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7 Ways to Fix "Computer not Recognizing External Hard Drive" Error


Summary:

This article introduces effective ways to fix "computer not recognizing external hard drive" error. Also, you can apply reliable Bitwar Data Recovery to restore data.
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Sometimes, when you connect your external hard drive to a Windows PC with a USB port, you may find the external hard drive is not recognized. There are many reasons taht may cause the "external hard drive not recognized" issue or "WD external hard drive not recognized". You can find multiple solutions in this page to solve this issue when you meet the problem one day.
computer not recognizing external hard drive

Causes of "external hard drive not recognized" issue

Computer not recognizing external hard drive error/issue can be caused by the following situations:
 
      1. USB driver has become unstable, outdated or corrupt
      2. USB ports become faulty, damaged or broken
      3. Partition issues on your external USB device
      4. USB device is malfunctioned or damaged
      5. The wrong file system in an external drive
      6. Virus infected PC
 
You can follow below-explained solutions to resolve "computer not recognizing external hard drive" problem.

Solutions to Fix the Error

Solution 1: Disconnect the computer from the power supply

Sometimes, a very simple trick can fix not detected USB device problem. Follow below steps to apply this trick.
 
       1. Turn off your computer by using Windows Shut Down option
       2. Disconnect the power cable from your computer and wait for a few minutes
       3. Reconnect the power cable and Start your computer.

Solution 2: Making Windows to recognize the drive

If current USB port doesn't detect the drive then, try to connect it to another USB port. Unplug the drive from your USB port and try to plug it into another USB port on your computer. If it works in the new USB port, you just need to change the external hard drive to a port that can be used normally. If no USB port recognizes the device, try another solution.

Solution 3: Update USB device driver

If all USB ports are working fine then you need to check for latest USB driver installed on the computer. Because sometimes old drivers can prevent the drive to connect to the PC and shows device malfunctioned message.
  1. Press Windows + R key together and then, type devmgmt.msc in the run dialogue box and click on OK.
  2. Expand disk drivers and right click on the connected external USB drive.
  3. Click on properties and select Driver tab.
  4. Click on Update Driver Software and follow the further instruction to update driver.

Solution 4: Change the drive letter 

Check whether you can see your external USB Drive in Disk Management, then rename or change the drive letter. To do this, follow the below steps.
 
  1. Right-click on This PC or My Computer and click on Manage.
  2. Select Disk Management.
  3. Right-click on the connected external drive and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  4. Click Add, and then assign a new drive letter from the drop-down list and click OK.

Solution 5: Turn on USB Root Hub

     1. Click Start > Type: devmgmt.msc and hit Enter.
     2. Open Device Manager > Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers.
     3. Right-click USB Root Hub > Properties > Power Management > uncheck Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.
     4. Repeat this process for each USB Root Hub in the list and reboot to try again.
 
Note: Repeat this process for all available USB Root Hubs. Save changes for each process and then restart your PC. If USB device not recognized problem still exits, go back to the power management tab for each one and check the box again.

Solution 6: Antivirus with a virus cleaner software

If it is a virus that caused your external hard drive to be undetectable or unrecognized, you can try a virus cleaner software to wipe out and remove all viruses from your PC and hard drive. Then format the external hard drive to make it readable again.

Solution 7: Formating the external hard drive

Sometimes you need to reformat the external hard drive to use. It's recommended that you reformat or format this drive to make sure it's secure for storing new data again.

Restore Data from External Hard Drive

It is possible to lose your important data from the external hard drive when you fix the computer not recognizing external hard drive error or WD external hard drive not recognized error. So the best way is restore all data from external hard drive first.

How to restore data from the unrecognizing external hard drive?

To efficiently restore data from external hard drive which couldn't be detected, you can try Bitwar Data Recovery software. It is specially designed to restore your deleted/formatted/RAW files from Windows PC, laptop, hard drive, external hard drive, SSD, memory card, USB drive, SD card, digital camera, multimedia player and other storage devices for only 4 simple steps. 
 

Steps to recover data with Bitwar Data Recovery

Make sure the questioned external hard drive is connecting on your computer. Then free download and install Bitwar Data Recovery Software on your PC by clicking the download icon below.

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Step 1. Launch Bitwar Data Recovery software and select the "External Hard Drive" button, even its type is displayed as "RAW", and then click "Next". If you can't find the external hard drive appearing in this step, you can click "deep scan" on the program below to scan the disk first.
WD external hard drive not recognized
 
Step 2: Select the Scan Mode and click "Next". There are three modes to choose from, you can select "Quick Scan" mode to scan first.

If you cannot find files on this mode, try Deep Scan. The deep scan will search every sector of the disk to find all existing files. But you may need to wait for a longer time if the file is a little big.
WD external hard drive not recognized
 
Step 3: After the scan, you can filter the scanned out files you want and double-click them to preview to make a selection. After determined, click the "Recover" button to save them to the hard drive or other external device that can be accessed.
WD external hard drive not recognized
 
After following the above steps, most files on external hard drive can be recovered back. Then you can fix the "computer not recognizing external hard drive" Error by applying above solutions without worrying about any data loss.

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