My Computer Isn't Recognizing My External Hard Drive
External hard drives are important for home computing. In business, they are essential. We not only use them to save information we don't have space for on our disk drive and to transport information securely, but we use them to back up information. When files are deleted or corrupted, our external hard drives are lifesavers. They can contain almost any kind of digitized information, whether documents, videos, audio files, programs or much more. If we were to plug our external hard drive into our computer's USB drive and nothing shows us, we are in trouble.
At oneHOWTO, we explain the main reasons why my computer isn't recognizing my external hard drive. Not only do we explain the reasons why the hard drive won't boot, we show you want you can do to fix the problem.
Check your connections
If you can't get your hard drive to boot, the first possible reason why it's not working is to check your connections. There are different ways to connect an external hard drive. Depending on whether it is USB, wireless or whatever type it is, you will need to check accordingly.
If it is a USB-connected external hard drive, you should check if the cable connecting it is operational. One way to check this is to try using other USB devices on the same input jack. If these work, try connecting the hard drive with a different USB cable.
If you are having other problems with this input, take a look at our article on why you can't view files on a USB.
Try to restart the computer
One of the most common reasons why the external hard drive does not boot up is simply because the operating system has not been able to read it. When this happens, the problem is not the disk drive, but the computer itself. Although turning the computer off and on again is a cliché, it is also one of the most common ways to fix the problem. Once you restart the computer, you'll likely see the external hard drive is now recognized by the computer.
Find out if your drivers are outdated
If you've already tried a restart the computer, checked the connections, the LED light is on, but the external hard drive still won't boot, you may need to check the drivers. If you have just formatted your computer, it's common for the correct system drivers to not be installed.
Fortunately, if you do not have the right drivers, you have a lot of options open to you. The first is to simply search on a search engine the name of the external hard disk model and the word ‘drivers’. This will take you to the right driver you need and you can install it on your computer. In many cases, your external hard drive will look for drivers or even install them automatically. For this reason, check to see if any pop-ups are requesting access.
Disk manager problems
If after all this the hard drive still won't boot, the next logical step is to think that there is a problem with the disk manager. In this case there can be two scenarios:
- If the hard drive is new: it may be that the computer does not recognize it. To do this, you must activate it and assign it a new format through the ‘Disk Manager’ section, either on iOS or Windows. You can even download independent disk managers which even more options. When ‘unassigned’ appears, you must make sure to enter ‘New simple volume’ so that your system assigns to drivers to that new device to boot it correctly.
- If the hard drive is old: there may have been a problem with the previously working splitters. In such a case you should start a system check by entering ‘Command Prompt’ or CMD and enter the code "CHKDSK [drive letter:] /R"
Use data recovery software
If your computer still doesn't recognize the disk drive, the possible solutions to be able to boot it are over without data recovery software are done. At this point, you will have to use software that allows you to recover the data that you have on the disk. In this case, you will be able to recover all the information that has been trapped or damaged on the disk through third parties.
Send it to technical support
If you have followed all these steps and still have not been able to start your external hard drive, it is most likely that it is not an external problem. The drive may be corrupted or even physically damaged. In these cases, you will not be able to diagnose and fix the problem unless you have the right experience and knowledge. This is where a professional technician comes in.
Take the hard drive to a computer technician who specializes in data recovery. They will be able to run diagnostic tests and are best able to fix any software or hardware issues. It is important to note there are times when the hard disk is no longer usable. Only a professional who knows what they are doing will be able to determine if this is the case.
For more information on external storage devices for computers, take a look at our related articles on how to add music to a microSD card and how to format a USB pen drive using a Mac.
If you want to read similar articles to My Computer Isn't Recognizing My External Hard Drive, we recommend you visit our Computers category.