External hard drives are heaven sent. Even with cloud technology, physical devices, like external hard drives, are still great backup and storage options.
Backing up your data is important, and while storing information on the cloud has become second nature to most, there’s still nothing like having everything saved on a physical device.
External hard drives are always very easy to use.
You plug them in, they appear on your computer, and you can drag files right on over.
Unfortunately, no external drive is infallible. No matter what brand, an external hard drive is bound to fail.
If your drive isn’t appearing when you plug it in, you might have a problem. Here are a few troubleshooting steps you can take to remedy the situation.
The first tip is pretty simple. You just have to make sure that your external hard drive is plugged in and turned on.
While some drives can draw enough power from your computer’s USB port, others—especially larger drives not intended to be portable—may require wall power to spin up.
If your drive came with an AC power adapter but you haven’t plugged it in, try hooking it up (and pressing the power button, if there is one). If it came with two USB plugs, make sure they’re both plugged into your PC. With any luck, your drive will appear normally once it gets the juice it needs.
The second troubleshooting tip is probably what you usually do when your computer can’t seem to detect your external hard drive.
If the drive still isn’t working, unplug it and try a different USB port. It’s possible the port in question is failing, or just being finicky with your specific drive. If it’s plugged into a USB 3.0 port, try a USB 2.0 port. If it’s plugged into a USB hub, try plugging it directly into the PC instead. You might also try it in another computer.
The third troubleshooting tip requires you to do some updating in your computer.
Occasionally, Windows runs into driver issues that will render a device unrecognizable. Open the Start menu, type “Device Manager,” and press Enter when the option appears. Expand the Disk Drives menu and the Universal Serial Bus menu to see if your external drive appears in either set.
If you see an entry that looks like your drive with a yellow exclamation mark, right-click on the device and choose Properties—you may find an error code you can Google. You can also head to the Driver tab and try updating or uninstalling the driver and rebooting your computer.
Usually, hard drives just use Windows’ built-in USB and hard disk drivers, so this isn’t likely to fix a temperamental drive, but it’s worth a shot. (You can also try downloading drivers from the drive manufacturer’s website, but again, that’s probably a long shot.)
The fourth troubleshooting tip requires you to dig deeper into your computer.
If your drive is powered on but still isn’t appearing in File Explorer, it’s time to do some digging. Open the Start menu and type “disk management,” and press Enter when the Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions option appears. Once Disk Management loads, scroll down to see if your disk appears in the list. If it does, make sure it’s online and formatted. If it’s offline, right-click the disk’s name (e.g. “Disk 2”) and choose Online.
If the disk hasn’t been formatted (it’ll say “Unallocated” under a black bar), right-click it and choose New Simple Volume. This will also solve the problem if the drive is formatted for another operating system, as described above. Be warned that formatting it will erase any data on the drive, so only continue if you’re sure you don’t need anything from it.
Finally, if your drive is online and formatted, but doesn’t show a drive letter next to its name, right-click the volume and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths to add a drive letter. If you’re lucky, one of these simple steps should get your new drive up and running.
There are actually 2 more troubleshooting tips but they’re too technical to consider. If you’re not an expert, you might even end up damaging your external drive.
If you’re not comfortable with these troubleshooting tips, it’s okay. You’ll probably be more comfortable with a hard drive recovery service company that specializes in https://www.harddriverecovery.org/hard-drive-recovery-service.html.