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

Tracy King updated on May 29, 2020 to Partition Manager | How-to Articles

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:

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

Step 1: Download the software

Download EaseUS Partition Master. Connect the hard drive or SSD to PC.

Step 2: Initialize your HDD/SSD

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

Fig 1. Initialize to MBR:

initialize to mbr

Fig 2. Initialize to GPT:

initialize to gpt

Step 3: Apply the operation

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

click apply to start

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. 

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

Steps to recover lost partition:


Step 1: Connect the external storage device to PC

Connect the USB, SD card or external hard drive on which you lost partition to your computer.

Step 2: Launch EaseUS Partition Master

On the main interface, click on "Partition Recovery".

Run EaseUS Partition Master for partition recovery

Step 3: Select the storage device to scan the lost partition

Select the SD card, USB or external hard drive on which you deleted or lost partition and click "Scan".
And wait till the scanning process completes.

Scan lost partitions

Step 4: Select and restore lost partition.

1. Double-click the found partition, marked as Deleted with the previous Label, to check its content, and then click "Proceed" to continue.

Check lost partition data

2. Click "Recover Now" to restore the lost partition and data on your SD card, USB or external hard drive.

Scan lost partitions

3. Click the "Execute Operation" button and click "Apply" to restore lost partition on the target storage device.

Scan lost partitions

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.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose EaseUS Partition Master?

"I've used Partition Master Professional many times to create, delete, format, move, rename, and resize partitions."PCWorld

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Will the "Migrate OS" feature transfer the Windows system files only or the whole C drive?

To ensure that the migrated system will boot normally, the Migrate OS feature will transfer all the files in the system and the boot partitions. Generally, the boot partition is the C drive so the transfer will include all the files in C.

Does EaseUS Partition Master license apply to multiple computers?

The license of Partition Master Professional and Server editions can be used on 1 computer only, while that for for the Technician and Unlimited editions can be used on multiple machines.

What is the difference between EaseUS Partition Master Trial version and the Free version?

Free is for home users only, with most basic functions available such as partition resize and clone. While trial can help you understand how this product works and test what a full license can do on a business or server OS machine.

Will it cause any data loss after resizing the partition in EaseUS Partition Master?

Generally, it will not cause any data loss or boot issue by resizing a partition. However, in order to protect your data, we suggest that you backup the partition before resizing, in case of any unexpected situations such as power outages, computer hardware failures, etc. You can use EaseUS Todo Backup to backup the partition and its trial version is fully functioned for 30 days.

What should I prepare before resizing the partition?

On the partition that is going to be operated, there might be some files being occupied by other programs. To ensure a successful operation, we suggest that you close all the unnecessary software before resizing that partition. Otherwise, EaseUS Partition Master will detect the partition being locked by the other software and require a reboot to resize the partition under boot mode.

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