In order to guide you through recovering from a hard drive freeze in a hassle-free way, we will list all the feasible solutions in the beginning. Select at least one workaround to fix the problem where an external hard drive keeps freezing when you are opening the drive, copying files, accessing data, launching File Explorer, or simply starting a program on your computer or laptop.

Three solutions to the external hard drive freezing up the problem:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Solution 1. Diagnose & Repair Drive Open File Explorer > Right-click external hard drive > "Properties" > "Tools" > "Check Now"...Full steps
Solution 2. Fix Bad Sectors Open Command Prompt as Administrator > Type E: chkdsk /f /r (E is the external hard drive letter)...Full steps
Solution 3. Reformat External Drive Run EaseUS recovery software to scan and recover data first > Format the drive...Full steps

Now, we're going to teach you how to apply the method in each solution in the list. Here's a reminder you must read first. In the final solution, reformatting a drive causes data loss, so make sure you copy as much data as possible, beforehand. In addition, if your external hard drive spontaneously freezes up when copying files or Windows 7/Windows 10 freezes up when copying files due to the problematic hard drive, you can only use the EaseUS EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard program to automatically extract the files from the hard drive that is not currently accessible. The detailed guide for frozen hard drive data recovery will be provided in the Solution Three area.

Solution 1.  Diagnose the Hard Drive Health and Repair

Step 1. In Windows 7/10, click "Start > Computer or This PC".

Step 2. Right-click your external hard drive.

Step 3. Click "Properties" > "Tools" and press "Check Now" (This option will check the drive for physical problems). 

If errors are found, you can attempt to repair them using this utility. Restart your computer once the repair is finished.

Solution 2. Fix Bad Sectors on a Frozen External Hard Drive

Windows Command Prompt knowledge is required for this fix.

Step 1. Press Windows + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin).

Step 2. In the black window, type the command starting with [drive letter:] + chkdsk /[f/r]. To be specific, let's assume that the demanded drive letter is E. So, you need to input the command line as follows.

chkdsk /f E: (this is for finding and repairing errors on drive E)
chkdsk /r E: (this is for locating bad sectors and recovering readable information)

Step 3. Press Enter. Wait for the command to take effect.

Running chkdsk can hopefully fix the bad sectors, however, it can also result in total data loss. So, perform data recovery in advance, and then continue with the CMD method.

If command line is not your ideal choice, you can apply this command-line alternative tool - EaseUS CleanGenius. Use this one-click tool to fix the file system error on your hard drive.

Step 1. Download EaseUS CleanGenius on your computer for free.

Step 2. Run the software. Click "Optimization" on the left panel, and then choose "File Showing" . 

select the file showing option

Step 3. Go to "Choose drive" and select the drive with a file system error. Check the "Check and fix file system error" option and click "Execute".

fix file system

Step 4. Wait the EaseUS CleanGenius completes the repairing process. After that, click the "here" to view the result.

fix file system

Solution 3. Reformat the External Hard Drive for Reuse

Taking your important data into consideration, you should make a full backup before proceeding with the final method. If the process of copying files still causes your external hard drive to become unresponsive, crash and freeze up in the end, download EaseUS EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to access and retrieve inaccessible data.

Key features of EaseUS data recovery software:

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

Step 1. Choose and scan the external hard drive

  • Download and install EaseUS Data Recovery on your PC or laptop. 
  • Connect the external hard drive to your computer.
  • Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and choose the external drive from External drives list. Then, click scan for lost data. 
select external hard drive

Step 2. Check the scan results

  • EaseUS data recovery software will immediately scan the selected drive for all data, including deleted, corrupted, and existing data.
  • You can use the Filter feature to quickly locate the files of one kind, such as Pictures, Word, Excel, PDF, videos, emails, etc.
scan external hard drive

Step 3. Preview and recover data

  • Double-clicking a file from the scanned results to preview.
  • Choose the files you want and click "Recover".
  • Select a different drive to save the recovered files instead of the original one. 
preview and recover data

Next, go to Disk Management to fix the freezing issue on the external hard drive.

Step 1. Press Windows + R keys and type diskmgmt.msc in the Run box.

Step 2. Disk Management is now open. Right-click the external hard drive in question and click Format.

Step 3. Follow the format wizard and complete the procedure.

Step 4. Restart your computer and check if the issue persists.

Extra Tips for Resolving Your External Hard Drive Freezing Issue

Virus infection is another catalyst that causes your external hard drive to keep freezing, most commonly Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba, etc. Simply removing bad sectors will not work in this situation. So, try to remove a virus from the hard drive or other storage devices that have a similar issue.

You’ve got two options to start out. Antivirus software like Avast is a good choice, otherwise, you can also use cmd to remove a virus by referring to this link. Both techniques are helpful.

Besides, people also ask the following questions. Read on if interested.

1. Can hard drive failure cause freeze?

When you notice your hard drive freezing, chances are that the hard drive is about to fail. So yes, hard drive failure will largely affect the data, the process of opening programs as well as the file transfer speed, and it can cause your mouse and keyboard to stop working. As a result, the computer freezes a lot when you try to access files stored on a damaged or corrupted area of your hard drive.

2. Does freezing a hard drive work?

Many experienced users suggest that freezing a hard drive (that is, exposing it to low temperatures) would effectively solve the most common hard drive problems, such as slowdown or crashing. However, it does not last long.

3. How do I fix my external hard drive not being recognized?

When a hard drive is not showing up or recognized by Windows, try to change a USB port or connection cable. Sometimes, using antivirus software to scan and remove viruses is helpful. You can take a close look at the advanced solutions to the external hard drives not recognized issue.

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech lives easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. In her spare time, she loves sharing things about her game experience on Facebook or Twitter.

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Approved by David Balaban

David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 18 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. He presents expert opinions on contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy, and white hat hacking.

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