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

Don’t worry if your Western Digital(WD) external hard drive suddenly stops working or cannot be recognized by your PC while the light is blinking. Download EaseUS hard drive recovery software and follow these quick fixes and effective methods to effectively fix this 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 or USB drive etc is having a similar problem with the light on but not detectable by your PC, don't worry. Just 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 now.

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If you are having a similar issue on your hard drive, you may directly try the fixes below. 

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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 USB port/cable to detect WD external hard drive

If the WD external hard drive cannot be detected or fails to show up in your PC, please change the USB port (You may try to connect the external hard drive to the motherboard), or connect it with another new USB cable to see whether it shows up in the PC.

2. Remove and clean up the virus that blocks/stops WD external hard drive from working

When the computer or WD external hard drive gets infected by virus or malware, you may not be able to access saved data or even open the drive in PC.
Use anti-virus software or CMD to remove the virus or malware on your PC or WD external hard drive first.

3. Turn on USB Root Hub 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 to 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, please don't format your drive and follow these steps to solve your problem:

1. Make unrecognized WD external hard drive detectable in PC

Here, you have two options to try to 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

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

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 + (plus)symbol.

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

5. Reboot and try again.

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 in 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 data back with a few simple clicks:

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 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

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 Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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