External Hard Drive Not Recognized? Get It Fixed Here!

Last updated on November 3, 2018 by Bryan

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External Hard Drive Not Recognized? Get It Fixed Here!

Hard drives are the physical memory storage device that are mounted on the system unit. There are two types of hard drives, the internal type and the external hard drive. Internal hard drive are the ones that are connected from within the System Unit, while the external hard drives are removable and are plugged in from a USB port. Since external hard drive is mostly used to store data, they are frequently plugged in from PC to PC. This can cause some errors on the hard drive. One common error is the external hard drive not showing up when you try to use the drive but only to find an error message appearing suddenly. This is an early sign that something is wrong with the external hard drive which most of the time affects the files in it. Read on to know how to fix the external hard drive not recognized by Windows error and a way to restore files affected by the error.

Check the Hard Drive from Disk Management

When the external hard drive not detected error appears, the first thing to do when figuring out if something is wrong with your hard drive, is to check it on the Disk Management window. This window shows all the storage drives that are installed and plugged in into the system. From here, you will know that there is a problem, when there is a hard drive not showing up on Disk Management. Follow the steps below to check if your hard drive is listed on the Disk Management directory.

Step1 Open Disk Management window

From the desktop, press the “Windows and R” keys together to open the “Run dialog” and type in “diskmgmt.msc” and press “Enter”.

launch disk management

Step2 Check the Hard disk

If the hard disk is not visible to the Disk Management window even though it is currently plugged in, then it means the computer does not recognize the Drive.

check hdd

Configure the Hard Drive

There are different ways to determine what type of action to do, to fix the unrecognized hard drive error. Maybe the problem is with the USB port itself that is why the PC does not recognize it. For this reason, try plugging in the hard drive to a different PC. If the PC could detect the Hard Drive, then it is likely that the previous USB port is the one with a problem. Another reason can be because the driver of the hard disk is outdated, that is why it’s not being detected by the system. To fix the mentioned causes, follow the steps below.

Step1 Open the Device Manager

Open the “Run dialog” by pressing the “Windows and R” keys together and type “devmgmt.msc” and press “Enter.”

lauch device manager

Step2 Select the Disk Drive Section

On the Device Manager, navigate and click “Disk Drives” to see the list of Hard Drives that are plugged in. Check if there is a “yellow exclamation point” on the hard drives.

outdated driver

Step3 Update the Disk Driver

Right click on the hard drive that has the “yellow exclamation point” and select the “Update Driver” option to install the latest driver update.

update the driver

Reformat the Hard Drive

Another way to resolve the external hard drive not recognized issue in Windows, is by deleting all the files in it using the FAT32 format. The reason why the hard drive is not recognized by Windows is because sometimes, the format of the Hard Drive is not compatible. Windows can read Mac and Linux format drives. What it can read are NTFS and FAT32 formats. For multiple uses, the FAT32 is much recommended because many devices can read it. Here are the steps on how to reformat the Hard Drive in FAT32.

Step1 Launch Disk Management

Again, open the Disk Management window from the “Run dialog.” Type “diskmgmt.msc” on the search bar and press “Enter.”

run disk management

Step2 Select the Hard Disk to Format

Locate the Hard Drive that needs to be reformatted and right click on it and select “Format.”

format option

Step3 Reformat as FAT32

On the small window, on the “File System” section select the FAT32 and click “OK” to start the format. Wait for it to be finished.

format as fat32

Recover Files With a Recovery Tool

When files get lost or deleted due to the unrecognized error on your hard drive, you can always use the help of recovery tools. One good example of a file recovery tool Acethinker Disk Recovery. This is a powerful tool that can recover files from Office documents to audio and video files. One good thing about Acethinker Disk Recovery is its user-friendly interface. With its powerful recovery capabilities, it can restore files within a short amount of time. Here are the steps on how to use Acethinker Disk Recovery.

Step1 Download the Program and Install it

Get the installer of Acethinker Disk Recovery from the download buttons below. Once the download is complete, install the tool by following the instructions provided.

Try It for Free

Step2 Run the Tool and Start the Recovery

After installation, launch the program. On the home screen of the tool, select the type of files that needs to be recovered and click “Next.”

select file type

Step3 Scan the Hard Drive for the Files

On the next screen, select the hard drive where the tool will conduct a scan and click “Next” to initiate the scan.

scan hard drive

Step4 Choose the File to recover

After the scan is complete, the list of files from the hard drive with error will appear. Select the files that you want and click “Recover” to save the files.

retrieve the files

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Whenever the system says hard drive not recognized by Windows, it is kind of hard to accept because of how much you depend on that Hard Drive. However, with the steps above, you should be able to try to make your Hard Drive work again. Most of the time, reformatting is the one that proves to do the job, in exchange, all your files will be deleted. For this instance, you can use Acethinker Disk Recovery to restore all deleted files. This will make sure that all your files will be back fast and safe.

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April 28, 2017

Post By Bryan to Computer Troubleshooting

Last updated on November 3, 2018

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Comment (2)

  • Hi Cindy, Is there any function available to record on Android Tablets?
    • Hi, if you can connect your tablet to computer as an external hard drive, you will be able to try the solutions. Please have a look at the options when connecting your device and you'll find one as mentioned.
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