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How to Fix Disk 1 Unknown, Not Initialized Western Digital in Windows 10/8/7

Updated by Tracy King on Sep 13, 2021

Disk 1 Unknown, Not Initialized - Western Digital

Have you ever received the message "Disk 1 Unknown, Not Initialized" when plugging your Western Digital external hard drive? If the answer is yes, you are in the right place. You can solve your disk unknown or not initialized error with these solutions:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Initialize WD Disk Download EaseUS Partition Master. Connect the hard drive or SSD to PC...Full steps
Fix 2. Create a New Partition Right-click "This PC" and choose "Manage" > "Disk Management"...Full steps
Fix 3. Recover WD Partition Connect the USB, SD card or external hard drive on which you lost partition to your computer...Full steps
Fix 4. Check Disk Connection Connect your WD external hard drive to another USB port on your computer...Full steps
Fix 5. Update WD Driver Right-click on "This PC" and choose "Properties". Click "Device Manager"...Full steps
Fix 6. Use Manual Repair You can contact Western Digital technical support or find an expert...Full steps

Cases of WD Hard Drive Not Initialized

Most people are bothered with disk not initialized or I/O device error. Here are two cases from some forums: 

Case 1. WD 1TB external hard drive becomes not initialized in PC, help!

"Hi there, do you know how to fix the problem that WD hard drive cannot be detected on my PC. The WD external hard drive becomes Unknown and Not Initialized in Disk Management. What can I do? Please let me know if you have any recommended methods or solutions to fix the WD external HDD not initialized error. Thanks."

Case 2. WD hard drive displays unknown with I/O error in Windows 10

"Do you know how to fix the issue and make unknown WD hard drive detectable again and get rid of the I/O device error on it? My computer cannot recognize my WD hard drive suddenly, and it keeps pops up an error message with an I/O device error. It even shows as Unknown in Disk Management. I'm using Windows 10, and if you know any methods to solve this issue, please let me know. Thank you."

Your situation will have different solutions to the problem "disk not initialized" on your computer.

disk not initialized error situations

Solution 1. Initialize the WD HDD or External Hard Drive

Applies to: Disk not initialized and shows unallocated space

The very first thing you need to do is initialize your hard drive or external devices. It is the quickest and easiest way to fix disk 1 unknown, not initialized error. You can use Disk Management to initialize the disk or use a tool. The easy-to-use partition manager software - EaseUS Partition Master is my recommendation. This software is fully compatible with all Windows systems, and you can directly follow to fix WD HDD/external hard drive not initialized error now.

EaseUS Partition Master

  • Transfer free disk space from one drive to another directly.
  • Resize/move, merge, clone partition, and check file system error.
  • Clone disk, convert to MBR/GPT, convert to dynamic/basic, and even wipe data.
  • Migrate OS, increase partition space, and more

Step 1. Open EaseUS Partition Master. Connect the hard drive or SSD to PC.

Right-click the target HDD or SSD and select "Initialize to MBR" or "Initialize to GPT" accordingly.

Step 2. A pending operation of initializing disk to MBR or GPT disk will be added. Execute the operation and click "Apply".

0:00-0:22 Initialize to MBR; 0:23-0:49 Initialize to GPT;

Solution 2. Fix Disk Unknown by Creating a New Partition

Applies to: Disk not initialized and shows unallocated space

Another way to solve the WD disk unknown or not initialized error is by creating a new partition. You can create a new partition with EaseUS Partition Master or with Disk Management. Here are the steps to create a new partition with Disk Management:

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

Step 2. Right-click the unallocated space and choose "New Simple Volume..."

Step 3. In New Simple Volume Wizard, click "Next" to continue.

Step 4. Follow the wizard to specify the volume size, assign a drive letter to the volume, and format the partition to the wanted file system.

create a new partition to fix disk unknown error

Solution 3. Fix WD Not Initialized by Recovering Partition

Applies to: Disk not initialized and shows unallocated space

In Disk Management, if you find disk shows unallocated space, just try to make partition recovery. To make it, you need an effective partition recovery software - EaseUS Partition Master. As I have mentioned in Solution 1, this software can not only initialize the disk but also recover lost partition. 

Steps to recover lost partition:

Step 1. Connect the external storage device to your computer for lost partition recovery. To begin with, click "Partition Recovery" on the top menu. Then choose the target disk and click "Scan".

external partiton recovery step 1

Step 2. EaseUS Partition Master will scan and display all the partitions that are existing and lost under the selected disk. You can choose the partition that clearly shows as "Lost" in the "Status" tab and click "Proceed".

external partiton recovery step 2

Double-click on a partition will allow you to preview the content.

Step 3. Click "Recover Now" as along as all the lost data has been found. If not, go on with the "Continue Scanning" option.

external partiton recovery step 3

Step 4. Wait the software processing the final recovery. After that, click "Finish".

external partiton recovery step 4

Step 5. Your lost partition should reappear in the drive.

external partiton recovery step 5

If Disk Management can't show any information on neither this hard drive nor its disk capacity, the hard drive might be blocked by the "external hard disk not initialized I/O" error. Then, you should follow the solutions below.

Solution 4. Check Western Digital Disk Connection

Applies to: Disk unknown, not initialized, no disk space

If you are faced with this error, you should check the connection as soon as possible. The connection issue can cause serious problems. To check the connection:

Step 1. Connect your WD external hard drive to another USB port on your computer.

Step 2. Use the original cable to connect your hard drive

Step 3. Use another cable to connect your WD hard disk

Step 4. Connect your WD hard drive to another computer

Solution 5. Update WD Driver to Fix Not Initialized Error

Applies to: Disk unknown, not initialized, no disk space

If your device driver is out of date, you can also encounter WD not initialized error. You can update a device driver by the following steps:

Step 1. Right-click on "This PC" and choose "Properties".

Step 2. Click "Device Manager" then expand "Disk drives". Find and right-click the problematic WD disk and select "Update driver".

Step 3. Click "automatically search for driver software online".

Step 4. Wait for the driver to be updated, then reboot your computer.

update western digital disk driver

Solution 6. Ask Manual Repair for Help

The last choice is to turn to manual repair. You can contact Western Digital technical support or find an expert to repair it. Or try EaseUS 1 on 1 Remote Assistance Service. This service allows you to schedule a remote desktop session with a dedicated support engineer. You can have a try.


When you encounter the error of "Disk 1 Unknown, Not Initialized" Western Digital, never hesitate to read this post. You can get the full guide and solve your problem quickly.

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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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