Best Fixes to External Hard Drive Not Showing up Windows

When you connect an external hard drive to the computer, you may find it will not show up in File Explorer. Actually, it’s not rare. This issue is discussed a lot on many related forums. Why does it take place?

In reality, many reasons can lead to external hard drives not showing up issue, such as faulty hardware connection, outdated device driver, insufficient power supply, partition errors, and so on. So, it’s very likely to happen when you use an external hard drive.

However, please do not worry since we will share some useful methods to fix the external hard drive not showing up in Windows. Go on reading the following content to get the issue solved.

External Hard Drive Not Showing up Windows

Eight Solutions to External Hard Drive not showing up Windows.

Here is the list of solutions you can try to fix the external hard drive problem.

  • Check Hardware Connection
  • Check External Hard Drive in Disk Management
  • Run Troubleshooter
  • Recover Lost Partitions
  • Show Hidden External Hard Drive
  • Fix Device Driver Issues
  • Update Windows to the Latest
  • Reformat External Hard Drive

You will need admin permission to execute the suggestions.

Fix 1: Check Hardware Connection

First of all, you should check the hardware connection, including the USB port and USB cable. If the cable or port is corrupted, the external hard drive will not be visible on the computer. So, before taking other actions, you’d better check the connection between the external hard drive and the computer.

Fix 2: Check External Hard Drive in Disk Management

Open Disk Management to see the status of the connecting external hard drive. Usually, the external hard drive may be shown in different ways when it can’t be seen in Windows File Explorer.

Case 1: The hard drive is not initialized

It’s usually seen on a new external hard drive. When you connect a brand new external hard drive to the computer, it will not show up unless you initialize it. In this case, you can use Disk Management to do the work.

  • Open Disk Management in a way you like.
  • Find the connecting external hard drive (shown as Unknown and Not Initialized).
  • Right-click it and choose Initialize Disk from the menu.
  • Choose MBR or GPT as its partition style.

Initialize Disk on Windows

After initializing the drive, you can create new partitions on it. In this way, it is visible and accessible on a computer.

Case 2: The drive has no drive letter

External hard drive not showing up also takes place if partition on it doesn’t have a drive letter. To solve it, you can also resort to Disk Management.

  • In Disk Management, find the hard drive needing a drive letter.
  • Right-click on it and select Change Drive Letter and Path.
  • Choose a proper one from the list of available drive letters. Click OK.

Add Drive Letter to Drive

Fix 3: Run Troubleshooter

Hardware and Device Troubleshooter is a feasible tool for solving external hard drives not showing up in Windows. You can follow these steps to run it.

  • Open Settings in a preferred way.
  • Click Update and Security on the Settings panel.
  • Click Troubleshoot tab > Hardware and Devices > Run the Troubleshooter.
  • When the scan ends, found issues will be listed. Choose the issue you plan to fix and click Next.

Run Hardware troubleshooter

Fix 4: Recover Lost Partitions

The external hard drive issue will also happen when all partitions in it are missing due to various reasons, like corrupted partition table, virus infection, or human errors. Upon this occasion, you may try recovering lost partitions to make the drive visible again.

There are lots of choices when you search for data recovery on Google chrome. To avoid secondary damage to the drive, you’d better choose a reliable one to scan the drive and then recover the lost partitions.

After restoring lost partitions successfully, you still need to assign a drive letter for each one so that the partitions will appear on a Windows computer.

Fix 5: Show Hidden External Hard Drive

If the external hard drive is set hidden by some partition tools, it won’t show up in File Explorer. But how do you know it is hidden or not?

You can judge it this way. Usually, the hidden drive in Disk Management has no drive letter. However, the issue can’t be solved just by adding a drive letter for it because when you right-click it, the option Change Drive Letter and Path is grayed out.

MiniTool Partition Wizard can help you.

  • In the main interface of this partition manager, find the drive that is not showing up on the computer.
  • Highlight it and select Unhide Partition from the action panel.
  • In the pop-up window, choose a drive letter and click OK.
  • Click Apply to make the change effective.

Mini Partition Tool Recover Files

Fix 6: Fix Device Driver Issues

You can check and fix issues of device drivers in Device Manager to solve the external hard drive not showing up. Please follow the guide below.

  • Enter Device Manager in a way you like.
  • Click the Disk drives option to expand it.
  • Find and right-click the problematic external hard drive.
  • On the pop-up menu, you can choose Update driver, Uninstall device according to your needs.
  • Follow the prompts to complete the rest steps.

Update Driver using Devices Manager

Fix 7: Update Windows to the Latest

Except for updating the driver, you can also install the latest Windows update to see if the issue can be solved.

  • You can type Windows Update directly in the Windows search box. Press Enter.
  • Choose Check for updates.
  • Click Checking for updates under Update Status.
  • Then, you can go on the operations according to prompts.

Fix 8. Reformat External Hard Drive

Another reason for the external hard drive not showing up in Windows is that the hard drive becomes RAW, or the file system becomes corrupted or unsupported. To solve it, you may recover data from it firstly and then reformat it to FAT or NTFS.

  • Please recover data from the external hard drive in the way you adopt in Fix 4.
  • Open MiniTool Partition Wizard again to get the main window.
  • Choose the target drive to format with the Format Partition feature.

Then, the external hard drive will appear in Windows File Explorer.

Final Words

We have mentioned the top eight solutions to external hard drives not showing up in Windows. You may choose some of them to have a try if you are encountering this problem. I hope this post can help you out.

Of course, there are other workable methods as the causes for this issue are different. So, please share your suggestions or ideas about this issue with us by leaving a comment in the section below. Thanks!


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