How To Fix External Hard Drive Not Recognized

From the IBM Model 350 Disk File received by air in 1956 to the SSD of Samsung, it took more than five decades in the evolution of hard disk drives. 5MB, this was the little amount of data IBM could store in its bulky hard drive. 16TB, this is what you can store in your small Samsung 16TB SSD. In the last 50 odd years, hard disk drives have gone through numerous changes in term of physical size, storage capacity, price and performance.

50 disks each of 24 inch were fitted inside the cabinet of the hulky hard disk drive of IBM. It took more than two decades for hard disk drive to achieve the capacity of 2.52 GB. Weighing 250kg, the size of IBM 3380 was that of a refrigerator. The size of Samsung SSD is just 2.5 inches. Before 90s, drives were not fitted inside the computer. Back in 90s, 40 MB hard drives were commonly fitted inside personal computers. HDDs that could stock up more than 100MBs were also available but were pretty expensive. Now, we are having Samsung SSD of 16TB. Today, we can buy HDDs with great storage at very affordable prices.

To prevail over the limited storage of internal HDD, manufacturers designed portable external drives for:

  1. Extending Storage
  2. Backup
  3. Data transfer

Simply, plug in an external USB drive and store huge of data in GBs or TBs. USB external disk drives are designed to get connected with a computer automatically. However, due to some compatibility or hardware-software problems, external hard drive is not recognized on windows and Mac. In this article, we provide you with a step-by-step guide with screenshots to fix the issue when an external drive is not recognized on windows and Mac OS.

Part 1 How to Fix External Hard Drive not recognized on Windows

In windows, this problem can be because of partition issues, dead USB ports, driver windows conflicts, file system, dead or outdated drivers. Here are the steps you can follow to fix this issue in case of USB flash or external hard drives:

Step 1You might be plugging in the USB cable in a dead USB port. Unplug your external hard drive and plug in it in some other USB port. Now, see if it is present there in the My Computer window. If not, follow the step 2.

fix Hard Drive Not Recognized on Windows step 1

Step 2Now, look for the external drive in the Disk Management Window. For this, click start and then click run or press windows key + r, press enter after typing diskmgmt.msc in the run dialog. This will open the Disk Management Window. Now, look for the external disk in this window. In this window, you can find your drive even if it is not recognized because of no partition. If you cannot find the drive in the Disk Management Window then you can go for step four.

fix Hard Drive Not Recognized on Windows step 2

Step 3If it is not recognized by plugging in some other port or it is not visible in the Disk Management Window, then there might be some issue with the external drive. Check it in some other computer. Now, follow step 1 to step 3 in that computer in case the external drive is not recognized. If the problem exists with other computer also then something is wrong with the drive, otherwise follow step 5:

fix Hard Drive Not Recognized on Windows step 3

Step 4If it is working in some other system but not in yours, Windows is having some problem with the drivers. To diagnose a driver problem, open the run dialog by pressing Windows + r and type "devmgmt.msc"?. Now press enter. Expand Disk Drives and look for a device having yellow exclamation mark. This yellow exclamation mark indicates a problematic driver. Now, right click on that device and read the error message after selecting properties. This issue can resolved in following two ways:

  1. Click on update driver button for installing updated drivers.
  2. Uninstall the driver and restart your computer. After restarting, the Windows will automatically reinstall and reconfigure the driver.

Now, plug in the external drive again or follow the step 6 if the drive is still not recognized.

fix Hard Drive Not Recognized on Windows step 4

Step 5Problem in partitioning and formatting can also be a cause of this issue. Partitioning and file system issues can be fixed by using Windows Disk Management tools. To create a new partition, right click inside the unallocated space and select New Simple Volume. You can create a new partition by following onscreen instructions. Sometimes, your drive is formatted with the ext4 file system of Linux, NTFS file system, HFS Plus file system or FAT32 file system which is not recognised by your Windows. Reformatting of the drive can resolve this issue. For this, right click on the partition, select format and then select the file system. Here, it is important to know that all files in drive will be deleted. Therefore, copy your files in some other system before proceeding.

fix Hard Drive Not Recognized on Windows step 5

Part 2 How to Fix External Hard Drive not recognized on Mac

Like Windows, Mac also detects an external drive automatically. If it doesn't, follow these steps:

Step 1 First of all, look for the external hard drive in the finder window. For this, click on file and then click New Finder Window. Now, look for the drive below remote disk.

Step 2 If the external drive is not there, make sure that USB cable is properly plugged in the external hard drive and the port.

Step 3 Sometimes, the drive is connected but not mounted. To mount a drive, open Disk Utility and look for the drive in the list. If it is there, check below it. Now click on mounting button to mount it. Open a finder window to see if the drive is mounted or not.

fix Hard Drive Not Recognized on MAC step 3

Step 4If you still cannot find it in the finder, it might not be getting enough power. Single USB ports can provide only 5 V. In that case, make use of USB cable having one USB connection for the external HD and two for Mac. This will supply the power required by the external hard drive.

These steps for fixing an external hard drive not recognized on windows and Mac are suitable for external hard drives of all capacities and manufacturers. However, if still the issue is not resolved, you can avail professional help.

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Note: Recover Lost Mac Data under Mac OS X 10.13 (High Sierra)

Due to macOS High Sierra (macOS 10.13) requirement, Mac users are not allowed an access to the built-in system drive from any apps. Therefore, if you need to restore lost data from the system disk under macOS 10.13, please "disable System Integrity Protection" first.

How to disable "System Integrity protection"? Please follow the steps below.

Step 1Reboot the Mac and hold down "Command + R" keys simultaneously after you hear the startup chime, this will boot OS X into Recovery Mode.

Step 2When the "OS X Utilities" screen appears, pull down the "Utilities" menu at the top of the screen instead, and choose "Terminal".

Step 3In the "Terminal" window, type in "csrutil disable" and press "Enter" then restart your Mac.

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