How to Fix: External Hard Drive Not Showing up on Windows 10

Some users reflect that their external hard drive is not showing up on Windows 10. This is a common issue. When this issue happens, you can’t find the connected external hard drive in File Explorer or even in Disk Management. Or you can’t access it on your PC.


To help you solve this issue, we’ve collected some useful solutions and offered them in this post. On the other hand, if you need to recover files from external hard drives that are not being detected, you can try the free data recovery software: MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

The solutions mentioned in this post are focusing on different solutions. If you are not sure which case you are facing, you can try them one by one to help you out.

Fix 1: Try another USB Port or Computer

When your Windows 10 won't recognize an external hard drive, the first thing you need to do is to rule out the USB port or computer issue. It is very easy to do this job.

Try another USB Port

Most computers have more than one USB port. You can unplug the external hard drive from the currently-used USB port and then use another USB port to establish the connection between your computer and the USB port. Then, you can check whether your computer can recognize the external hard drive.

If the issue persists, there should be something wrong with the USB port. You may need to fix the non-working USB ports or try another normal working computer.

Try another Computer

If there is a second normal working computer by your side, you can connect the external hard drive to that computer and then see when the issue disappears. If the issue of external hard drive not recognized Windows 10 persists, you can keep reading to find more solutions.

Fix 2: Update/Reinstall/Roll back the Device Driver

Update/Reinstall the Device Driver

An outdated device driver can also be the cause of an external hard drive not showing up on Windows 10. You can update or reinstall the device driver to have a try.
  1. Right-click Start (the Win icon on the bottom left corner of the screen) and select Device Manager from the pop-up menu.
  2. Expand the Disk drives section.
  3. Right-click the device driver and select Update driver. Then, follow the on-screen guide to update the driver. If you want to reinstall the device driver, you need to select Uninstall device and click Uninstall from the pop-out window to uninstall it.
  4. Restart your computer and then check whether Windows 10 can recognize the external hard drive.
Roll back the Device Driver

If this issue happens after you update the device driver, you can roll back the device driver to have a try.
  1. Right-click Start (the Win icon on the bottom left corner of the screen) and select Device Manager from the pop-up menu.
  2. Expand the Disk drives section.
  3. Right-click the device driver and select Properties.
  4. On the Properties interface, you need to click the Roll Back Driver button and follow the guide to finish the job.

Fix 3: Create a New Partition on the Drive

If it is a new external hard drive without partitioning, it will not be recognized by your computer. You can access Disk Management to check and create a new partition on that drive if necessary.
  1. Right-click This PC and select Manage.
  2. Click Disk Management from the left menu.
  3. You will see that drive in Disk Management. If it has no partition, you need to right-click the unallocated space, click New Simple Volume, and follow the instruction to create a new partition based on your requirements.

Fix 4: Add a Drive Letter to the Partition on the Drive

If the partition on the external hard drive has no drive letter, you will not see it in File Explorer. To fix this problem, you can add a drive letter to that partition.
  1. Right-click This PC and select Manage.
  2. Click Disk Management from the left menu.
  3. Right-click the partition that has no drive letter and then select Change Drive Letter and Paths….
  4. Click Add on the pop-out interface.
  5. Select a drive letter for that partition.
  6. Click OK to save the change.

Fix 5: Run the Hardware Troubleshooter

Another good method to fix external hard drive not showing up on Windows 10 is to use the Hardware Troubleshooter.
  1. Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
  2. Find the Hardware and Devices option and click it.
  3. Click the Run the troubleshooter button to start the troubleshooting process.
  4. Follow the guide on the screen to end the troubleshooting process.

Fix 6: Format the External Hard Drive

If all of the above methods don’t work for you, the file system of that drive may be damaged. You need to format the external hard drive to have a try. This method will delete all files on that device. If there are some important files in it, you can use MiniTool Power Data Recovery to rescue data in it, and then feel free to format the drive to normal.



MiniTool Solution Ltd. has been developing professional partition management software, data recovery solutions, data backup and restore utilities for millions of users and businesses from 180+ countries for over 10 years. Trusted by many industry experts all over the world, MiniTool software products have been featured on tech sites such as WindowsReport, CNET, PCMag, How-To Geek, TechRadar, PCWorld, LifeWire, etc.

You can just go to the MiniTool official site to get this software and then use it to scan the drive you want to recover data from. When you see the scan results, you can select your needed files and recover them to a suitable location.



After recovering your needed files, you can format the drive to normal in Disk Management. Here is a guide:
  1. Open Disk Management using the method mentioned above.
  2. Right-click on the partition you want to format and select Format.
  3. Select the Volume label, File System, and Allocation unit for that partition according to your requirements.
  4. Click OK to start the drive formatting process.
  5. If the partition has no drive letter after formatting, you need to add one for it.
After these steps, your computer should successfully recognize the external hard drive.

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