External Hard Drive Not Showing Up {Solved}

External hard drives are portable storage devices that connect to the system via a USB cable or wireless connection. External hard drives are in vogue among users because of their versatility made possible by their large capacity. The portability of external hard drives is overwhelming, making it one of the most common free items purchased with a computer.

With the latest version of Microsoft Windows, working with an external hard drive is as easy as turning a light on and off. Just plug it in via USB and remove it when you’re done. The computer system automatically detects the device when it is connected and provides a stable platform for multiple tasks.

Sometimes this connection cannot be automatically detected by the system and the problem starts here. After some time, users are very irritated when they cannot find the folder on the external hard drive as usual in Windows or in the file explorer.

To troubleshoot when the external hard drive does not appear in Windows 10

There are many ways to troubleshoot external hard drives in Windows 10. The simplest and most effective remedies are described in this guide. Users who read this manual can solve the problem in a few minutes.

Let’s start with the most basic solutions and progress gradually if the problem persists. Make sure you perform the following steps before making any corrections.

  • Connect the USB through different ports to ensure that the ports themselves are not damaged.
  • Make sure the USB cable is working properly and is not damaged.
  • Check that the hard drive is not damaged and is in good condition.

Solution 1: Performing basic troubleshooting tasks

Troubleshooting is the simplest and one of the most basic ways to solve a problem affecting your system. Here, the user reports a problem to a system troubleshooter, who then analyzes the problem and finds some kind of solution based on the nature of the problem. This is usually done through a troubleshooting process where the troubleshooter solves the problem by following a set of rules.

Please follow the instructions below to resolve this issue:

  1. Press the Windows + I key to open the settings.
  2. Click on the Updates and Security tab.
  3. Click Troubleshooting in the left pane.
  4. Perform troubleshooting under Hardware and Devices.
  5. Complete the process and restart the system when finished.

If the system is able to find or detect an underlying problem, it automatically fixes it for the user.

Solution 2: Hard Drive Driver Update

Outdated or expired hard disk drivers may cause a non-recognition problem. This is usually due to the system not being able to communicate with the external interface of the hard drive that allows the communication. Therefore, the only way to fix this situation is to update the pilots to make sure this is not the case.

Follow the steps below to successfully update the drivers as soon as possible.

  1. Go to the Start menu, find the Device Manager and open it.
  2. Scroll down to the Storage Controls tab and click the drop-down list.
  3. Right-click on the display device and click Update Driver.
  4. You can perform updates by automatically searching the Internet for the latest updates or by searching your local computer files for previously downloaded versions of the latest updates.

Restart the computer after applying the updates. This would solve the problem if the cause of the problem was outdated operating system software.

Solution 3: Removal of conductors

Sometimes the downloaded driver software may become corrupted and unreadable by the system processor. This prevents the disc players from operating properly. To solve this problem, simply uninstall the drivers and reinstall them with the correct configuration in the default settings. To do this, carry out the following step:

  1. Go to the Start menu, find the Device Manager and open it.
  2. Scroll down to the Players tab and double-click to view the available devices.
  3. Right-click on the device displaying an error and click Remove.
  4. Then expand and double-click the Universal Serial Bus Controller tab to display the list. Select the driver, right-click on it and then click Remove.
  5. Finally, right-click on an empty area of the Device Manager window and select Check for Hardware Changes. This will automatically detect remote packages and reinstall them properly.
  6. Restart your computer.

This solution will definitely work if the problem is caused by damaged disk files.

Solution 4: Behavioural change Letter

The system has built-in drivers that are allocated memory space and identified by different letters. These letters define the memory usage path on which these slices are executed.

When two hard drives share the same drive letter, an undesired conflict can sometimes arise in the allocation of system storage. This problem should be solved immediately to avoid future anomalies.

Follow the steps below to change the drive letter.

  1. Press the Windows + X keys to open the context menu.
  2. Choose Disk Management from the list.
  3. Find the portable hard drive you want and right-click on it.
  4. Select Change letter and path.
  5. A window appears showing the current drive letter.
  6. To change it, click the Edit button and select a new letter. Make sure you choose a single letter.
  7. Choose Yes when the confirmation window appears.
  8. Restart your computer.

Solution 5: Unlock hidden or empty drives

On many systems, folders or empty drives are hidden by default to avoid unnecessary clicking of icons on the screen. This can be a major problem that hides the driver icons in the Windows Explorer menu, so users cannot find their external hard drive icons.

This patch is often used to extract empty directories and drivers. It is recommended that the user remembers this method and refers to other errors. This solution is too convenient and useful to go unnoticed. Follow the steps below to disconnect all empty folders and drives and make them visible once and for all.

Decision 5.1: File explorer

  1. Go to the Start menu, find the file explorer and open it.
  2. In the top right corner, find the File tab and left-click on it.
  3. Choose Edit Folder and Search Options.
  4. Click on the View tab and go to the Advanced Settings section.
  5. Select the Do not show hidden files, folders or drives check box.
  6. Click Apply and then click OK.
  7. It is advisable to restart the computer.

Decision 5.2: Device management

  1. Go to the Start menu, find the Device Manager and open it.
  2. Click the View tab and select the Show hidden devices check box.
  3. Make sure there are no external readers among the access readers.
  4. Restart the computer when it appears.

This should solve the problem of hidden folders and disks and allow the user to access the appropriate disks without any problems.

Solution 6: Assign a new volume to the hard disk

Computer system means any physical space on the hard drive that belongs to a partition as assigned. When you install a new hard drive or other device, the system setup automatically allocates storage space to that device. But sometimes, when this particular step fails on its own, the drive or device may remain unassigned and the system will not be able to read the device.

This is where the proper distribution of space comes into play. Sometimes careless formatting of hard drives without allocation also causes this error. This solution assigns a new volume on the system to the external drive. Follow the instructions below:

Pay attention: Data previously formatted on the external drive may not be recoverable.

  1. Press the Windows + X keys to open the context menu.
  2. Choose Disk Management from the list.
  3. After opening the Disk Management window, uneven blue and black bars appear on the system’s hard drive. The blue bar indicates memory already allocated and the black bar indicates unallocated or unused memory.
  4. Right-click on the unallocated space and select New Single Volume.
  5. An installation wizard will appear to guide you through the process.
  6. The wizard will prompt for changes to the mapping size and drive letter.
  7. The predefined numbers and letters must be correct, as the system calculates the required memory and allocates it accordingly.
  8. Click the Next button and go to the screen that displays an option to quickly format the disk. Select the check box next to the Quick Format option to enable the hard disk formatting feature.

Pay attention: A fast format allows you to delete all data.

  1. When the wizard completes, the drive is assigned a new location in the system and a unique drive letter.

This should resolve any space allocation issues and ensure normal operation of the drive by the system drives.

Solution 7: Make sure the player is set to.

Activating the player is the next step to make sure it actually works after creating a new space for the player. Therefore, always perform this step after the above solution, i.e. solution 6.

  1. Press the Windows + X keys to open the context menu.
  2. Choose Disk Management from the list.
  3. Find the disk you just marked in the lower left window.
  4. Right-click on the external drive and check its status.
  5. If the status is disabled, click Online to enable it so that the player’s system drivers will read it correctly.
  6. This allows the player to be used in a file exploration window.

This special solution is performed after allocating new space for the volume on the external drive to ensure it is in online mode.


This particular error when reading the disk is very frustrating for people who do not have basic technical knowledge. This guide will allow them to share this knowledge and correct this mistake once and for all. Even for technology veterans, this guide can be an entry point to get back to basics. These things are very simple, yet people tend to forget them.

external hard drive not showing up macexternal hard drive not showing up in disk managementexternal hard drive not showing windows 10how to repair external hard disk not detectedexternal hard drive not showing up in disk management windows 10external hard disk detected but not openingexternal hard drive spinning but not showing upinternal hard drive not showing up

You May Also Like