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How to Fix External Hard Disk not Showing Up in Computer

Today, a portable hard disk can be a good tool to store your massive data, and we can transfer data by it easily. But we still face some problems during using the external hard disk. The most common situation is you have connected the external hard disk to the USB port of the computer, but the external hard disk does not show up. This makes you can’t export or import the data among external hard disk and computers. We will go through some factors contribute to this issue and demonstrate how to solve them step by step.

  1. The Drive Letter does not Be Assigned to The Computer and The Solution for It
  2. Incompatible File Format for The Hard Disk and The Solution for It
  3. Disk Drive is too old and The Solution for It
  4. USB 3.0 Causes The not Showing Up Issue and The Solution for It

The Drive Letter does not Be Assigned to The Computer and The Solution for It

Sometimes the hard disk is connected to computer, but the disk drive simply is not being recognized by Windows and therefore won’t even show up on your system at all. You should first check that whether the hard disk is shown on Disk Management in Windows. And the steps are demonstrated below.

Step 1: Go to the Start Menu, and type Control Panel into the search bar, then select the Control Panel listed in the results.

open control panel

Step 2: Go and find the Administrative Tools option.

find administrative tool

Step 3: Find the Computer Management option in the Administrative Tools window. Then open it with administrative privilege.

click computer management

Step 4: Find and click Disk Management under the Storage category on the left side of the window.

find disk management

Step 5: Check whether the name of the external hard disk is shown in the middle of the window.

check the exist of disk

If the external hard drive name is shown in it, that means it has no drive letter assigned to it. You should go on to step 6. However, if the name of the external hard disk doesn’t exist in it, just unplug the disk and try again.

Step 6: Right-click on the disk and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths.

change driver letter

Step 7: Pick a letter for your drive and you should be good to go.

If the drive is showing, but you’re getting messages about the drive need to be formatted, then read the next section below.

Incompatible File Format for The Hard Disk and The Solution for It

When it comes to file formats, there are a couple of major formats that are used about 99% of the time: FAT32 and NTFS for Windows. As a result, when you connect an HFS+ formatted drive to Windows, you’ll get a message stating that the drive needs to be formatted in order to be utilized.

info about format drive

If you see this message, it just means that Windows does not recognize the file system on the disk drive. And the solution is to convert your current file format to a compatible file format.

Step 1: Find the disk in Disk Management by following the above actions.

Step 2: Right-click the hard disk space and select Format in the coming dialog.

Step 3: Make the file system to use the exFAT format. It’s newer and supports much larger files. Then click the Start button to finish the setting.

choose the right format drive

Disk Drive is too old and The Solution for It

Sometimes old drives can cause a device to malfunction when connected to Windows. You can try fixing this by following under steps.

Step 1: Find and open Command Prompt in the Start Menu.

Step 2: Type the command set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 into the Command Prompt window and Click Enter to execute it.

reset drive command

Step 3: Go to the Start Menu and type Device Manager in the search bar. Then select it to open the Device Manager window.

Step 4: In the Device Manager window, then click View option on the top tool bar. In the coming option list, select Show Hidden Devices option.

Step 5: Expand out Portable Devices, right-click on any items that are grayed out and choose Uninstall. Restart your computer and try to connect the hard drive again.

uninstall portable device

USB 3.0 Causes The not Showing Up Issue and The Solution for It

If you have a USB 3.0 external hard drive, there are a couple of extra considerations you have to take into account. Do as follows.

Step 1: Make sure you are using an appropriate cable.

Step 2: You might need to update the driver in Windows. Again, go to Device Manager, expand Universal Serial Bus controllers, right-click on the one that has USB 3.0 on the text and choose Update Driver Software.

update the driver

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