Computer Does Not See External Drive

The computer does not see the hard drive, what it means, and how to deal with the problem.

First of all, you need to decide what a hard drive is. A hard disk (called “Winchester” in the slang) is a device for accumulating data.

In fact, all the information on the computer is stored on it (with a few exceptions).

Computer Does Not See External Drive

The operating system and all the data to which it has access are recorded on the hard drive.

Accordingly, when the system does not detect any of these devices, all files recorded on it become inaccessible.

Below will be described the causes of the problems and how to overcome them.

The “diseases” listed below may also affect an external hard drive.

Diagnostic measures

If the computer does not see the disk, you need to determine the “culprits.” That is, find out if the problem lies in the device itself or in the system.

To do this, you will have to connect the hard drive to another computer.

If it recognizes the device, then the problem is in the system, if not, then the hard disk itself is faulty. It is better to delegate further work on it to the masters.

Or use a warranty replacement or repair.

If the problem is in the “native” system of the hard drive, then there are several ways to fix it on your own.

That little that can be done independently will help to avoid spending on the services of specialists.

Some useful tips

  • You can enter the BIOS settings by pressing the F2 or Del keys until the system starts to boot;
  • It is better to remember the correct connection of cables with SATA outputs;
  • It is better to wrap the hard drive removed from the system unit in an antistatic;
  • The lower part of the device, which with the boards, is also better to always put on an antistatic.

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Main problems and solutions

There are a number of problems in the hard drive, which can be overcome with your own hands.

A software conflict or outgoing contacts can be resolved even without contacting specialists.

Outgoing contacts

The problem may lie in the banal lack of contact. To fix it, you will need to remove the system unit cover and try reconnecting the cables.

If no result is obtained, then other parallel cables can be used.

Incorrect BIOS settings

In the case when even the BIOS does not detect the hard disk, you need to look at the system date. Its incorrectness indicates a failure of the settings. Correct the situation will help reset the settings.

To do this, you will need to remove the battery on the motherboard, wait 10-30 minutes and install it back.

After these simple actions, the hard drive should be defined as a physical device.

The problem may be in the order of boot devices. In this case, you do not need to completely reset the BIOS.

It is enough to find the menu item in the name of which is the word “Boot”.

It will have a priority list of devices to boot. In this list, you need to move the HDD to the first line.

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To diagnose a hard drive, we recommend using the Victoria HDD program. It allows you to evaluate the performance of the hard drive, check it for defects and even perform minor repairs.

Not enough food

If the device periodically disappears and appears, then you need to listen to it.

The characteristic buzzing sounds of changing work cycles indicate a lack of nutrition. Then you will have to purchase a more powerful power supply or turn off some less important device.

Device conflict

Two hard drives of the same brand in the system can cause conflicts. To avoid them, you need to take turns to check and configure each with a separate connection to the system.

Bus version

Versions of Windows prior to Vista may not support the SATA (SATA II) interface.

The easiest way in this case is to change the operating system to a newer one.

If this is not possible, then you still have to reinstall the OS, but with integrated drivers for SATA interfaces.

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OS problem

If the BIOS detects the device, and Windows does not see the hard drive, then manual configuration by means of Windows will be required. To do this, proceed as follows:

1. Open the “Control Panel” in the drop-down panel “Start”;

2. Double-click on the “Administration” item;

3. In the window that opens, “Computer Management”;

4. In the list on the left, the “Disk Management” item.

In the central lower part of the computer control window, all connected disk devices are displayed. One of them will be without a volume label (letters, C :, D: etc.).

Right-clicking on the tile of this drive will open a drop-down menu that has the line “Change drive letter”.

Clicking on this item will bring up a window where you can assign a volume label in the A-Z range. After that, restart the computer.

Not one way helped revive the “patient”? Then you cannot do without the help of specialists. The problems are much more serious and only masters can save the hard drive.

The computer does not see the hard drive. What to do?

Why does the computer not see the hard drive and how to solve this problem? This is dedicated to answering these questions.

The material provides some really effective ways to solve your problems with the hard drive. A detailed analysis of the actions necessary to solve the problem is carried out. These instructions will help you quickly and permanently get rid of problems with your hard drive.

Posted by Yuri Belousov01.01.2019

When you connect an external hard drive via USB, it is automatically recognized and becomes visible in My Computer. Its icon is displayed next to other local drives. But in some cases, when trying to connect an HDD or SSD hard drive to a computer or laptop via USB, the user may encounter a situation where the PC does not see the portable drive, it is simply not detected by the system and does not appear in My Computer. We will deal with the main reasons why the computer does not see the external hard drive and what to do to restore the normal operation of the device.

Why the computer does not see the external hard drive with a USB connection

The main reasons why the computer does not see the external hard drive when connected via USB:

  1. No drivers needed;
  2. Malfunctions in computer software;
  3. Lack of power at the USB port;
  4. Bad USB cable
  5. Faulty hard drive;
  6. Invalid volume label;
  7. The new device is not formatted.

These are the most common reasons why an external hard drive is not detected by Windows when connected via USB. Next, consider what needs to be done to restore the portable drive to a computer or at least diagnose a problem.

The external hard drive is not visible on the computer (Windows) when connected via USB. What to do

If a Windows computer does not see a portable external hard drive when connected via USB, then do the following:

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    Try to connect and disconnect a removable disk several times. For example, there are often cases when, when trying to connect, a message appears stating that the USB device is not recognized, is working incorrectly, Windows cannot recognize it. Over, if you repeatedly connect an external drive or flash drive, then in the end Windows manages to recognize the external device and similar problems no longer arise in the future. The advice is commonplace. But in a good half of cases, it is he who helps when an external hard drive is not detected when connected to a computer or laptop.

Cannot read external hard drive

External hard drive does not appear. Update drivers

It is worth noting that computers running any version of Windows may encounter the problem of not recognizing an external hard drive: 7, 8, 10, XP.

So we figured out the main reasons why Windows does not see the external hard drive when connected via USB, and also considered what to do in case of a similar problem on the computer.

External hard drive cannot be read, not detected, not displayed

Another useful that tells what to do if the external hard drive cannot be read (cannot be detected, cannot be displayed, does not connect, does not initialize, does not work) when connected via USB to a computer or laptop with Windows OS:

Didn’t find an answer? Then use the search form:

The system does not see the external drive

There are several reasons for this problem. If a new disk is connected, then perhaps Windows “forgot” to report it and offer to install drivers, format the media. In the case of old drives, this can be the creation of partitions on another computer using programs, the presence of a blocking virus, as well as the usual malfunction of the controller, the disk itself, the cable or port on the PC.

Another reason is lack of nutrition. We’ll start with her.

Reason 1: Nutrition

Quite often, users, due to the lack of USB ports, connect several devices to one socket through a hub (splitter). If the connected devices require power from the USB-connector, then there may be a shortage of electricity. Hence the problem: the hard drive may not start and, accordingly, may not appear in the system. The same situation can occur when ports are overloaded with energy-intensive devices.

You can do the following in this situation: try to free one of the ports for an external drive or, in extreme cases, purchase a hub with additional power. Some portable disks may also require additional power supply, as evidenced by the presence of not only a USB cable in the kit, but also a power cable. Such a cable can have two connectors for connecting to USB or even a separate PSU.

Reason 2: Unformatted disk

When you connect a new blank disk to a PC, the system usually reports that the media is not formatted and suggests doing so. In some cases this does not happen and it may be necessary to do this procedure manually.

  1. Go to “Control Panel”. You can do this from the menu. “Start” or press a key combination Winr and enter the command:

Next, go to “Administration”.

Find a shortcut with the name “Computer Management”.

Go to the section Disk Management.

We are looking for our drive in the list. You can distinguish it from others by size, as well as by the RAW file system.

Click on the disk RMB and select the context menu item “Format”.

Next, select the label (name) and file system. Put a daw in front “Quick formatting” and click OK. It remains only to wait for the end of the process.

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The new disk appeared in the folder “A computer”.

Reason 3: Drive letter

This problem may occur when performing disk operations. Formatting, partitioning. On another computer using special software.

In such cases, you must manually set the letter in the snap Disk Management.

Reason 4: Drivers

The operating system is very complex software and that is why various failures often occur in it. In normal mode, Windows itself installs standard drivers for new devices, but this does not always happen. If the system did not start installing the driver when connecting an external drive, then you can try restarting the computer. In most cases, this is enough. If the situation does not change, you will have to “work with pens.”

    Open “Control Panel” and go to “Device Manager”.

Find the icon “Update hardware configuration” and click on it. The system will “see” the new device and try to find and install the driver. Most often, this technique brings a positive result.

If the software for the disk could not be installed, you need to check the branch “Disk Devices”. If it has a drive with a yellow icon, it means that the OS does not have such a driver or it is damaged.

The problem will help solve the forced installation. You can find the software for the device manually on the manufacturer’s website (it might have included a driver disk) or try to download it automatically from the network.

    We click RMB by device and select “Update drivers”.

Next, go to automatic search. After that, we are waiting for the end of the process. If necessary, then restart the computer.

Reason 5: Viruses

Virus programs, among other things, can interfere with the initialization of external drives in the system. Most often they are located on the removable disk itself, but they can also be present on your PC. First, check for viruses your system and, if any, a second hard drive.

Using the tools given in the article above, you cannot check the external drive, since it cannot be initialized. Only a bootable USB flash drive with an anti-virus scanner, for example, Kaspersky Rescue Disk, will help here. With it, you can scan the media for viruses without downloading system files and services, and hence the subject of the attack.

Reason 6: Physical Malfunctions

Physical malfunctions include a breakdown of the disk or controller itself, failure of the ports on the computer, as well as a banal “breaking” of the USB cable or power.
To determine the malfunction, you can do the following:

  • Replace the cables with known-good ones.
  • Connect the disk to other USB ports, if it works, then the connector is faulty.
  • Remove the device and connect the drive directly to the motherboard (do not forget to turn off the computer before doing this). If the media is detected, then there is a malfunction of the controller, if not, then the disk. You can try to restore a non-working HDD at a service center, otherwise it will have a direct road to the trash.


In this article, we discussed the most common reasons for the lack of an external hard drive in the Computer folder. Some of them are solved quite simply, while others may result in a trip to the service center or even a loss of information. In order to be ready for such twists of fate, you should regularly monitor the status of the HDD or SSD, for example, with CrystalDiskInfo, and at the first suspicion of a breakdown, change the disk to a new one.