How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Windows 10

If your external hard drive is missing from your File Explorer or Disk Management, you can turn to this post. This post provides you with six effective ways to fix the external hard drive not showing up error. If you lose data on your external hard drive, you can run EaseUS data recovery software to get back lost data.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Table of Contents

"I connected a Toshiba 1TB external hard drive to my PC. But it's not showing on this PC. Windows showed a USB not recognized balloon on the first connection but later it was also not showing up. The device is shown only in the name external USB 3.0 in the devices and printers page in control panel but nowhere else."

Possible Reasons for an External Hard Drive Not Showing Up 

Whether you connect a brand new hard drive or an old one to your computer, you may encounter the error - external hard drive not showing up. Just like the case says, the external hard drive is showing up in devices but not in This PC. This is not a rare case, and it happens to lots of people. To figure out the reason why an external hard drive doesn't show up, you must read the possible causes.

  • Insufficient power supply/broken USB port
  • Partition problems
  • Lack of drive letter
  • File system issues
  • Outdated drivers

How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up (6 Ways)

When you suddenly find an external hard drive that is not recognized by the computer, what can you do to solve this error? In the following content, I'd like to tell you what to do if the external hard drive is not detected, or recognized.

  1. 1. Open Disk Management to Check
  2. 2. Troubleshoot Broken USB Ports
  3. 3. Initialize a New External Drive
  4. 4. Assign a Driver Letter
  5. 5. Change the File System
  6. 6. Update the Driver

Method 1. Open Disk Management to Check the Device

The first thing you need to do is open Disk Management to check the external hard drive.

Step 1. Right-click the start (win logo)

Step 2. Select "Disk Management".

open disk management to check your external hard drive

Step 3. Browse the drive list to look for your external disk.

If you see the external hard disk showing up in Disk Management as unallocated/not initialized/offline, it could be easy to fix the external HDD not showing the problem (refer to Method 3). This is what people described as an external hard drive detected but not showing in This PC.

check the hard drive condition in disk management

Method 2. Troubleshoot Broken USB Ports

If the external HDD is not showing up when it's connected via a USB 2.0 port, you can also try a USB 3.0 port to detect the drive. Besides, you can try to connect the external hard drive directly to your PC and see whether your computer can detect the external hard drive.

connect your external hard drive to your computer directly

Method 3. Initialize a New External Drive

If your external hard drive is a brand new disk, you need to initialize it first. Then create a new partition on it. By doing so, you'll make your new external hard drive show up on Windows 11/10/8/7.

Step 1. Right-click "This PC" (in Windows 10) and choose "Manage".

Step 2. Go to "Disk Management", right-click your new hard disk, and choose "Initialize Disk".

initialize the external hard drive to make it show up

Step 3. Select the disk and choose MBR or GPT as its partition style, click "OK" to start.

Step 4. Right-click on the unallocated space on your new drive and select "New Simple Volume...".

click new simple volume

Step 5. Set the volume size, drive letter, and file system as NTFS to the new hard drive.

Step 6. Click "Finish" when the process completes.

click finish to create a new partition on the external hard drive

Then, you can see the external hard drive show up on This PC.

Method 4. Assign a Driver Letter

Your external could be missing from This PC if it doesn't have a drive letter. Thus, you can fix this error by changing the drive letter.

Step 1. Go to "Disk Management", right-click the disk partition which has no drive letter.

Step 2. Choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths" from the context menu.

assign a drive letter to fix external hard drive not showing

Step 3. Click the "Add" button in the pop-up window.

click add to choose a drive letter

Step 4. Assign a drive letter to the partition and click "OK" to confirm.

click ok to start the process

Most people could find their external hard drive in Disk Management after assigning a drive letter.

Method 5. Change the File System to Make It Recognizable

Your external hard drive could also disappear from This PC if the file system is not compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7. Fat32, exFAT, and NTFS have their compatibilities and limitations. If you are using an APFS drive on a Windows 10 computer, your drive doesn't show up. Therefore, you can change the file system to fix the external hard drive not showing an error.

Step 1. Keep the external hard drive connected to the PC.

Step 2. Open Disk Management and right-click the external hard drive with the RAW or unknown file system.

Step 3. Select "Format" and set "NTFS" or "exFAT" for the external hard drive.

change the file system to make the external hard drive show up in Disk Management

Step 4. Select "OK" to finish the formatting.

Method 6. Update the Driver

If the external hard drive works with one computer and fails to be detected by another, you can try to update the external hard drive driver.

Step 1. Right-click "This PC" and choose "Manage".

Step 2. Click "Device Manager" then expand "Universal Serial Bus Controllers".

Step 3. Right-click the device and select "Update driver".

Step 4. Choose "Search automatically for updated driver software" and restart your computer.

update the external hard drive driver to fix external hard drive not showing windows 10

When the process completes, you can open Disk Management to check if the external hard drive shows up. If the methods fail to help you, contact the external hard drive seller for refund and exchange services.

Bonus Tip - How to Recover Data from External Hard Drive

You will lose data if you have run the format operation in Method 5. But you don't need to panic, you can restore external hard drive data after formatting. The only thing you need is EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. This hard disk data recovery software can recover lost photos, files, documents, videos, after deleting, formatting, partition loss, OS crash, virus attack, and other data loss scenarios. Follow the steps below to get back data from an external hard drive.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Step 1. Connect the external drive to PC for a scan

Connect the external hard disk to your PC and let Windows recognize the disk and assign it a drive letter. Now launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Windows. Find your drive you want to recover and click Scan.

select external hard drive

Step 2. Check the scan results

The scan process takes place in two stages, including a quick scan and deep scan. Deep scan is for searching lost data files that even lost file names, so it's worth waiting longer for the whole scan process to finish and find all desired data. You can try to preview the found files one by one by following their original paths from the leftside tree-view pane, or simply use the Filter function to specify the file type of one kind, like pictures, videos, documents, emails, etc.

scan external hard drive

Step 3. Select files and recover

Finally, when you are satisfied with the preview results, you can start to select the target files and use the Recover button to get them all back. We suggest you save the recovered files to a location other than the original external hard drive where you lost data.

preview and recover data

Conclusion

Removable hard drives are pretty intuitive and helpful to our daily life. But sometimes your PC won't recognize the hard drive when you plug it in. You don't have to worry about it because you have learned six tested ways to fix this error. By the way, if you have data loss problems during the repairing process, you can turn to EaseUS data recovery software.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Was This Page Helpful?

Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

Read full bio

Product Reviews

TrustScore 4.7 | 323 reviews
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a powerful system recovery software, designed to enable you to recover files you’ve deleted accidentally, potentially lost to malware or an entire hard drive partition.

    Read More
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past.

    Read More
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro has a reputation as one of the best data recovery software programs on the market. It comes with a selection of advanced features, including partition recovery, formatted drive restoration, and corrupted file repair.

    Read More