Fixed: WD External Hard Drive Not Recognized/Working with Light On

Do not worry if your Western Digital(WD) external hard drive suddenly stops working or cannot be recognized by your PC while the light is still blinking. Download EaseUS hard drive recovery software and follow the quick fixes and effective methods to effectively fix the WD error.

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Overview: WD External Hard Drive Not Recognized But the Light is On

"It seems that my WD 1TB external hard drive cannot be recognized on my PC but the light is on. The flashlight of WD external hard drive continuously blinking when I connect the drive with USB cable. But the problem is that the WD hard drive still not working when I connect it to a new USB cable with the PC. Nothing is detected. Do you know how to make the WD external hard drive to show up and work again? And how to restore the saved data on the drive?"

If your WD external hard drive, USB drive, or a similar storage device has a similar problem with the light on but not detectable by your PC, do not panic. Follow the following quick fixes and effective methods to restore a non-working/unrecognized WD external hard drive and get all the lost data back right away.

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If you have a similar issue on your hard drive, use the fixes below. 

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How to Fix Hard Drive Not Showing Up in Windows

Are your hard drives, be it new or old, internal or external, not showing up in File Explorer or Disk Management? Follow along to learn how to make your hard drive show up again in Windows 10/8/7 without losing data.

Hard drive not showing up

Quick Fixes for WD External Hard Drive Light On But Not Recognized

Here, you have three options to quickly fix and repair WD external hard drive with the "light on but not recognized" error:

1. Change the USB Port/Cable to Detect WD External Hard Drive

If the WD external hard drive cannot be detected or fails to show up on your PC, change the USB port (you may try to connect the external hard drive to the motherboard), or connect it using a different USB cable to check if it shows up on the PC.

2. Remove and Clean Up the Virus that Blocks/Stops WD External Hard Drive From Working

When the computer or the WD external hard drive gets infected by a virus or malware, you cannot access the saved data or even open the drive on the PC.

In this case, use anti-virus software or CMD to remove the virus or malware on your PC or WD external hard drive

3. Turn USB Root Hub On to Make WD External Hard Drive Recognizable

  • Click Start > Type: devmgmt.msc and hit Enter.
  • Open Device Manager > Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  • Right-click USB Root Hub > Click Properties > Power Management.
  • Uncheck Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.

turn off the wd external hard drive to save power

Repeat this process to turn on all USB Root Hubs in the list and reboot the PC. Then, see if the WD external hard drive shows up on your PC.

Advanced Fixes for WD External Hard Drive Light On But Not Recognized

To fix a "WD external hard drive not detected, recognized or not working but light on" issue without losing any data, follow the following steps without formatting your drive:

1. Make Unrecognized WD External Hard Drive Detectable on PC

Here are two ways to potentially make the WD external hard drive detectable on your PC:

Option 1. Change drive letter to make WD external hard drive show up

1. Right-click on This PC > Manage > Disk Management.

2. Find and right-click the WD external hard drive > Select Change drive letter and path.

3. Assign a new drive letter to your WD external hard drive and save all changes.

Change drive letter to make pc recognize it

You should now be able to see the WD external hard drive on your PC.

Option 2. Show all hidden devices to make WD external hard drive recognized by the PC

1. Click on Start > Type: devmgmt.msc and hit Enter.

2. Click View in the Device Manager > Select Show hidden devices.

3. Expand all notes by clicking on the + (plus) symbol.

4. If there are any greyed-out entries, right-click them and select Uninstall.

5. Reboot your PC.

show hidden device to make pc recognize wd external hard drive

2. Restore Data from WD Not Working External Hard Drive with the Light On

After making an unrecognized WD external hard drive detectable on your PC, the next step is to restore all saved data. If you have valuable data saved on your WD drive, just download EaseUS hard drive recovery software to get all your data back in a few simple clicks:

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Step 1. Connect the external drive to PC for a scan

Connect the external hard disk to your PC and let Windows recognize the disk and assign it a drive letter. Now launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Windows. Find your drive you want to recover and click Scan.

select external hard drive

Step 2. Check the scan results

The scan process takes place in two stages, including a quick scan and deep scan. Deep scan is for searching lost data files that even lost file names, so it's worth waiting longer for the whole scan process to finish and find all desired data. You can try to preview the found files one by one by following their original paths from the leftside tree-view pane, or simply use the Filter function to specify the file type of one kind, like pictures, videos, documents, emails, etc.

scan external hard drive

Step 3. Select files and recover

Finally, when you are satisfied with the preview results, you can start to select the target files and use the Recover button to get them all back. We suggest you save the recovered files to a location other than the original external hard drive where you lost data.

preview and recover data

3. Repair and Fix the Light On but Not Working/Unrecognized WD External Hard Drive

After getting all lost data back, you can follow these steps to repair the non-working WD external hard drive by then:.

Method 1. Uninstall hard drive driver to repair the non-detectable WD external hard drive

1. Click on Start > Type: devmgmt.msc and hit Enter to open Device Manager.

2. Expand Universal Serial Universal Serial Bus controllers > Right-click every USB device found there and select Uninstall.

3. Check out whether any device shows up as unrecognized or not:

uninstall driver to make pc recognize wd external hard drive

  • If the WD external hard drive shows as unrecognized, go to the driver's tab and delete/uninstall the driver. Then check out whether the external hard drive shows up in My Computer/My PC or not.
  • If it doesn't show up, reboot or restart the PC.
  • If it shows up but disappears later, repeat the above steps and go to Disk Management, change the drive letter and reconnect PC again.

Method 2. Change registry and format to repair WD external hard drive not recognized/working error

1. Click on Start > Type: regedt32 > Click OK.

2. BACKUP YOUR REGISTRY by going to file and click Export.

3. On the left side, go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E967-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}.

4. If you see any upper filter or lower filters on the right side, delete them.

5. Then retry your external hard drive again.

Method 3. Format to repair/reset WD external hard drive

1. Connect the WD external hard drive to your PC > Right-click on This PC > Manage > Disk Management.

2. Find and right-click on WD external hard drive > Select Format volume...

3. Reset the WD external hard drive letter and file system (NTFS) and save all changes.

format wd external hard drive to make it usable again

After this, reboot your PC and reconnect the WD external hard drive to the PC. You should be able to use your WD external hard drive to backup files and save data again.

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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Approved by Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh is an experienced comuter tech writer. He's been writing tech how-to guides for about 8 years now and has covered many topics. He loves to teach people how they can get the most out of their devices.

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