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USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Keeps Disconnecting and Reconnecting Windows 10/8/7

Updated on Apr 19, 2019 by Jean to Storage Media Recovery


Follow the five methods on this page to solve the annoying issue that your USB 3.0 external hard drive keeps disconnecting and reconnecting in Windows 10, 8.1, 8 and 7 without worrying about losing data on it.

"My WD external hard drive keeps disconnecting itself and then starting to reconnect automatically every second or so. I didn't notice the problem until Windows 10 asked me to format the hard drive before I can use it. Do you know what should I do now? I won't format the drive because it has all my backup data."

How to recover data from an external hard drive with a connection problem?

Backup is the primary task when you're faced with an external hard drive that has the connection problem on a computer, however, if errors have been already generated, especially the error messages that tell you to format the disk or currently your hard drive is not accessible, it's high time that you should download EaseUS hard drive recovery software to recover data from the external hard drive.

A quick tip for you - don't format the hard disk when it can't help disconnecting and reconnecting before the data recovery. EaseUS data recovery guide is about three steps.

You'll be asked to restore and export the hard drive data to another safe location.

How to fix the external hard drive that keeps disconnecting and reconnecting in Windows 10/8/7?

Next, we gathered some viable solutions that should fix the bad connection issue of an external hard drive with USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 in Windows 10, 8.1, 8 or 7. And from our point of view, in order to largely reduce the risk and worry of ruining data on the drive, please strictly follow the first part of data recovery guide to recover inaccessible data, or simply do a full hard drive backup even if the data currently stays safe.

Let's now focus on the workarounds, which most of the cases in the following could apply.

  • External hard drive keeps disconnecting when copying or transferring.
  • Internal hard drive/external USB drive keeps disconnecting and reconnecting, and it never stops.
  • The external hard drive is not showing up, not accessible, not initialized or not recognizing after randomly disconnecting.
  • You need to format the disk before you can use it, or you don't currently have permission to perform this action, access is denied.

Fix 1. Connect your external hard drive to a different USB port

On your laptop or desktop computer, there should be more than one USB port. So, try to connect your external hard drive to each USB port until the drive won't disconnect anymore.

It's said that some devices with USB 3.0 are easily affected by Windows 10 operating system, but owners can avoid the repeatedly disconnecting and connecting problem by putting the external hard drive to a USB 2.0 port. Only accept the truth that the data transfer speed will be slower than in the USB 3.0 port.

Fix 2. Turn off USB selective suspend

The insufficient power supply is another one of the biggest factors that causes a hard drive disconnecting problem. Most people don't know that the computer is usually configured to turn off USB devices after a while in order to save power. To resolve the unwanted disconnection problem of an external hard drive, you can suspend the default power saving feature.

  • Step 1: Navigate to Power Options in Control Panel.
  • Step 2: In your own power plan, click the Change plan settings.
  • Step 3: Click the Change advanced power settings.
  • Step 3: Go to USB settings > USB selective suspend setting and set the Settings to Disabled. Click Apply to save the changes you made.

turn off usb selective suspend to fix hard drive disconnecting and reconnecting

Fix 3. Disable your PC to turn off Mass Storage Device

The other path to turn off the power saving feature is in the Device Manager. Here's how you can do it.

  • Step 1: Press Windows + X to bring up a menu, and choose Device Manager from the list.
  • Step 2: Go to Universal Serial Bus Controller > USB Mass Storage Device.
  • Step 3: Click the Power Management tab and uncheck the box in front of Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power. Click OK the save the changes.

disable your pc to turn off mass storage device to fix hard drive disconnecting and reconnecting

Fix 4. Disable USB legacy support in BIOS

This troubleshooting is very helpful for computers with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. Try to disable USB legacy support in BIOS, and the complete guide is given here.

  • Step 1: Open Device Manager, locate your external hard drive and double-click it.
  • Step 2: Navigate to Policies tab and check Better performance. Check Enable write caching on this device option. Now click on OK to save changes.
  • Step 3: Locate Intel USB 3.0 extension driver in Device Manager and uninstall it.

disable usb legacy support in bios to fix hard drive disconnecting and reconnecting

Fix 5. Check disk partition errors and repair

At last, you might be able to fix the hard drive disconnecting and reconnecting issue on your computer through checking and repairing hard drive bad sectors. Too many bad sectors on a hard disk will lead to corruption, which is so prone to cause an unstable hard drive connection problem. To check hard drive errors, download EaseUS free partition manager software and let's follow the user guide.

  • Step 1: Right-click on the external hard drive that keeps disconnecting and reconnecting and select Check partition. 
  • Step 2: Click OK. The program will now start checking partition errors and trying to fix them.

check partition to fix hard drive disconnecting and reconnecting