External drives are popular devices used for backing up important data. Unfortunately, they are not immune to issues, such as ‘no hard drive detected’. In this article, you will learn how to fix your hard drive not showing up and how to prevent that and similar problems.

Why Use an External Hard Drive?

While some believe that hard drives will have died out by 2028, they are still in the game. Millions of hard drives are shipped annually around the world – despite the SSD market growing – and they can be a great fit for your storage purposes, especially if you store large amounts of data. And compared to SSDs, HDDs are more affordable, have a longer shelf life, and can withstand harsher weather conditions.

Related: SSD vs HDD: What’s the Difference and What to Choose?

Why Is Your External Hard Drive Not Showing Up in Windows 10/11?

Sometimes, external drives fail to appear when connected to a PC. Luckily, an issue like your HDD not showing up is easily fixable. To get rid of it, you need to start with figuring out the possible culprit for your computer not recognizing the external hard drive. This problem may stem from one of the following issues:

  • An occasional glitch makes your HDD undetectable.
  • The hard drive is not properly connected to your PC.
  • There is outdated driver software on your computer.
  • The hard drive is not initialized.
  • The hard drive needs formatting.
  • Your hard drive is disabled in BIOS.
  • Your PC has been infected with some sort of malware.
  • There is dust and dirt accumulation that prevents your PC from discovering the hard drive.

Below you will find easy-to-apply tips on how to make your external hard drive detectable. We recommend that you start with the first method and proceed downwards until your hard drive not detected problem gets eliminated.

Related: Factors That May Cause Hard Drive Failure

How to Fix the External HDD Not Showing Up Problem

Method 1. Reboot Your PC

This is the simplest yet one of the most effective solutions to both software and hardware issues by far. Chances are high, your new hard drive not showing up in Disk Management will be fixed by restarting your computer:

  1. Navigate to the taskbar.
  2. Click on the Start button.
  3. Then click the Power button.
  4. Select Restart from the options.

Reboot Your PC Windows 10

After rebooting your PC, check whether the external hard drive not detected problem is fixed. If it persists, try the following solution. 

Method 2. Make Sure There Is a Proper Connection between the Drive and Your PC

The no hard drive detected issue may be caused by a loose connection or a malfunctioning cable, so check your cables. If your cable is damaged, replace it with a new one. If it looks fine, unplug your hard drive, then plug it into the computer again and restart your PC. If your hard drive comes with two USB cables, it is essential that both are plugged into your PC.

Method 3. Try a Different USB Port

Your hard drive not showing up in Disk Management means there may be something wrong with the port it is plugged in. Try connecting your external hard drive into another USB port on your PC. If it’s plugged into a USB 2.0 port, try a USB 3.0 port instead. If you are using a USB hub, try attaching the drive to your PC directly.

Also Read: How to speed up USB 3.0 transfer speed in Windows 10?

Method 4. Connect Your Drive to Another Personal Computer

If the hard drive not detected issue persists, consider plugging the drive into a different PC. The point is, a compatibility issue might be at play. In such a case, the best option is to use an operating system different from yours. Your drive might be incompatible with your OS, in which case you could consider purchasing another HDD or even switching to an SSD.

Method 5. Update Your Drivers

Outdated drivers can cause multiple issues, including your hard drive not showing up in BIOS, File Manager, or Disk Management. To avoid problems, you need to know how to update your drivers. There are several ways to do that, including using a dedicated driver updating tool such as Auslogics Driver Updater to update all your drivers in one click:

  1. Download and install the Auslogics Driver Updater software on your Windows device.
  2. Once the tool is up and running, a scan of your system for driver issues will start automatically.
  3. Once Auslogics Driver Updater is done scanning your system, click on the green Update drivers button to fix detected driver problems in one click.

Update Your Drivers with Auslogics Driver Updater


Related: How to download drivers for unknown devices?

Method 6. Initialize Your New Disk

Your hard drive not showing up means you may need to utilize Windows 10/11 Disk Management in order to initialize it. Disk Management is a helpful Windows utility designed to assist you in managing hard drives connected to your PC and performing storage-related tasks, such as partitioning your drives. Here is what you should do to get your issue fixed:

  1. On the taskbar, navigate to the Search box.
  2. Type Disk Management into the box.
  3. When the Disk Management option appears, select Run as administrator.
  4. If you can’t run the Disk Management utility with administrator privileges, type Computer Management into the Search box instead, click Run as administrator, and then select Disk Management under Storage.
  5. Locate the disk you want to initialize and right-click it.
  6. If the disk is offline, right-click it and select Online.
  7. Select Initialize Disk.
  8. Check whether the right disk is selected.
  9. Accept the default partition style and click OK.
  10. Choose and hold the unallocated space on the drive.
  11. Select New Simple Volume.
  12. Click Next.
  13. Choose the size of the new volume and click Next again.
  14. Select the file system you want (usually NTFS).
  15. Click Next and Finish.

Initialize Your New Disk via Disk Management

After initializing your new disk, reboot the PC and check whether the volume is now detectable.

Method 7. Change the Assigned Drive Letter

When you attach a new drive to your computer, it is assigned a letter that helps you identify it. While it may not look very intuitive, changing the letter of an external hard drive not showing up in Windows 10/11 could fix the situation in many cases. To do that, you need to make use of the Disk Management utility:

  1. Open Disk Management (use the instructions from the previous fix to run the tool).
  2. Locate your drive in the new window and right-click it.
  3. Select Change Drive Letter and Paths from the menu.
  4. A new window will open. Select Change.
  5. Assign a new letter to your drive.
  6. Click OK.

 Change the Assigned Drive Letter

Hopefully, the new identification letter has made your hard drive not detected problem a thing of the past.

Method 8. Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

Your Windows system has a built-in troubleshooting tool called the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter. It is designed to fix issues related to your hardware and devices, including hard drive not detected in BIOS, Disk Management or File Manager. You can try and fix your external HDD not showing up problem using this utility:

  1. Hit the Win + R shortcut.
  2. Into the Windows Run dialog, enter msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic.
  3. When the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter opens, click Next.

Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

The tool will automatically check your PC for hardware issues. Based on the results of the scan, you will be able to decide what to do next.

Method 9. Get Rid of Malware

The HDD not showing up issue can be a sign of malware, so it makes sense to carefully scan your computer – especially taking into account the annual number of malware attacks. There are several effective ways to remove viruses and other malware, including running Windows Security. Another option is to use Auslogics Anti-Malware – a powerful tool that can eliminate all kinds of threats:

  1. Download the Auslogics Anti-Malware tool on your computer and run the app’s installation file.
  2. Once Auslogics Anti-Malware is up and running, expand the Scanners tab on the left-pane menu.
  3. Choose the type of scan you’d like to run. We advise that you opt for a deep scan to check your entire system. 
  4. As soon as the deep scan is over, make sure to quarantine or eliminate detected threats. 


 Scan your PC for malware with Auslogics Anti-Malware


Related: How to Prevent Malware: Lock Down Your Online Safety

Method 10. Enable Your Hard Drive in BIOS

If your hard drive is disabled in BIOS on your computer, your system will not be able to detect it. To rectify this HDD not showing up problem, you need to enter BIOS and enable the disk:

  1. Restart your PC and press F2 or Del until you are taken to BIOS. If this method doesn’t work, consult your PC’s manual to check how you can enter BIOS.
  2. Navigate to the Integrated Peripherals option using the arrow keys.
  3. Hit Enter on your keyboard to proceed.
  4. Select USB Controller and set it to Enabled.
  5. Save the changes and exit BIOS.

After taking the steps above, you need to restart your computer.

Related: How to Change Boot Order in BIOS in Windows 10/11

Method 11: Perform Physical Cleanup of Your PC

Your external hard drive not showing up in Windows 10 could be a sign that your PC is clogged with dust and dirt. They accumulate on devices over time, causing issues like overheating, poor performance and HDD problems, including the infamous hard drive not detected problem. We recommend you to perform a thorough clean of your computer to enjoy a dust-free and productive device.

Related: Expert Tips: How to Clean Laptop Mouse and Keyboard

Method 12: Perform a Hard Reset

If you keep running into the external HDD not showing up problem, hard resetting your PC may be your last resort:

  1. Start by turning off your laptop and detaching it from any external power source.
  2. Disconnect all external devices from your PC.
  3. Remove the battery. If your laptop has a non-removable battery, refer to the manufacturer’s website to find out how to get rid of residual electrical charge using a keyboard combination.
  4. Press the Power button.
  5. Hold the Power button for about 15 seconds.
  6. Insert the battery.
  7. Connect your computer to a power source.
  8. Turn your computer on.
  9. In the window that appears, select Start Windows Normally using your keyboard’s arrow keys.
  10. Press Enter to proceed.


A computer not recognizing an external hard drive is a persistent issue that could stem from connection or cable issues, occasional glitches, dust and dirt buildup, malware, old drivers, incorrect settings, or hardware problems. Make sure to check those factors when troubleshooting the external HDD not showing up issue on your PC.


Why Is My Hard Drive Not Showing Up?

A hard drive not showing up in Disk Management or BIOS could be a symptom of malfunctioning hardware, connection issues, outdated drivers, malware infection, incorrect drive initialization, or the drive being disabled in BIOS, among other things.

Why Is My External Hard Drive Not Showing Up in Windows 10?

A new hard drive not showing up after you connect it externally most likely means you need to troubleshoot a problem like incorrect drive initialization, poor or loose connection, out-of-date driver software, malware infection, dust and dirt buildup, or incompatible hardware, to name but a few.

How to Fix Internal Hard Drive Not Detected?

A problem like an internal HDD not showing up can be fixed by checking whether the drive is properly connected, re-initializing it, updating your drivers, checking your PC for malware, enabling the drive in BIOS, and running a thorough cleanup.

How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Detected?

If you’re facing a problem like your external HDD not showing up, try checking the drive’s cables, whether it is enabled in BIOS and initialized correctly, updating your drivers, checking for malware, checking for compatibility issues, and removing dirt and dust from your PC. You may need to try a different USB port, OS or device to troubleshoot the issue. In some cases, a hard reset may be in order.