External Hard Drive Takes Forever to Load

Jean updated on Oct 12, 2020 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles

Your external hard drive becomes incredibly slow and it takes forever to load files or open folders. Here explains why and how to fix a slow external hard drive without losing the access to important data files when it has loading problems.

Run CMD to fix external hard drive error

Quick Fix - Run CMD to Check and Fix External Hard Drive Errors:

Sometimes your external hard drive takes forever to load due to the disk errors. To fix this issue:

  • Please open Command Prompt and then type chkdsk e: /f /r/x (e is the drive letter of your external hard drive).
  • Or check disk errors in Windows Explorer.

This page covers two parts of solutions to help you fix "External Hard Drive takes Forever to Load" error by using EaseUS file recovery software and other 3 practical manual methods. Follow to see how to remove this issue and make your drive work again without losing any data:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Part 1. Recover Data Before fixing the error, run Easeus recovery software > Scan and recover data...Full steps
Part 2. Fix Load Error Fix 1. Update outdated external hard drive driver...Full steps
Fix 2. Format External hard drive to speed it up...Full steps
Fix 3. Replace the incapable drive...Full steps

This snippet is picked up on the forum of Tomshardware. It's about a user who saw his Seagate external hard drive taking forever to load in Disk Management and very slow to open in Windows File Explorer. In addition, some specific error messages keep showing on the screen. Let's read the details.

"I've got an old Seagate external hard drive that's probably 3 to 4 years old. It used to work perfectly fine until a few months ago. Whenever I plug the hard drive in, the hard drive lights up but nothing shows up on My Computer. Besides, Windows prompts me an error message occasionally  'you need to format the disk, would you like to format it now?'. What's worse, double-clicking or right-clicking on that drive will cause explorer to not respond or even crash. I tried so many times to open Disk Management to format the disk, but the information doesn't load up as long as the external hard drive is plugged in. The longest time I've waited for my computer loading up the drive is almost one hour. Would I still be able to use this drive? I have many pictures on it so I can't format it right now."

Concluding from the user's story, he got an issue of external hard drive very slow suddenly these days and it takes forever to load files or open folders. Hence in this article, we are going to explain why and how to fix a slow HDD/SSD/USB flash drive without losing the access to important data files when it has loading problems.

How to Recover Data from an Unresponsive External Hard Drive

when you have the difficulty in loading an external hard drive properly, download and install EaseUS hard drive recovery software to recover data at first. Don't format the disk as Windows prompts before perform external hard drive data recovery in advance.

Step 1. Choose the external hard drive

Since you're going to recover data from the external hard drive, run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and under the External Devices tab, choose the exact drive where you lost data. Click Scan.

select external hard drive

Step 2. Scan for lost data

The software will start immediately to scan all over the selected drive for all lost data. During the scan, you could see more and more data showing up in the results.

scan external hard drive

Step 3. Preview and recover data

After the scan is over, check the scan results for the desired data. You can preview the file by double-clicking on it. Click Recover and choose another location to save the recovered data.

preview and recover data

Besides, Mac users can get solutions to fix a slow external hard drive on Mac by clicking this link.

How to Fix an External Hard Drive Taking a Long Time to Load

Hard drive not showing up or recognized is taken as one of the direct consequences of infinite loading. To overcome the endless loading problem and prolong the lifespan of an old hard drive that has the loading problem, here are three workarounds.

Fix 1. Update outdated disk driver

Step 1. Press Windows + R keys to bring up the Run box, type devmgmt.msc to open the Device Manager.
Step 2. Expand one of the categories to find the name of your device, then right-click it, and select "Update Driver". 

update or uninstall drive to speed up slow external hard drive

Step 3. Right-click and choose update driver software, then click automatically search for driver software online...

If updating fails to solve the loading problem, try to choose the 'Uninstall device' the next time.

Fix 2. Format the external hard drive to speed it up

Disk formatting is going to erase all data on the slow external hard drive. Make sure that you have backed up important data on it. If it's already inaccessible due to the extremely slow issue, try to use EaseUS data recovery software in the first part to recover data from the formatted external hard drive.

Step 1. Press Windows Key + R, type diskmgmt.msc in the Run dialog, and press Enter.
Step 2. In the Disk Management, right-click the disk partition you need to format and then choose Format.
Step 3. In the pop-up window, you can set file system and cluster size and then click OK.

format hard drive frequently to make it load faster

Fix 3. Replace the incapable hard drive by a new one

This last method should be the final choice if it really takes an incredibly long time to make your computer load up the connected hard drive. Or, what's worse, formatting the hard drive doesn't fix the problem at all. Then it's time to upgrade the hard drive. Many free third-party disk cloning utilities could offer you a hand and save a significant amount of time and energy if you don't want to reinstall the operating system. For example, EaseUS Todo Backup Free with its Clone feature.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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