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How to Fix External Drive Not Recognized in Windows

Updated on Dec 04, 2018 by Abby Haines to Partition Manager

External hard drive not recognized or shows up in my computer? Don’t worry! This page tells you how to fix external drive not recognized problem and find your missing disk in simple ways.

External drive not recognized or doesn't show up in Windows? Don't worry! This page tells you how to fix this problem and find your missing external hard drive in easy ways.

External Drive Not Recognized Cases

"I have just updated from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and when I plug in my USB drive, it doesn't show up in my computer. Is there any solution to fix USB drive not recognized in Windows 10?"

"Windows 10 can't find external USB 3.0 drives, how to fix? I just upgraded my computer from Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10. I notice that my external USB 3.0 drives can't be found. Before the upgrade it was ok. Is there any positive suggestion to fix this problem?"

"Missing hard drive after installing Windows 10, what can I do? After Windows 10 update, my Seagate 3TB drive decided it no longer wanted to be recognized by Windows anymore. I currently have 2TB of data on it. Any advice on how to fix the problem and recover my data?"

Many Windows users have run into such a problem: connect external hard drive or USB flash drive to the computer and find that it's not recognized. The accident can be caused by many reasons, for example, using the wrong file system, partition issues on your external drive, driver issues in Windows, dead USB ports, or some other unknown reasons. Next, we will show you how to fix all these external drive not recognized problems in Windows.

Check If the Drive Shows up in Disk Management

Sometimes, the problem is when you plug in a thumb drive or external USB hard drive, but AutoPlay doesn't run, and when you look in Computer you don't see the drive. It might because that Windows named the drive to a letter that is already in use. So first, you need to check whether the drive shows up in Disk Management.

1. Press Windows Key + R, type diskmgmt.msc into the Run dialog and press Enter to open the Disk Management tool.

2. All your external drive will be listed here. You should be able to determine which one is the drive you're trying to access by its size and format type.

3. If you do see the drive here, you can right-click on the drive and select "Change Drive Letter" and "Paths" or format it correctly to fix external drive not recognized the problem.

After all these operations, the external drive can be successfully recognized and accessed by Windows when you connect it to your computer next time. If this method is not helpful, you can continue to step next to make your drive be recognized. 

Make Your External Drive Be Recognized Using Device Manager

If you don't see the drive in Disk Management, Windows may be having a driver problem with the drive. You can check for this using the Device Manager. 

1. Press Windows Key + R, type devmgmt.msc into the Run dialog and press Enter to open Device Manager. Check if there is a device with a yellow exclamation mark under Disk drives.  

2. Right-click the device with a yellow exclamation mark, select "Properties", and look at the error message which can help you fix the external drive be recognized problem. 

3. If the problem started recently, you could run "System Restore". You can use the Update Driver button to install an updated driver, use the Roll Back Driver button to revert any changes or use the Uninstall button to uninstall the device from your system and hope that Windows will reinstall the driver and configure it correctly when you reconnect the drive.

I hope at least one of the above methods can help you fix external drive be recognized in Windows. And if you want to find a reliable tool to handle other disk-related problems in Window, for example, partition and format the hard disk, create, delete, move, resize, copy partition, we recommend you EaseUS partition tool. With various flexible and advanced features, this program can help you deal with common disk problems such as extending system partition, settling low disk space problem, managing space easily on MBR & GPT disk.

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 Windows 10 is supported