10 Reasons External Hard Drive Not Showing Up & Solutions

external hard drive not showing up

Every day, we are faced with one problem of hard drive issues or the other. From hard drive not showing up to external hard drive not recognized, we have come up with solutions to why external hard drive not showing up and solutions to it. Below points are the main reasons why the external hard drive not showing up and its solutions

hard drive is not initialized

• The hard drive has no drive letter

• Hard drive is hidden

• Partitions are lost

• Unsupported or RAW file system

• Drive not enabled in the BIOS

• Faulty cable or port

• Troubleshoot drivers

• Virus attack

• Faulty hard drive

The content below on how to solve external hard drive not showing up also applies to hard drive/USB/flash drive not showing up. We strongly recommend you download and install free partition manager- MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition, which will be of great help for reason 1 – reason 5. You can download free from this link download free here.

A. The hard drive is not initialized: external hard drive not showing up

some new hard drive needs to be initialized especially when it pops out the message that you should initialize it. You may go to Windows Disk Management and have a check. If Disk Management shows the disk as “unknown/not initialized”. It is most common with a new hard drive. Simply download the Minitool partition wizard from the link above and follow the few steps below.

external hard drive is not showing up
Step 1. Run MiniTool Partition and choose Create Partition.

In this main interface of this partition manager, recognize the new hard drive by viewing the hard drive information. Since a new drive has no partition, please select the unallocated space and choose to Create Partition from the action panel.

Step 2. Customize the new partition.

In the pop-up window, specify the partition label, partition type, drive letter, and file system, cluster size, and partition size. Then click OK.

Step 3. Click Apply on the top left corner to start.

Note: In MiniTool Partition Wizard, all new drives are regarded as MBR disk by default. Hence, you can go ahead and create new partitions on the external hard drive. But if you want a GPT disk, you can select the brand-new external hard drive and employ Initialize to GPT Disk feature at first.

After all have been done, check if your hard drive will appear.

B. The hard drive has no drive letter: external hard drive not showing up

External hard drive not showing up also occurs when the partition on the external hard drive has no drive letter. Just run MiniTool Partition Wizard and add a drive letter to it to enable the hard drive to show up.

Follow the following steps to add up drive letter

  1. At the disk map, select the partition that has no drive letter and choose Change Drive Letter from the action panel.
  2. In the pop-up window, drop down the drive letter box and choose a drive letter you like. Then press the OK button.
  3. Back to the main interface of MiniTool Partition Wizard, Click Apply on the toolbar to put this operation into effect.
external hard drive not showing up

C. Hard drive is hidden: external hard drive not showing up

If the hard drive is hidden by some partition manager, it won’t appear in File Explorer. However, this time you cannot fix this issue by simply add a drive letter to it. You can unhide the partition by specific partition manager or MiniTool Partition Wizard. You can also know if your drive is hidden or not by going to the disk management. Right-click the partition that has no drive letter, and sees whether the feature “Change Drive Letter and Path…” is greyed out.

external hard drive not showing up

In the main interface of MiniTool Partition Wizard Free,

  1. Select the hidden partition and choose Unhide Partition from the action panel.
  2. Select a drive letter from the pop-up window and then click OK.
  3. Press Apply at the toolbar.
external hard drive not showing up

D. Partitions are lost: external hard drive not showing up

If all partitions on the external hard drive are lost due to some reasons like virus attack and corrupted partition table, the external hard drive not showing issue occurs. In this case, the first trying is to recover all lost partitions by using MiniTool Partition Wizard Pro (not supported in the Free Edition).you can get it from this link Buy Now

After getting or purchasing this pro tool, then, follow the following steps below.

1. Go to Partition Recovery feature.

2. Run MiniTool Partition Wizard to the main interface.

3. Then right-click the external hard drive and choose Partition Recovery from the tool bar.

Note: Please observe the partition style of the hard drive which suffers from partition loss. MiniTool Partition Wizard shows all empty drives as MBR disks. If the hard drive should be GPT disk in fact, please use Convert MBR Disk to GPT Disk to turn the drive back to GPT before you choose Partition Recovery.

external hard drive not showing up
Choose scanning range.

Select the scanning range such as the full disk, the unallocated space only or specify the scanning range and click Next. It is recommended to choose “Full Disk” or “Unallocated Space” if you do now know the specific starting LBA and ending LBA for the lost partitions.

external hard drive not showing up

Set the scanning range.

Choose Quick Scan first. If this does not work for you, then go back to choose Full Scan.

external hard drive not showing up
Check all partitions you need.

After a while, MiniTool Partition Wizard will list all partitions it has found. Here you can double-click a partition in the list to check the files in it. After confirmation, check all the partitions you want to restore. Please note that partitions not checked will be lost and MiniTool Partition Wizard cannot help you that time.

external hard drive not showing up

Confirm the operation by hitting Apply.

external hard drive not showing up

To make the recovered partition appear in Windows, you still need to add a drive letter to that partition. Read How to Add Drive Letter to get the detail. 

If MiniTool Partition Wizard fails to find the lost partitions for you, you can try professional data recovery software which helps recover data from lost partitions. Luckily, MiniTool Partition Wizard Pro Ultimate just comes with such a powerful function. And you may just follow the guide below to have a try. Buy Now

Go to Data Recovery.

After installing this data recovery software, run it to get the main interface. Then right-click the partition of the external hard drive to choose Data Recovery

external hard drive not showing up

Check files you need.

MiniTool Partition Wizard will immediately start the scanning process and list the found files as well. During this process, you can unfold each partition folders to check what files are the one you need. Please make use of the Preview feature to help you determine when it comes to TXT files and images. However, to get the best disk recovery result, it is recommended to wait for the completion of the scanning.

external hard drive not showing up

Save files.

Tick the ones you need and press Save to store the selected files to a safe location. Note that you should choose another disk instead of the external hard drive to be recovered.

external hard drive not showing up
external hard drive not showing up

When you have finished data recovery, you can recreate new partition on the drive to cope with hard drive won’t show up issue.

E. Unsupported or RAW file system:

If the external hard drive has unsupported files system or hard disk become RAW, the partition bar won’t show up in Windows File Explorer. You can only see the drive icon and drive letter there. If you try to access the drive, Windows requires formatting.

external hard drive not showing up

To fix this issue, you need to recover data from the external hard drive first, and then reformat the hard drive with FAT/NTFS file system. Please refer to Case 4 and use MiniTool Power Data Recovery (Damaged Partition Recovery) to help you recover data. Then use MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition to do the formatting.

external hard drive not showing up

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F. Drive not enabled in the BIOS

If hard drive is not showing up in Disk Management and Device Manager, it may be because it is not enabled in System Setup (BIOS). Some motherboard manufacturers disable unused ports in the BIOS by default, which is the common reason for the 2nd hard drive not showing up in Windows 10/8/7. You will need to enter BIOS to verify their current states and make sure all hard drives are enabled. Note that different computer manufacturers have different methods to enter system BIOS, please check your system documentation for specifics.

G. Faulty cable or port

If the data cable is damaged or the connection is incorrect, the BIOS will not detect the SATA cables and can sometimes fall out of their connection. Be sure to check your SATA cables are tightly connected to the SATA port connection. The easiest way to test a cable is to replace it with another cable. If the problem persists, then the cable is not the cause of the problem.

H. Troubleshoot drivers

Usually, Windows offers hard drive drivers, and the manufacturer of your SSD may also have released some drivers to support your disk. However, it is possible that they are the causes of your hard drive not showing up problem. If the driver you use is outdated or problematic, you need to disable or uninstall it. If you are not familiar with the process, use professional driver tool to help you get rid of the worries.

I. Virus attack

Some malware or viruses can lead to hard drive not showing up issue. It is possible that there are such malware or viruses on your computer. In this case, please run security software on your computer to scan out and remove these malicious programs. Then, check if Windows doesn’t recognize external hard drive issue still persists.

J. Faulty hard drive

If you have completed the above checks and the external hard drive is still not showing on your computer, you should send the hard drive to repair center and check whether it fails. If it is still on the warranty, please proceed to begin a warranty replacement.

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for more information please visit https://www.partitionwizard.com/partitionmanager/external-hard-drive-not-showing-up.html

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