Fix Hard Drive Not Showing Up: Troubleshooting Steps

In this guideline, you can get detailed troubleshooting steps to fix the hard drive not showing up issue. Besides, we will tell you how to recover data from it smoothly.


By Zoey / Updated on August 31, 2023

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Encounters with the hard drive not showing up issue may leave you thinking of the reasons behind its undetectable nature. If you find yourself currently grappling with this situation, you must be seeking both an explanation for the hard drive's invisibility and methods for hard drive data recovery.

Within this comprehensive guide, we elucidate the causes behind the hard disk not detected error, techniques to salvage crucial information from an inaccessible drive, and strategies to prompt your computer into recognizing the hard drive.

Toshiba External Hard Drive

Why Hard Drive Not Showing Up

The following factors shed light on potential reasons for the external hard drive not showing up issue:

  • File system corruption: Corruption of the file system can render the hard drive not detected. Notably, the damage is often logical rather than physical, allowing data recovery.
  • Incompatible file system: A hard drive with an incompatible file system may remain invisible to Windows, leading to a lack of recognition.
  • Degraded USB port: USB ports can deteriorate over time due to wear and tear. Attempt connecting the hard drive to an alternate USB port or even a different computer.
  • Insufficient power supply: Some hard drives might fail to draw adequate power from a USB port, especially sizable non-portable drives. Switching USB ports or ensuring both USB plugs are connected can help.
  • Physical impairment: Physical damage to a hard drive can result in inaccessibility and functionality loss. When recovering data from a failing hard drive, creating a drive image before data retrieval is recommended. This minimizes potential harm or file overwrites. Severe damage, however, might necessitate professional data recovery services.

Feasibility of Data Recovery from a Hard Drive Not Showing Up

Determining the potential for data recovery from an undetected hard drive depends on various factors. In cases of severe physical damage, professional data recovery services might be the only recourse.

Conversely, if your hard disk not detected due to logical errors like file system corruption, employing intelligent data recovery tools such as MyRecover will let you recover files form external hard drive not detected.

To check the data recoverability, inspect the Disk Management console. Locate "Create and format hard disk partitions" by searching for "disk management" in the Start Menu. The console's presence alongside the correct size of the hard drive indicates the possibility of data scanning and recovery. If you cannot see the hard drive in Disk Management, a professional recovery service is necessary.

How to Recover Data from a Hard Drive Not Showing Up

Irrespective of the cause of the undetectable hard drive, the priority remains recovering data from these drives.

Individuals grappling with physically damaged portable hard drives are advised to ask for the aid of data recovery services.

Alternatively, those fortunate enough to avoid paying recovery fees can rely on proficient Windows data recovery tools like MyRecover. This tool boasts efficiency, user-friendliness, convenience, and compatibility.

  • Efficiency: Adaptable to a range of Windows data loss scenarios encompassing deletion, formatting, emptied recycle bins, viruses, and system crashes.
  • User-friendly: Intuitive interface facilitates straightforward data recovery in three steps, catering to users of all skill levels.
  • Convenience: Ensures recovery while preserving original filenames, paths, and formats.
  • Compatibility: Compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7/Server, supporting NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS formats.

📌 Note: To enhance data recovery success, please stop using the hard drive before initiating recovery procedures is advisable.

Step 1. Install and launch MyRecover. Connect the hard drive to your computer, then select the target hard drive icon and choose Start Scan.

External Hard Drive Start Scan

Step 2. During scanning, you can try options for previewing, sorting, and filtering detected files. Organize results by Type, Size, Date modified, etc., to streamline the process.

External Hard Drive Scanning

Step 3. Detected files are categorized by type; select desired data and initiate recovery by clicking the Recover x files button.

📍 Tip: The free version allows recovery of up to 30 MB per attempt. Consider upgrading to MyRecover Pro/Tech for unrestricted data retrieval.

External Hard Drive Reover Files

How to Fix Hard Drive Not Showing Up

After data recovery, the endeavor shifts towards resurrecting the hard drive for operational use. Several methods exist for fixing a PC's failure to detect the hard drive.

Method 1. Employ Alternate Ports or Devices

When the hard drive not showing up within the file explorer, insufficient power in the USB port or port malfunction could be at play. Experiment by connecting the hard drive to another port on the same PC. If this proves ineffective, testing the hard drive on a different computer might determine if the issue stems from the PC or the drive itself.

Method 2. Update Device Drivers

Outdated or corrupted drivers may contribute to the hard drive not showing up. Updating or reinstalling drivers can be effective, with Windows often offering automatic updates. For automatic driver updates, consider uninstalling the driver using these steps:

1. Access Device Manager by searching "device manager" in the Start Menu and selecting the relevant match.

2. Identify the hard drive driver, right-click, and choose Update driver.

External Hard Drive Update Driver

3. In the pop-up window, choose Search automatically for drivers.

External Hard Drive Search Automatic for Driver

Windows will automatically update it to the latest driver, potentially resolving the issue and reintroducing the hard drive to the file explorer.

Method 3. Use Windows Built-in Troubleshooters

Windows includes troubleshooters to identify and rectify issues. If previous attempts fail, these built-in tools might provide a solution.

1. Launch the Command Prompt as an administrator by searching "cmd" in the Start Menu.

2. Execute the command: msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic.

Device Diagnostic

3. This triggers the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter, which guides you through diagnosing and potentially resolving the issue.

Method 4. Initialize the Hard Drive

For new, unformatted hard drives, initiation might be necessary for usability. Please note that initialization entails erasing existing data. To initialize disk without losing data, please recover your data and make backups. Then, follow these steps:

1. Search "device manager" in the Start Menu and select "Create and format hard disk partitions" to launch Disk Management.

2. Locate the target disk, right-click, and select "Initialize Disk."

Initialize Disk

3. A dialog box appears. Choose the appropriate disk and partition style (opt for GPT for Windows 10 or 11) and click OK.

Initialize MBR GPT

4. Follow prompts to create a New Simple Volume, assign a partition size (default is full drive size), allocate a drive letter, choose NTFS (or other preferred formats), and click Finish.

Method 5. Allocate a Drive Letter

A straightforward measure involves assigning or altering the drive letter, potentially granting access to the hard drive. To change the drive letter:

1. Search "disk management" in the Start Menu and select "Create and format hard disk partitions" to access the Disk Management console.

2. Right-click the hard drive, and select "Change Drive Letter and Paths."

Change Drive Letter and Paths

3. Opt for "Add" to assign a new letter or "Change" to alter the existing one.

4. Choose a letter from the dropdown and confirm with OK to finalize changes.

Assign Drive Letter or Path Click Next

Final Words

That’s all about how to fix the hard drive not showing up issue on your computer. All the solutions are suitable for your storage devices like Toshiba external hard drive, SanDisk hard drive, and many other brands. Importantly, you can try MyRecover to get back all your data from the hard drive not detected.

Zoey · Editor
Zoey works as an English editor of AOMEI Technology. She provides tech information about backup and restore, mobile data transfer, and so on for AOMEI. She hopes that her articles will be greatly helpful for users. She is fond of music, film, and photography.