How to Fix: External Drive Not Recognized

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The Windows computer does not recognize your external hard drive or flash drive? This is a common problem, especially when connecting hard disks between Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. This can also happen on a single system where it has worked well for a long time and suddenly becomes unknown to the operating system.

Sometimes the solution is simple and sometimes more complicated. In this article, I will try to review the different solutions on Mac and Windows to solve this problem. The way the player is formatted and which file system is used is the most common reason why the player is not recognized.

Why is an external hard drive not recognized?

On Windows, this problem can be caused by partition problems, dead USB ports, driver window conflicts, file system, dead or obsolete drivers.

It can have the following causes:

  • The USB port of the PC does not work.
  • The hard disk driver is obsolete.
  • Virus attack.
  • Hard disk failure.

Here are the steps you can take to solve this problem with USB flash drives or external hard drives:

Try another USB port.

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If an external hard drive flashes but is not detected on your PC, you can try disconnecting it and connecting it to another USB port.

You can also restart your PC and try reconnecting your external hard drive to your computer.

If this simple solution works, then your problem with “External Drive Not Found” error is solved. Otherwise, consult the other solutions proposed here.


Change the letter and path of the reader

Experienced users will check if their external hard drive is displayed in disk management if they discover that Windows does not recognize it. To open the Disk Management tool, you can right-click on this PC (or on my computer in Windows 7), select Management from the context menu to access Disk Management, then select Disk Management on the left.

As we know, Windows cannot detect this drive if the drive letter is missing, but we can see it in the Computer Management window. Now we have to assign a drive letter to the hard disk for Windows to recognize it.

Step 1: Right-click on the external hard disk and select Change drive letter and paths.

Step 2: Click Add, then select a letter for the reader and click OK.

Create a new partition on your removable disk.

If you have never connected your hard disk to your PC before and are trying to connect it for the first time, the drive may not be recognized because you have not created partitions for it. However, the same can be detected by the Windows Disk Management Tool. Therefore, check if the disk management tool can find the external hard disk.

Open the disk management tool, go to Search, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter. If the external drive is listed in the Disk Management window, format it correctly so that it appears the next time you connect to your PC.

If you notice that the disk is not partitioned or unaffected, format it, then create a new partition and check.


If external hard disks are not displayed, this process should solve most hard disk detection problems. If you have tried the drive with several computers and it never appears in the Disk Management window after these steps, the drive is probably dead.

In this case, you will find the best portable hard drives you can buy. Just make sure you know the important information about buying a hard drive.

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