Best Fixes to External Hard Drive Not Showing up Issue

When you’re trying connecting an external hard drive to your Windows, it is possible to get the bad news that the drive will not be recognized or seen on computer. This is not a rare case because many people are complaining this problem on forums. It has ever happened to us and will happen to more people.

Are you also bothered by the problem external hard drive not showing up on Windows now? Have you found the useful solutions? Don’t worry if you haven’t. In this post, we will share several common reasons as well as corresponding solutions to help you get out of this matter.

Possible Reasons for External Hard Drive Not Showing up Issue

Reason1. External Hard Drive Is Not Initialized

This case is commonly seen on new external hard drive. When you using a brand new drive, remember that check it first to see it has been initialized. 

You can use Windows Disk Management to perform it. If it is shown unknown/not initialized, and a pop-up window informing you to initialize it, you need to initialize it before using. Then, create new partitions to make the drive appear on computer.

To make things easy, use MiniTool Partition Wizard to help you. Detailed steps are shown below:

  1. Open the software to get the main interface. Choose the external hard drive and create new partitions with the unallocated space.
  2. Customize the new partitions by specifying drive letter, partition label, file system, partition size and so on. 
  3. Click Apply to confirm the operations. 

Reason 2. External Hard Drive Is Hidden

If your external hard drive is hidden, it won’t appear in computer. In this case, you should unhide it with the tool that once hided the drive. You can tell the hard drive is hided or not easily. Just open Disk Management and right click the drive with no drive letter. Then, you can see the option Change Drive Letter and Path…” is greyed out. 

If you don’t remember which tool is used to hide the external hard drive, don’t worry. You can make use of this partition manager – Partition Wizard to unhide the drive. Please follow the steps to finish the work:

  1. On the main interface of this software, choose the hidden drive and select Unhide Partition from the panel.

  1. Select a drive letter for it and click OK.
  2. Hit Apply to make the change effective.

Reason 3. External Hard Drive Is Lack of Drive Letter

When there is no drive letter for partitions, the issue external hard drive not showing up on computer may happen. To solve it, Partition Wizard is also helpful. In the disk map, just choose the partition that has no drive letter and select Change Drive Letter feature to assign a drive letter for it.

Reason 4. Partitions Get Lost

The external hard drive not showing up case will take place when all partitions on the drive are gone because of some reasons, like partition table corruption and virus invasion. But it doesn’t mean you lost all the items in partitions. You can find them back with some specific tools. Partition Wizard is competent. 

  1. On the main interface, choose the external hard drive (needing recovering) and hit Partition Recovery from the tool bar.

  1. Choose scanning range (full disk and unallocated space) or specify the scanning range. Click Next to go on.
  2. Choose Quick Scan first. If it doesn’t work, go back to try Full Scan.
  3. After the scanning ends, all found partitions are listed. You can open them to check files in it. Then, choose the partitions you need to recover. Pay attention: the partitions not checked will be lost. 
  4. Hit Apply to confirm the changes.

Reason 5. Cable or Port Is Faulty

If the data cable or USB port is damaged, the connection between external hard drive and computer will fail. The BIOS will not detect the SATA cables so that the external hard drive will not be showing up on computer. 

To deal with the problem, you can try changing another cable or port to reconnect the external hard drive. If the problem still exists, the cable or port is not the cause. Then, try other solutions.

Reason 6. File system Is RAW or Unsupported

If file system of external hard drive becomes RAW or unsupported, you can only see the drive icon and the partition bar will not show up. 

You can fix the issue in two steps under this circumstance. Firstly, recover data from the external hard drive. Then, reformat it with FAT/NTFS file system. To complete this task, you can use the method introduced in case 4.

Reason 7. External Hard Drive Is Attacked by Virus

If the external hard drive in invaded by virus or malware, it may not be showing up on computer. To avoid this case, please install antivirus on your computer and run antivirus scan regularly to remove the malicious programs from computer. 

After that, go to check whether your Windows can recognize the external hard drive or not.  

Reason 8. External Hard Drive Is Corrupted

Your external hard drive may go corrupted if it still keeps not showing up on computer after you have tried all methods above. In this situation, you are suggested to send it to repair center for help.


Above all, these cases may happen not only to external hard drive, but also to local hard drive in computer. Therefore, if you are suffering this matter, take it easy and then choose one solution or some of them to fix external hard drive not showing up issue.

Please feel free to share with us if you have better ideas or other questions about this topic by leaving a comment in the section below.

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