Comprehensive Guidelines To Resolve External Hard Drive Not Showing Up Windows 10 Issue

In this tech-oriented era, external hard drives are considered to be one of the more viable options for storing a significant amount of data. You get to experience a blazing fast speed, which comes in an easy to carry format so that you can easily carry your necessary data or files on the go. The Operating System and the hard drive softwares are regularly being updated to provide users with a hassle-free environment. The other side of the coin is that Windows 10 is also prone to certain technical glitches.

You might note that even after you get the confirmation of accurate connect, your device fails to recognize the External Hard Drive. These are certainly a tricky and frustrating situation which needs an immediate fix. If you are pondering on how to resolve the problem and unable to get through it, then this article is going to help you. Go through this article to get a clear insight of external hard drive not showing up Windows 10 problem. Along with that, you get to employ essential hacks that can mitigate the problem within a flicker of time.

Basic Reasons Behind External Hard Drive Not Showing Up Windows 10 Problem

Let us look at the few probable causes that might be responsible for external hard drive not showing up Windows 10.

  • The most common root cause is that the external hard drive is corrupted due to any malware file interaction.
  • If you are trying to connect an outdated drive, then there might be error pop-ups.
  • Additionally, due to the partition issue on the external drive or dead USB ports can lead you to this problem.
  • If you are trying to operate through the system files then there can be driver issues in Windows.

How Can You Detect The Problem?

The problem can range to the maximum extent, so you need to find the solution that pertains to your issue. Have a look at the cases that are usually reported by Windows users.

  • Your computer is unable to recognize the new external hard drive.
  • The hard drive label appears in the Disk Management window but you are unable to access it.
  • Often, both the Computer as well as the Disk Management fails to recognize the external hard drive. You may note that external hard drive not showing up in disk management Windows 10 message pops up at times.

Effective Hacks: External Hard Drive Not Showing Up Windows 10 Issue

Here in this section, you will get to learn about some troubleshooting fixes on how to access the missing hard drive on Windows devices.

Before you begin with the fixes, you need to initiate the process by unplugging the external hard drive from the port. Insert it into any other port of the system to ensure if the port is functioning appropriately. If you find that the port is not dead and working well then you need to verify whether the USB worked fine. If the issue is not associated either with the port or the USB then proceed with the troubleshooting hacks.

Method 1: Reconnect The New External Hard Drive

This is considered to be the most basic trick that can help you whenever your brand-new hard drive fails to show up. To start, plug in the SATA cable as well as the power cable into the new external drive. Now, plug the other end of the SATA cable into the SATA port on your motherboard. Power up the computer and check if the problem lingers behind. If it does then you simply need to initialize it.

Method 2: Run The Troubleshooter

Windows comes along with a few automated tools, such as Hardware and Device Troubleshooter and the Windows USB Troubleshooter. These can confirm whether there are any known issues with the hardware. Along with that, it can also fix them automatically. All you need to do is navigate to the Start menu and go to the Windows Settings. As soon as a new window appears, try to locate the Troubleshooter tab and click on it. Choose the troubleshooters as per the requirements and confirm your action by following the on-screen prompts. When asked click on the ‘Resolve’ option to eliminate the risk.

In case you are unable to fix the external hard drive not showing up Windows 10 problem with this method, then you can move on to the next one.

Method 3: Update The Device Driver

If you are trying to use an outdated driver then there is a probability that it is not compatible with your system. Simply update the driver to fix the problem. To proceed, Press down the Windows key as well as the R key simultaneously, in order to open the Run dialog box. In the blank field type in ‘devmgmt.msc.’ and hit the Enter key. This will take you to the Device Manager. From the list, you have to locate the external device and note if a yellow or a red sign appears against the driver.

Right click on the label and from the drop-down list select the ‘Update Driver Software’ option. Furthermore, if you note any ‘Unknown Device’ label appears on the Device Manager list then you must update that as well. Finally, Click on the option ‘Search automatically for updated driver software’ and follow the instructions that appear on the screen. You need to confirm your action twice in order to accomplish the process securely and accurately.

Method 4: Create New Partition Using Any Removable Drive

Additionally, you can also consider going through this process, in case you are already using an updated driver. If you are trying to connect the external hard drive for the first time, then often the system files fail to detect them. You need to create partitions in order to enable the external hard drive to get recognized by Windows Disk Management tool. To initiate the process, at first, you have to check if the Disk Management tool is able to reach the external hard drive. All you need to do is navigate to the Search bar and type in ‘diskmgmt.msc’ and press the Enter key. If you are able to view the requisite drive in the Disk Management window, then simply format it. This will help the external driver to show up whenever you connect it to the computer.

However, if you find that even after formatting the drive is unpartitioned or unallocated, then all you need to do is create a new partition. In order to do so, navigate to the Disk Management and right click on the Unallocated space. From the drop-down menu click on ‘New Simple Volume’ and select the Next button. Now, you will be asked to select the partition size and drive letter. Fill up the blank field and all the file system information required. Finally, as soon as you click on the Finish button, you will note that your new hard drive shows up on the computer. Use the External hard drive to save files and data as per your requirement without any hassle.

Method 5: Disable The USB Selective Suspend Setting

If the above-mentioned methods do not generate desired results then try to disable the USB selective suspend setting. To begin, at first go to the Start menu and click on the Control Panel. When a new window appears, open the Power Options and navigate to Additional power settings. In a new window, you will be able to view your selected power plan, just adjacent to it you will be able to locate the label ‘Change plan settings’. Just click on it and then again go to the ‘Change advanced power settings’, usually located just below the USB settings. Finally, you need to locate the ‘USB selective suspend setting’ and turn it from ‘Enable’ To ‘Disable’. Click on the Apply button to save the changes and with the OK button, you can set the changes permanently. Exit the window and check if the problem still appears or not.

Method 6: Change Drive Letter

You can access the drive through a unique drive name. If there is a conflict among the letter of the drive you want to access with another one which is already reserved by the system, then issues may occur. The only solution is to allocate another drive name to your drive. To begin, you need to shut down your computer and plug in the device. Then boot your computer and wait till it starts without any glitch.  While carrying out this process, you need to know that the first boot device in your BIOS settings is not a removable one.

Let us continue, open the run dialog box, by pressing down the Windows key as well as the R key simultaneously. When the Run dialog box appears, in the blank field type in ‘diskmgmt.msc’ and hit the Enter key. The disk management window appears, right click on your device and from the drop-down menu select ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths’ option. When a list of options appears, click on the either ‘Add’ or ‘Change button, according to the requirement. Select a new letter for your drive and hit the OK button to save the changes. Now, exit the window and restart your system. Finally, check if you are able to access the device successfully.

Method 7: Enable Hidden Or Empty Device

If a problem may appear to be complicated if you are unable to detect the root cause of the problem. If your computer has the option of default settings for hiding all the empty drives from the File Explorer, then you have a problem connecting the external hard drive. Usually this proves to be beneficial but in this case, it might be the core reason behind the issue.


To resolve the problem, hold down the Windows key as well as the S key, simultaneously. Then type in ‘Command Prompt’ in the blank field of the dialog box and hit the Enter key. A list of results expands on your screen, right click on the application and from the drop-down list select the option ‘Run as Administrator’. Execute the requisite command in the Command Prompt window. Now, go to the Run window and in the blank field type in ‘devmgmt.msc’. Hit the Enter key to go to the Device Manager. Check the ‘Show hidden devices’ option by clicking on the View button. Make the necessary changes and check if you are able to access the external hard drive.


If the external hard drive not showing up Windows 10 problem persists, then try reconnecting and restarting your computer once again.

In case you are still unable to view your respective hard drive in the File Explorer, then try to launch the File Explorer, by pressing Windows and E key. Click on the View tab and choose ‘Option’ to navigate to the ‘Change folder and search options’. Beside the ‘Hide empty drives’ label, uncheck the box and select the Apply button to save the changes. Finally, exit the window and restart your computer to resolve the problem.

Method 8: Uninstall And Reinstall Device Driver

If the problem is still lagging behind, then the final solution is to reinstall the driver. This will remove all the corrupted files associated with the driver and along with that will help you to download a clean copy of the device driver. After uninstalling the drivers, you need to scan for recent hardware changes. This window will automatically search all the modules for any hardware whose drivers are not yet installed. Once located, it will install the stock driver in order to ensure the new hard drive runs appropriately.

To continue with the process, you need to press down the Windows as well as the R key, simultaneously, in order to open the Run dialog box. Now, in the blank field, type in ‘devmgmt.msc’ and hit the Enter key. Once you are able to access the Device Manager, locate the category ‘Disk drives’ and click on it.

When a new tab expands, note the label designated to your device and right click on it. From the drop-down list select the ‘Uninstall device’ option. Again in the same device manager window, click on the ‘Universal Serial Bus controller’ to expand it. Locate your device, right click on it and from the drop-down menu select ‘Uninstall device’. Click the OK button to proceed and wait till the uninstalling completes.

Finally, right click on any empty space on the device manager, from the drop-down list and select ‘Scan for hardware changes’ option. You will note that the hardware gets automatically detected and the default drivers are securely installed. Restart your system to help it detect the recent changes and resolve the problem.


The steps mentioned earlier must be sufficient to help you mitigate the external hard drive not showing up Windows 10 issue. If you are planning to format the drive then you must remember that you won’t be able to avoid the loss of data. You can go for a data recovery software, which offers immediate help by preventing permanent data loss. Furthermore, if you are not a technically sound, then you must be careful to carry out the steps aforementioned to avoid any further damage. You can also ask for technical assistance who have an immense problem about the problem and can fix issues at the earliest. On top of all these, make sure you know the important information about buying a hard drive to get the best portable gadget in hand.


Nathaniel Villa
Nathaniel Villa