7 Ways to Fix External Drive Not Recognized in Windows

Using 7 effective ways, you can solve external drive not recognizedin Windows 10, 11, etc. easily. Also, way to recover drive data and drive protection tips are included.


By Lori / Updated on April 2, 2024

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External hard drive can be used to store important data and it is easy to access. But sometimes when you connect the hard drive to a Windows PC, you may encounter the issue of the external drive not recognized in Windows 10, 11.

Don't worry. This article will tell you 7 methods to fix external hard drive detected but not showing up and recover data from the unrecognized external hard drive if you have any important data on it. Also, external hard drive protection tips are included.

Why Is External Hard Drive Not Showing Up in Windows?

If your Seagate external hard drive not recognized in Windows 10 when connected to your computer, it could be due to several factors. Some common causes include:

  • Using the wrong file system
  • Driver issues in Windows
  • Damaged USB port
  • Partition issue on an external device
  • Physical damage, such as disk controller or plate damaged

7 Ways to Fix External Drive Not Recognized in Windows

The reason for the issue of the external drive not recognized in Windows 10, 11 has been explained above. Now, let's solve the problem.

Method 1. Connect the Drive to Another PC

If the external hard drive not recognized in Windows, the first thing you should do is connect it to another computer. You can check if it is an external drive problem or a computer problem. If you suspect that the problem is with your drive, you should always try another external drive cable or a different USB port, as this could also be the reason why the external drive is not recognized in Windows.

Method 2: Assign a Drive Letter

Usually, Windows automatically assigns a drive letter to all connected storage drives. Sometimes your Windows not recognize an external hard drive because the drive letter is missing. You can assign a new drive letter to solve this problem.

Step 1. Right-click on "This PC" > "Manage" > “Disk Management”.

Step 2. Click on the secondary hard drive and press “Change Drive Letter and Paths”.


Step 3. Choose the “Add” option to add a drive letter for the external hard drive.

Step 4. Click “Assign the following drive letter” to name the drive letter for the external hard drive.


Method 3. Run CHKDSK

You can use the Windows command line tool CHKDSK to fix your unrecognized external drive. But sometimes you may find CHKDSK deleted files, causing some files to become inaccessible and unrecoverable. Please see the next part to recover data. Here is the fixed external hard drive.

1. Type "cmd" in the search box, and click "Run as administrator".


2. Type the command “chkdsk *: /f /r” (replace * with the letter of your external hard drive that’s not getting recognized), and press Enter.

Type Chkdsk

Method 4: Reinstall Drivers

Sometimes Seagate external drive not recognized in Windows can be caused by a corrupted disk driver, you can download the latest hard drive driver from the drive manufacturer's official website. Follow the steps below to fix driver issues

1. Type “Device Manager” in the search bar and open it

2. Locate and right-click your external hard drive, and choose "Update Driver".

External Hard Drive Update Driver

3. Click "Search automatically for updated driver software".

External Hard Drive Search Automatic for Driver

4. Once this procedure is finished, disconnect and reconnect it to your computer.

🌟Tip: If this doesn’t solve your problem, go back to the screen from Step 2 and Choose “Uninstall Device”.

Method 5: Run the Hardware and Device Troubleshooter

Running the hardware and device troubleshooter is an efficient way for you to identify and fix errors on your external hard drive.

1. Connect your external drive, press “Win + I” to open Windows Settings;

2. Click Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Hardware and Devices > Run the troubleshooter to locate errors.


Method 6: Create a New Drive Volume

If your removable drive shows only Unallocated space, you’re supposed to create a simple volume on the drive to fix this issue. Refer to the following steps.

1. Press “Windows + R”, then enter “diskmgmt. msc” in the window and click “OK” to open it.

2. Right-click on the external hard drive and choose the “New Simple Volume” option.


3. Click “Next” on the Welcome to New Simple Volume Wizard window.


4. Enter a smaller simple volume size in the box on the Specify Volume Size window, then click “Next”.


Method 7: Format the External Drive

If the above methods do not resolve the issue, the file system may be corrupted or unsupported, in which case you will need to format the external drive. But all data will be deleted after formatting. If you have important data that needs to be saved, please move to the next part to recover data before formatting the external drive.

1. Right-click Start> Disk Management and click Create and format hard disk partitions.

2. Right-click your secondary hard drive and click Format.


3. Choose the desired file system and format options, then, click OK.


How to Recover Data from Not Detected External Drives?

After going through the above solutions, you might have solved the issue of an external hard drive not recognized in Windows 10. Regardless of your situation, you may find that you lost some data and want to recover files from your external hard drive. Fortunately, you still can use data recovery software- MyRecover to get your external hard drive data back.

Here are the main features of MyRecover:

  • Have a high success rate, up to 95%, and fast speed.
  • Recover 200+ formats: Recover deleted Microsoft Word, Excel, PPT, PDF, PPTX, ODP, CSV, WPS files, and more.
  • Various external hard drive types: HDD, SSHD, external SSD, external USB, etc.
  • support all brands of external hard drives (HDD/SSD): Seagate, Acomdata, Asus, Buffalo, Hitachi, Maxtor, Toshiba, LaCie, SanDisk, Samsung, ADATA, Transcend, etc.
  • Filter files on external hard drive by Files Type, Size, Date modified, and preview them before data recovery.

Steps to recover data from not detected external drive

Step 1. Download MyRecover on Windows, install, and run it. Hover the mouse over the drive not recognized in Windows, and click Scan.

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Scan D Disk

Step 2. MyRecover will scan your not detected external drive automatically and thoroughly to locate all the found data on an external drive.

Searvh ALBM Files

🌟Tip: Preview or filter date depending on Files Type, Size, Date, etc.
  • Type: Select the file type (Documents, Images, Videos, Audios, Mails, Webpages, Compressed files, etc.)
  • Date modified: Set the date (today, yesterday, last 7/30 days, etc.)
  • Size: Filter the file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~ 512MB, 512MB above, etc.)

Step 3. You will see a list of data that MyRecover found on not detected external drive. Select the files you want to recover and press Recover x files.

Recover ABLM Files

Step 4. Select a new location to save the recovered files and click Select Folder to confirm it. Your files will be recovered in a few minutes or longer, depending on the amount of data you want to recover.

Select New Location

Congratulations. Your data from the not detected external drive have been recovered!

  • You can do not detected external drive data recovery, up to 500MB in total. Once exceeded, please upgrade to the advanced editions.
  • If you are unable to recover not detected external drive data with software, it's advisable to seek help from data recovery services such as Geek Squad. They have trained experts and advanced equipment to handle even the most difficult data recovery cases.

Tips for Protecting Your External Drive

  • Tip 1: Avoid physical damage. Keep your drive away from dust, fire, power fluctuations, etc. or prevent overheating.
  • Tip 2: Monitor external drive health. Use the Windows command line utility WMICU to monitor the health of the hard drive. Avoid hard drive failure by easily fixing problems on the spot as you discover them.
  • Tip 3: Avoid bending the USB cable. Use a USB cable carefully to avoid damaging the connector.
  • Tip 4: Free up disk space regularly, such as deleting unnecessary data at a scheduled time, defragging disk periodically with disk cleanup utility, etc.
  • Tip 5: Get rid of bad sectors. An excessive number of bad sectors on an external hard drive can cause drive failure. So, use Windows built-in tools, such as chkdsk to repair bad sectors and extend the life of your external drive.
  • Tip 6: Back up data regularly. Please back up your external hard drive regularly to reduce the risk of data loss. In the event of a disaster, you'll be able to quickly restore files from backups and get them back in no time.


With the above efficient 7 ways, you can easily solve the issue of external drive not recognized in Windows 10, 11. If you are worried about data loss during this process, you can also recover lost data simply by using reliable data recovery software like MyRecover.


Why is my computer not detecting external hard drive?
Your external hard drive not recognized can be caused by the following reasons: using the wrong file system, driver issues in Windows, damaged USB port, partition issue on external USB device, partition problem on external drive, hard drive physical damage, etc.
What should I do if my computer doesn't detect my external hard drive?
Start by trying the drive on a different USB port or computer to rule out connectivity issues. If it still isn't recognized, you might need to update drivers or check for hardware problems.
My Lacie external hard drive not recognized in Windows 10. How can I access it?
You can check the Disk Management utility in Windows to see if the drive appears there. If it does, you may need to assign a drive letter or format it.
Can a faulty USB cable cause my external drive not to be recognized?
Yes, a damaged or incompatible USB cable can prevent proper communication between the drive and your computer. Try using a different cable.
Lori · Editor
Lori receives professional technical training since joining AOMEI, and aims at helping users troubleshoot problems on data recovery and protection. She focuses on simple, efficient and practical methods, and provides professional advice. Being able to help readers and users is her ultimate goal.