Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up Windows 10

Advancement in technology has made external hard drives the most viable option for storing data on the go. You can carry on the external hard drive and access your data wherever you are. Though users keep their Operating Systems and hard drives up-to-date, in several cases their PC fails to recognize the hard drive.

It is not an unusual problem for Windows 10 users. Thus, they are curious to know how to fix the external hard drive not showing up Windows 10 issue. Windows 10 not recognizing the hard drive is not a troublesome matter if you can apply the proper solution.

Solutions to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up Windows 10:

Follow these simple workarounds to know how to access the external hard drive on Windows 10.

Solution 1: Performing Preliminary Fixes

It is better to perform basic troubleshooting before carrying out the technical and advanced ones. Most of the time, the external hard drive is not accessible due to some simple problems. Thus, you might solve this issue by the basic workarounds only and save your time as well as effort. So, follow the steps and perform them as we have discussed below.

  1. Insert the hard drive into a proper USB port of your PC.
  2. Only make sure that the USB port is not defective and is compatible with the hard drive. You can ensure that by plugging another external device into it.
  3. Otherwise, plug in the hard drive to a different USB port of the PC.
  4. Another thing that you need to check is that the USB port is in a working state with the latest drivers installed.

Now check whether Windows can detect the external hard drive or not. If not, then proceed to the technical workarounds explained below.

Solution 2: Update Hard Drive Drivers

Drivers are those components that run any hardware and control them to use the Operating System. They serve as an interface between the hardware and the Operating System. Thus, Windows won’t be able to access the hard drive if the drivers are not up-to-date or corrupted.

Thus, follow these steps to update the drivers and storage controllers manually.

  1. Press the Windows logo key and ‘R’ to launch the Run application.
  2. Type ‘devmgmt.msc’ in the Run box and press ‘Enter’ to access Device Manager.
  3. Expand ‘Storage Controllers’ on the Device Manager window and locate the external hard drive.
  4. Right-click on it and select ‘Update Driver
  5. Now, search the internet for the latest drivers and install them automatically on your PC.
  6. On the other hand, download the drivers manually and save them to an accessible location.
  7. Then, choose ‘Browse my computer for driver software’ to install the downloaded drivers.
  8. Though it is an open-end solution, ensure that you have the latest compatible drivers for your device.
  9. After updating the storage controllers, navigate to the ‘Disk Drivers.’
  10. Right-click on the external hard drive and select the ‘Update Driver’ option.
  11. Restart the PC to let all the changes take effect and re-plug the hard drive to see whether it is accessible or not.

Jump to the next solution if the hard drive is not showing up on Windows 10.

Solution 3: Uninstall the Hard Drive Drivers

Probably uninstalling the drivers might fix the ‘Windows 10 not recognizing hard drive’ issue. When you uninstall the driver, the hardware automatically disappears from the Device Manager. After that, Windows scans the PC for hardware changes and detect which of the drivers are yet to be installed. Thus, it installs the stock drivers in order to run the specific devices. So, have a look at these steps to uninstall the drivers.

  1. Press Windows logo key and ‘R’ to open the Run application.
  2. Enter ‘devmgmt.msc’ in the Run dialog box to access the Device Manager.
  3. Expand ‘Disk drives’ to see the list of devices installed on your PC.
  4. Right-click on the particular device and select the ‘Uninstall device’ option to remove it from your PC.
  5. Stay on the Device Manager and expand ‘Universal Serial Bus Controllers.’
  6. Right-click on the device and select ‘Uninstall’ to temporarily remove it from your PC.
  7. Click ‘OK’ on the confirmation dialog box to continue.
  8. After uninstalling the hardware successfully, right-click on an empty space on the Device Manager window.
  9. Select ‘Scan for hardware changes’ and let Windows automatically detect the hardware and install the default drivers.

Solution 4: Changing Drive Letter

The drive letter consists of a drive name that identifies every drive and a path to access the drive. The drives will be inaccessible if one drive letter is conflicting with another. Thus, allocate another drive name to your external hard drive and check whether it resolves the problem or not.

  1. Shut down your PC and plug and insert the hard drive into it.
  2. Turn on the PC and open the Run application.
  3. Now, enter ‘diskmgmt.msc’ in the Run application to access Disk Management.
  4. Find out the external hard drive, right-click on it, and select ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths.’
  5. Navigate to the list of options available and tap on the ‘Add’ button.
  6. If the drive already has a name, then click on ‘Change’ instead of the ‘Add’ button and select a new drive letter for that drive.
  7. Click ‘OK’ to save the changes and close the Disk Management window.
  8. Now, restart your PC to check whether it can access the external hard drive correctly or not.

Solution 5: Enable Hidden or Empty Drives

Some computers by default hide all the empty drives from File Explorer. It is a useful feature for those who connect too many hard drives at the same time to their PC. Thus, they require preferences to view that hard drive that is not empty. However, empty or hidden hard drives might cause problems in accessing external hard drives. So, follow these steps to deal with this problem.

  1. Press the Windows logo key and ‘S’ together to access the search bar.
  2. Enter ‘cmd’ in the Windows search bar in order to open a Command Prompt window.
  3. Right-click on the first option of the search results and choose ‘Command Prompt(Admin).’
  4. Then, copy and paste the command, ‘set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1’ in the elevated command line, and press the ‘Enter’ key.
  5. Launch Device Manager window the way we have discussed before.
  6. Click the ‘View’ tab on the Device Manager window and check the ‘Show hidden devices’ box.
  7. Tap the ‘Save’ button to apply the changes and restart your PC.
  8. Reconnect the external hard drive to check the status of the problem.

If the problem persists, then follow this process to find an external hard drive for Windows 10.

  1. Press the Windows logo key and ‘E’ to launch File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the ‘View’ tab and click ‘Options’ and select ‘Change folder and search options.
  3. Now, uncheck the ‘Hide empty drives’ box and click on ‘Apply’ to save the changes.
  4. Exit the File Explorer and restart the system to check whether it resolves the hard drive issue or not.

Solution 6: Allocate New Volume to Hard Drive

The above solution won’t work if no volume is assigned to the external hard drive. It can happen if you have recently purchased the hard drive and haven’t used it for once at all. Moreover, formatting the hard drive without allocating parameters can also lead to this issue.

Thus, we have explained the process of formatting the hard drive in order to fix this issue. Remember that formatting the hard drive is going to erase all the data present with it. Hence, you can make a backup of your data before carrying on this process.

  1. Press the Windows logo key and ‘R’ at the same time to open the Run application.
  2. Type ‘diskmgmt.msc’ in the Run box and press ‘Enter’ to access the Disk Management window.
  3. You will find a picture if any volume has not been allocated to the hard drive. Besides this, an unallocated tag will be present along with a black bar.
  4. Right-click on the bar and select New Simple Volume.’
  5. Click ‘Next’ on the new wizard that pops up on the display to continue the allocation.
  6. As prompted, set size allocations and drive letters for your hard drive.
  7. No change is needed if the default values of the hard drive are correct.
  8. Tap the ‘Next’ button to access the last window where you will need to choose the type of drive.
  9. Check the Perform a quick format option to erase all data stored on the hard drive.
  10. After your PC allocates the drive properly, check whether the hard drive is recognizable or not.

If not, then right-click on the partition and select ‘Format’ for formatting the hard drive. Then, follow the on-screen instructions and don’t change the default values of the hard drive. After completing the partition, reconnect the hard drive to your PC.

Now, ensure that it has fixed Windows 10 external hard drive not showing the problem. Hope, the article is able to guide you on how to fix the external hard drive not showing up Windows 10 issue. If you fail to resolve this issue by going through the article, then the best way is to opt for a professional’s assistance.

Maria Colombo
Maria Colombo
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