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USB External Hard Drive Not Showing Up in Windows 11 (99% Users Rated Useful)

Updated by Jean on Apr 18, 2022

USB external hard not showing up in windows 11

How frustrating is it when you plug in a drive only to find that the external USB hard drive not showing up in Windows 11? You can imagine how irritated we get, prizing away at nothing while waiting for that pesky error to go away. If you've confirmed a connection but cannot seem to be able to find or fix driver issues - don't worry! There are many solutions available online with just one click of a button on the Google search engine's webpage interface (which saves time). Let's dive in to get more information.

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Quick Navigation to All Professional Fixing Methods:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix not showing in File Explorer

Fix 1. Try other available USB ports...Full steps
Fix 2. Run Windows 11 Troubleshooter...Full steps
Fix 3. Enable USB selective suspend setting...Full steps
Fix 4. Disallow Windows 11 to turn off this device to save power...Full steps
Fix 5. Assign a new drive letter to the USB drive...Full steps
Fix 6. Format the external USB drive with NTFS or exFAT format...Full steps

Fix not showing in Disk Management Fix 7. Update drivers for USB Root Hub and Generic USB Hub controller...Full steps
Fix 8. Reinstall drivers for the not recognized USB drivers...Full steps
Fix files & folders not showing up Fix 9. Show hidden files and folders...Full steps
Fix Raw drive not showing up Fix 10. Convert Raw to NTFS/FAT32/exFAT...Full steps

Windows 11 Not Detecting My USB External Hard Drive

Windows 11 not detecting my usb external hard drive

Many users have reported that Windows 11 does not recognize USB devices, particularly storage systems such as an external hard drive. This isn't the only issue that users have reported and many claims that their USB external hard drive missing after Windows 11 update. Also, in the scenario where the users upgraded to Windows 11 from the previous OS version, i.e., Windows 10. Hence, whether you upgraded to Windows 11 or updated your copy of Windows 11, chances are you have run into the issue of a non-detectable USB external hard drive under Windows 11. 

In such a case, users are advised to ensure the external drive is properly configured and check for physical damage. It is also possible that a new external hard drive will not appear for some other reasons. 

Why is USB External Hard Drive Not Showing Up in Windows 11?

Why is usb external hard drive not showing up in windows 11?

There can possibly be more than one reason why your Windows 11 system does not detect your external USB storage drive. These may include the following issues or reasons: 

  • The device is hidden in Windows 11 
  • USB port is not working 
  • Incompatible/outdated drivers 
  • Incompatible file systems with Windows 11 
  • Insufficient power supply 
  • Hard drive corruption

How to Fix USB External Hard Drive Not Showing in Windows 11 File Explorer

The following are the best ways that will surely help you fix USB external hard drive not showing in Windows 11 File Explorer: 

Fix 1. Try other available USB ports 

You should check whether or not your drive is turned on. Using an external USB hard drive can have a blinking light to indicate that it's powered on and working when you plug it into a USB port. You may also have heard a fan spinning, which shows that the hard disc is powered up.

If none of these conditions and signs are available, then try changing between the available USB ports. Next, get a new USB cord and try plugging in with it. If the hard disc still won't turn on, it's probably damaged physically or has developed a fault. 

How to fix usb external hard drive not showing in windows 11 file explorer

Fix 2. Run Windows 11 Troubleshooter 

Lucky for you Windows 11 provides a nifty tool to fix external hard drives and flash drives known as the Hardware and Device Troubleshooter

To access and run the troubleshooter, execute the following steps:  

  • Open the Windows 11 Settings panel (Windows + I). 
  • Next, choose the Update and Security from the Windows Settings panel. 
  • Click on the Troubleshoot tab and choose Hardware and Devices from the right pane. 
  • Click on the Run the Troubleshooter button. 
  • The troubleshooter will scan, and Windows will display a list of issues found. 
  • From this list, choose the one you want to fix. 
  • Click Next to complete the process. 

run windows 11 troubleshooter

Fix 3. Enable USB selective suspend setting 

  • Open the Run window and type "devmgmt.exe," and press OK 
  • The device manager window will open, listing all the devices on your computer 
  • Locate Universal Serial Bus controllers and expand the category
  • Locate the devices having Hub in mentioned in their name. For example, select Generic USB Hub, then Right Click and Choose Properties 
  • Select the Power Management tab from the window which opens 
  • Check the option Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power 
  • Finally, press OK to enable the USB selective suspend setting

Enable usb selective suspend setting

Fix 4. Disallow Windows 11 to turn off this device to save power 

  • Go to the Power Options from Control Panel
  • Enter the Change Plan Settings and allow Put the Computer to Sleep, to Never
  • Now, enter the Change Advanced Power Setting to expand Hard Disk and Sleep.
  • Allow Turn off hard disk after, Hibernate after, and Sleep after to Never.
  • Now, click apply and click Save Changes. Select USB selective suspended settings or USB settings to be disabled.
  • Now set Turn off display after to Never. Now click the Device Manager from the Control panel.
  • Open Network adapters and select Properties from the Network card.
  • Now, enter the Power Management tab and ensure unchecking the box for Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.
  • Now, press OK to finish the process. 

Disallow windows 11 to turn off this device to save power

5. Assign a new drive letter to the USB drive  

You need to open Disk Management and then go to the Change Drive Letter and Paths. After this, press OK to finish the setup.  

Assign a new drive letter to the usb drive

Fix 6. Format the external USB drive with NTFS or exFAT format  

Within the disk management, you will also get the option of formatting the external USB drive. Follow the process through the given image and the article on how to format an external USB hard drive to process it.  

 Format the external usb drive with ntfs or exfat format

However, formatting the device will delete your data. When it is necessary to get back your data, you can use EaseUS Todo Backup Free to back up the hard drive for free.

EaseUS Todo Backup Free

  • Supports full disk/partition backup of files, programs and operating system
  • Designs for protecting data from a failing hard drive by taking a significant backup
  • Makes a bootable rescue media to access a none-bootable 
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How to Fix USB External Hard Drive Not Showing in Windows 11 Disk Management

How to fix usb external hard drive not showing in windows 11 disk management

There are two methods to fix USB external hard drive not showing in windows 11 disk management: 

Fix 7. Update drivers for USB Root Hub and Generic USB Hub controller

You can fix it by updating the USB Root Hub and Generic USB Hub controller. Go to Device Manager and update Drivers. See the image above.  

Update drivers

Fix 8. Reinstall drivers for the not recognized USB drivers

You can fix it by reinstalling drivers for the not recognized USB drivers. Go to Device Manager, and the same method will be applicable to reinstall drivers. 

Reinstall drivers

More Troubleshooting Tips for Windows 11 Not Recognizing an External USB Drive 

However, some other most important and simple troubleshooting tips exist to help you Recognize an External USB Drive.  

Fix 9. Files & Folders Not Showing up in External Hard Drive in Windows 11 

Try to show hidden files, folders and drive in Windows 11 file explorer options. See the image to know how to show hidden files.

show hidden files

Fix 10. RAW USB hard drive that is not detecting in Windows 11

A raw USB hard drive won't show up normally until you formatted the Raw file system with a recognized NTFS, FAT32 or exFAT file format. The formatting procedure is the same as the Fix 6 presented. 

You can also fix the problem by fixing a RAW USB hard drive that is not detected in Windows 11. You can use it by updating the USB driver. See the image above to fix it.  

format raw external usb hard drive to fix not showing up problem

How to Fix External USB Hard Drive Not Showing Problem Without Losing Data

So, now you know the methods for Windows 11 to detect your external USB storage. In this blog post, for your convenience, we've attempted to provide the most useful and effective techniques and steps for you to enable your USB external hard drive under Windows 11. You can also use third-party software like EaseUS Todo Backup in such scenarios. This software is simple to use and may be used by virtually anyone. We recommend that you try it at least once to realize its power and utility. All in all, backup is the 100% guaranteed way to protect data on a not recognizing the external hard drive.

EaseUS Todo Backup Free

  • Supports full disk/partition backup of files, programs and operating system
  • Designs for protecting data from a failing hard drive by taking a significant backup
  • Makes a bootable rescue media to access a none-bootable 
 Free Download

Support Windows 11/10/8/7

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Updated by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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