Recover External Hard Drive That Is Not Recognized

Roxanne updated on Aug 23, 2019 to Data Recovery | How-to Articles


If your external hard drive or hard drive is not recognized or detected, keep calm. EaseUS hard drive data recovery software can help you easily recover hard disk data when it is not detected or recognized. Try it to solve external hard drive not recognized problem without data loss.

OverviewWhen and why the external hard drive is not recognized

An external hard drive is definitely helpful for data backup or data transfer. But sometimes it also brings trouble when it is not recognized or detected by the computer. This usually happens with some error messages like:

  1. "The drive is not formatted"
  2. "The drive cannot be accessed"
  3. "RAW drive is not initialized" etc.

When the drive is corrupted due to improper usage or simply because the disk has been used for too many times, how to fix this error? Usually, there are three major reasons that Windows cannot recognize your hard drive: 

  • A hardware issue with your computer's USB port
  • A driver problem with your Windows computer
  • The drive becomes dead

So, first, connect your external hard drive to another computer and test if it is the USB port problem. If it works on another computer, you should fix the USB port. Otherwise, you need to try the following methods to fix external drive not recognized issues and retrieve data.

If your hard drive cannot be detected in Disk Management or My computer, EaseUS data recovery software won't work. Make sure you have solved the Not Detected Problem before doing data recovery.

Case 1HDD is not showing or detected in My Computer or Disk management

Sometimes, the external hard drive doesn't appear in your Computer window but list in the Disk Management window because it doesn't contain any partitions.

So, first press "Windows Key + R", type diskmgmt.msc into the Run dialog and press "Enter" to check if the drive shows up in Disk Management.

open disk management

If you do see the drive here, you can first perform external hard drive recovery to restore data from the disk by using EaseUS data recovery software and then format it properly. So Windows or your other devices can access and recognize it.

If the drive doesn't show up in Disk Management after you've tried another computer, you may try the Device Manager. To do it, you need to press "Windows Key + R", type devmgmt.msc into the Run dialog, and press "Enter".

open device manager

Look under Disk drives and check for any devices with a yellow exclamation mark next to them. If there was a yellow mark, it can be sure the drive has a driver problem. Right-click the device and select "Properties", and look at the error message. This error message can help you fix the problem.

Case 2Hard drive becomes RAW and is inaccessible

First, DO NOT do as Windows requires. If you did so, all data in the drive would be lost. You should take immediate action to get those important data out from the inaccessible hard drive and then format it. A disk data recovery tool will be a good helper to recover data from the RAW drive. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best tool to make hard disk recovery and recover data from any data loss situations. It can help you get lost data back with simple clicks.

Step 1. Locate and scan the RAW hard drive.

On EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, locate the RAW drive and then click "Scan". The program will automatically scan all lost files and data on the RAW drive.

select the raw drive

Step 2. Find and preview found data in the RAW drive. 

When the scanning process finishes, find lost RAW drive data in "Deleted Files", "Lost Files" or "Existing Files". Filter and Search features also can locate the found files with ease. Check and double-click each file to preview them. 

scan the raw drive

Step 3. Restore and save RAW drive data.

Choose the found files from RAW Drive and click "Recover" to save the items to a new location.

select files and click recover

After data recovery, you can format the RAW external hard drive to the proper file system to make it detected.

  • Step 1: Connect the external hard drive to PC > Right-click on This PC > Manage > Disk Management.
  • Step 2: Find and right-click on the external hard drive > Select Format volume...
  • Step 3: Reset the external hard drive letter and system file (NTFS) and save all changes.

format the not recognized external hard drive

After this, reboot your PC and reconnect the external hard drive to the PC. You should be able to reuse it.

Case 3There is something wrong with your device driver

If your external hard drive still cannot be recognized, you can update the driver to fix it. o update hard drive drivers for your computer storage controller follow the steps below.

  • Step 1: Click the Start button > Type: Device Manager and hit Enter.
  • Step 2: Select Device Manager, expand categories to find the name of your hard drive and right-click it.
  • Step 3: Select Update Driver > Select Search automatically for updated driver software.

update device driver

If Windows doesn't find a new driver for your drive, try to find the latest one on the device manufacturer's website.

Case 4The HDD is not detected because it's dead

The dead hard drive eventually affects all computer users. But you can still fix it.


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"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, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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