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Fix External Hard Drive Not Working/Showing Up Issue without Losing Data

Updated on Jan 25, 2018 by Tracy King to Storage Media Recovery

Summary

When the external hard drive doesn’t work or show up in PC, or computer fails to recognize your external hard drive, relax! Reliable fixes are available here to help you solve external hard drive not working or showing up the issue without losing data.

External hard drive now working or showing up, how to fix it?

"I have a Dell external HDD which is storing my favorite videos, important documents, and useful tools. This morning, when I tried to connect it to my computer, it failed to show up. I mean the computer didn't recognize it. I tried connecting it to other USB ports, it's still now working. How can I fix it?"

"My Western digital external hard drive doesn't show up on my laptop and I cannot even find the drive. What about my files and data stored on the drive? I cannot lose them."

If you are having a similar problem that computer fails to read or recognize your external hard drive, USB drive or SD card, don't worry. And don't hurry to format the drive if you have important data stored there. Reliable fixes are available here to help now. 

Fix 1. Fix external hard drive not showing up error

Here are two methods for you to fix "The external hard drive not showing up" error. You can either follow one to get problem fixed.

Method 1. Change path letter for external hard drive when it fails to show up

  • Go to Control Panel > Click Administration > Computer Administration;
  • Go to Storage > Click Disk Management;
  • Find your external hard drive and right click it by choosing Change Drive Letter and Path...
  • Assign a letter to the drive with a new letter that doesn't exist in your PC and mark the Partition as Active;
  • Click OK
  • Restart PC and your External hard drive will show up and work again.

Method 2. Uninstall hard drive driver to fix external hard drive not showing up issue

  • Click on Start > Type: devmgmt.msc and hit Enter;
  • Open Device Manager > Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers > check out whether any device show up as unrecognized;
  • If it shows unrecognized, go to drivers tab and delete/uninstall the driver; Then check out whether the external hard drive shows up under My Computer/My PC or not;
  • If it doesn't show up, reboot or restart PC; 
  • It shows up but disappears later, repeat above steps and go to Disk Management > change drive letter OF YOUR EXTERNAL DRIVE ONLY > Go and select one new drive letter up from where it last showed up by clicking Change, and click OK to confirm. Then all problems will be fixed now.

Fix 2. Fix external hard drive not working error

In this part, two methods are available here to fix external hard drive not working issue for you.

Method 1. Reinstall USB controller to fix external hard drive not working error

  • Click Start > Type: devmgmt.msc and hit Enter;
  • Open Device Manager > Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers;
  • Right-click USB Root Hub > Properties > Power Management > uncheck Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power;
  • Repeat this process for each USB Root Hub in the list and reboot to try again.

Method 2. Format external hard drive to NTFS (reusable)

This is the most direct way to make external hard drive work again if it still not working after making it detectable in PC. 

You can just go to Disk Management tool and right-click your external hard drive > Select Format volume to format the whole disk.

The only problem is that it will erase all data on your external hard drive. And this can be fixed by professional data recovery software. It's highly recommended for you to restore all data from the external hard drive before formatting. 

Extra Fix: Restore data after fixing external hard drive not working issue

If you have formatted the external hard drive or need a way to extract data from the external hard drive before formatting, professional hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will help. Simple steps will get all your data back:

1. Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and select location where the external hard drive is, click Scan;

Scan external hard drive to find data.

2. Let this software to scan and fin all data and other files on the external hard drive with Quick Scan and Deep Scan mode; 
Preview and select found files, click Recover to restore all found files to a safe spot on PC.

Restore data from external hard drive which is not working.

Now the issue "your external hard drive not working or showing up error" is fixed without losing any data.