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Fix 'Hard Drive Is not Showing Up or Recognized' in Windows 10/8/7

Updated on Nov 30, 2018 by Abby Haines to Resource


Internal, external, and new hard drives become unrecognized to varying degrees. Sometimes the hard drive does not show up in This PC but is available in Disk Management. Other times it is nowhere to be found. Initialize a new disk, update the disk driver, or format a drive to get it recognized. In some cases, data loss is unavoidable to fix the problem, so data recovery software is offered to prevent permanent loss.

Sometimes, when you plug in your external hard drive or USB devices, you may find that it is completely unrecognized or not showing up on your PC. The problem occurs frequently and can result in data loss. Hard drives not showing up has frustrated a large number of users. In view of this, we've collected some troubleshooting fixes on this page to teach you how to access the missing hard drive on Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista computers without losing any data.

Case 1 - PC not Recognizing a New Hard Drive
Case 2 - Hard Drive not Showing in Disk Management
Case 3 - PC not Recognizing External Devices

Read on to find the solution that pertains to your issue.

Case 1 PC not Recognizing a New Hard Drive

When a brand-new hard drive is not showing up or being detected by your PC, please follow the guidelines here to get it recognized:

Step 1. Connect or reconnect your new hard drive to the computer 

1. Plug the SATA cable and power cable into the new drive.

Connect new hard drive to PC.

2. Plug the SATA cable into the SATA port on your motherboard.

Reconnect new hard drive to PC.

3. Power up the computer and you'll likely see that the new hard drive is still not showing up.

Your new drive is not dead. To get the hard drive to show up, you must first initialize it.

Step 2. Initialize the new hard drive

1. Go to the start menu and click on Disk Management.

Open Disk Management to initialize new hard drive.

2. Find your new disk, shown as Unknown, right-click on it and select Initialize Disk.

Initialize new hard drive.

3. Select the partition style for the selected disk - MBR or GPT, then click OK.

Complete to initialize the new hard drive.

Step 3. Create partitions on the new hard drive and get it recognized by PC

Then you can create new partitions on the unallocated space on your new drive:

  1. 1. Open Disk Mangement.
  2. 2. Create partitions on the new hard drive to get the drive to show up on your PC.
  3. Right-click on Unallocated space > New Simple Volume > Click Next to set partition size and drive letter, file system etc > Finish.

There, you will now see that your new hard drive shows up on the computer and you can use the drive to save files and data as normal.

Case 2Internal Hard Drive Displayed in Disk Management, but not in This PC

When your hard drive is not showing up in This PC, you must format the drive to get it recognized. To do this without data loss: use data recovery software to get all of the inaccessible data off of the drive, format the device, then restore your data back to the drive.

First. Recover data on the unrecognized hard drive

When the hard drive fails to show up in My Computer or This PC, you won't be able to access the saved data. To find and restore your precious data, you'll need professional hard drive data recovery software.

To save your time and energy, here we'd like to recommend EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

This data recovery tool only works when your hard drive can be detected by Disk Management.
If your hard drive doesn't show up in Disk Management, please jump to Case 3 for help.

Step 1: Selecting

  • Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and select the drive where you lose your data.
  • Select the very hard drive when you open the file recovery software.
select the hard drive

Step 2: Scanning

  • Click the "Scan" button. The length of the scanning time highly depends on the drive capacity.
  • Wait patiently during this process.
scan the hard drive

Step 3: Recovering

  • After the scan, just choose what you need and click "Recover" button to recover lost data.
  • The "Filter", "Search" and "Extra Files" options are helpful for you to find the desired data from a hard drive.
recover data from hard drive

Second. Format the hard drive to make it show up on the computer again

  • Step 1: Press Windows Key + R, type diskmgmt. msc into the Run dialog, and press Enter.
  • Step 2: In Disk Management, right-click the hard disk partition you need to format and then choose Format.

Format not showing up hard drive.

Step 3: In the pop-up window, set the file system and cluster size, then click OK.

After this, you should be able to view and use your hard drive in This PC or My Computer again. Save the recovered back onto your drive, and it will be the same as before.

Case 3External Hard Drive Unrecognized by both This PC & Disk Management

If you don't see the hard drive in disk management nor My Computer/This PC, please try the following methods to make it recognized by your PC again:

Step 0. Check external hard drive USB port, cable, and connection

  1. 1. Check if the USB cable of your external hard drive is working fine. If not, change it.
  2. 2. Use a different USB port to see if the computer can read your external hard drive.
  3. 3. Connect your external hard drive to another healthy computer to see if it can be read or displayed

Once you've confirmed that the issue is not due to faulty hardware, continue on.

Step 1. Update disk driver to make Windows recognize the hard drive

1. Right-click on This PC/My Computer and choose Properties.

Update hard drive driver.

2. In the taskbar on the left, click Device Manager and expand “Universal Serial Bus controllers”. Then you'll see a yellow exclamation mark if your disk driver is out of date.
3. Right-click and choose "Update driver".

Update device driver of your hard drive which fails to show up in PC.

4. Choose "Search automatically for updated driver software"...

Update hard drive driver to make it recognizable.

Step 2. Change drive letter to avoid collisions

After updating the drive driver, please change the drive letter of your hard disk to avoid signature collisions which may cause your drive to become undetectable.

1. Press Windows Key + R, type diskmgmt.msc into the Run dialog, and press Enter.
2. Locate your external hard drive, right-click and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
3. Assign a drive letter for the drive and click OK to save all the changes.

You can view and check your hard drive on Windows 10/8/7/Vista PCs again. However, if the external hard drive is only showing up in Disk Management and is still not showing up in This PC, go up to Case 2 to get your hard drive recognized and usable.

Ending Line

These are all the solutions for when an internal, external, or new hard drive is not recognized. Work through the most suitable case to display or find the missing external hard drive/hard drive in Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista. Remember, so long as the device is found by Disk Management, you can use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to access all of your data on the unrecognized device.