying to use it again, it cannot be seen in my computer. It is seen in the device manager, but recognized as an uninitialized device.
I tried initializing it using Windows 7, but it said required sector not found. I have tried using some software and it recognizes it as bad disk.
My question, is there a solution to the problem my HDD has? If so, please let me know because there is a lot of important information I need to retrieve form it. I will be very grateful if am helped.

  1. Chris Marcoe
    March 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Similar to what JustinPot says...have you tried plugging it into another USB port? Or into an entirely different machine? I've fixed an unrecognized HDD or flash drive get recognized that way...

  2. justinpot
    March 25, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Sometimes just properly disconnecting the device after plugging it back in helps. I assume you've already done that?

  3. Oron Joffe
    March 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    If ha14's suggestion works, great!
    Otherwise, if you'd like to keep the data on the hard disc, I'd suggest using a data recovery program such as ADRC data recovery tools, Pandora Recovery or Easyus Partition recovery.
    If you're not bothered about what's on the hard disc, you can repartition it & reformat it as follows:
    Go into the Control Panel=>System and Security=>Administrative Tools
    Run Computer Management
    Click on "Storage" (under "Disk Management")
    You will find a list of drives (called "Discs" in the program), where Disc 0 usually contains your C: drive.
    Locate your external drive in the list, right click on the drive area (the rectangle to the right of the drive name), which will probably be called "unallocated", and RIGHT-click on it. Choose "New Simple Volume" and follow the steps on the screen to repartition and reformat your drive. If compatibility with other systems (e.g. non-Windows) is important, format the disc as FAT32, otherwise choose NTFS. Unless you have have *a lot* of time on your hands (many hours) choose to "Perform a quick format" which will only take seconds.

  4. SaapeXD MoHods
    March 25, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Keep the Hard disk without use for some time (like 24 hours ) and Run ChkDsk on the drive to see if there are any bad sectors. (given that, if the hard disk dosn't show up in mycomputer , you probably cannot run chkdsk )

    ALso try to mount the hard disk in Linux (ubuntu) , if successful, backup the data.

  5. somu1795
    March 25, 2013 at 10:42 am

    In most cases a corrupt harddrive may not work with windows...... so better you use a linux distribution to repair or backup the files from it.

  6. Cindy Young
    March 25, 2013 at 9:34 am

    these two articles discuss on "External Hard Drive is not recognized by my computer", they may help you.

  7. Jim Chambers
    March 24, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Try free partition recovery software such as EaseUS Partition Master Home Edition or Mini Tools Partition Wizard to recover root partition.

  8. ha14
    March 24, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    hope the hard drive is not damaged.

    1. Go to run and type cmd then right click on it and choose run as administrator
    2. type DISKPART and hit enter
    3. type : LIST DISK. This will show you all the connected disk with the offline one.
    4. Now select the offline disk using the next command SELECT DISK wheredisk_no is the offline disk number which you can get from step 3 result.
    5. Now you have selected the offline disk. Now enter command ONLINE DISK.

    you can also do the following if you wish (depending the situation of the hard drive perhaps windows will not recognize it again!)
    1) plug the hard drive
    2) go to device manager
    3) locate the hard drive, right click on it and choose uninstall (do not delete)
    4) reboot windows, see if the hard drive will be detected and driver will be installes

    • Paul Pruitt
      March 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      ha14 does this partition the disk?

      What about trying to run ChkDsk on the disk?

    • ha14
      March 24, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      this will not partition hard drive because the command is ONLINE DISK

      to try chkdsk on command prompt type chkdsk /f You'll be asked if you want to run on restart. Type Y to accept and restart windows. chkdsk can attempt to recover files if thinks the hard drive is in bad shape, hope will not cause problems and corrupt files.

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