What should I do if Windows won’t recognize my external hard drive?


I have purchased a Seagate hard drive and I plug it in to my pc and its not showing up under disk management, devices, computer etc. It has my commission work on there im a designer so its vitall. I have tried everything from putting it in all the usb slots, going to devices refreshing it there, under computer nothing shows up. Went in safe mode etc.

Is there any other way of fixing this?


“Recently, I bought a new WD GPT hard disk and installed it on my PC. However, when I opened my computer, there is the only disk I have before and I can’t find the new one. I reinstalled the new disk for several times but is still can’t see it on my computer. What’s the matter about it?”

As it shows above, many people have now or ever encountered such problem. When they plug the external hard drive in computer, they cannot see it, in Computer/OS, in Disk Management/Devices or in BIOS. Many tried several times with nothing. What should they do to solve fix this matter and regain the external hard drive for use?

The most initial check

If the external hard drive is connected to computer through USB port, you should first check whether the USB port is at good condition or not by plugging in another fine device or inserting the external disk into another healthy pc.

Not for everyone but still some less careful users. If the drive is connected to computer through motherboard port (such drive actually called internal hard drive), check the connect cables (IDE or SATA). Are they attached or well attached to the appropriate port on the motherboard? Do you power up the pc? If you are not sure about that, try to reconnect them all!

Partition and format the external hard drive

If your hard disk is brand new or you have not partitioned it before, it may only have one unformatted partition or even no partition. Therefore, it may not be seen in your Computer/OS. Thus, you have to partition and format your disk first.

There are generally two ways to partition your drive. If you can see the external hd in Disk Management, you can do it with Disk Management:

1.Click Start, Control Panel and select Administrative Tools in the pop out window.

2.Double click Computer Management in the new window.

3.When another new window opens, navigate down the tree directory in the left, find Disk Management and click on it.

4.Then, you can see your disks on the bottom. Right click an unallocated disk space on the external disk and select Create Volume, or Right click an existing partition and select Format Volume.


It will format the disk when you partition it. 

You can go to Computer Management directly by right click Computer and choose Manage. Then go with    step4 above.

If Windows Disk Management can’t partition your external drive or you can’t even see it in Disk Management, you can also partition and format your external new hd using a third party software with ease.

Assign a drive letter to your external hard disk

If there isn’t any problem with the cable connection and the drive is partitioned and formatted, you might just have to assign a drive letter to it. Similarly, two methods are available to accomplish this.

Assign external disk a drive letter with Disk Management:

1.Go to Disk Management following the steps above.

2.Find the drive which shows formatted but without a drive letter, right click it and select Change Drive Letter.

3.Choose a letter from the options.

If you failed with Disk Management, Assign a drive letter to the unseen drive with a program.

Check the disk in BIOS

If you cannot see the drive in BIOS, check the settings in BIOS. When powering up or booting your pc, it starts running a tiny little program and that is BIOS. Then, press some key for setup; maybe Delete, Esc, F2, F10 or something else (You can refer to your motherboard instruction). BIOS requires the drive controller be enabled or even the particular port be enabled. If they are not enabled, enable them!

Until now, all I can think about to solve the problem are listed. But there is still something you should bear in mind. If your external hard drive is GPT style, only the newer versions of Windows (7 and 8, perhaps Vista) can recognize it; XP or older versions not. If your system is XP or older versions, you need to convert the disk from GPT to MBR.

Generally, if you can’t see your external hard drive in your pc or Windows, firstly, you should go to Disk Management to see whether the disk is there or not. If it is, you may assign a drive letter to it or partition it to make it seen in OS. If not, go to check the BIOS. If all those do not solve your problem, thus you can post your questions on this forum in details.

Note: If a disk can’t be seen in BIOS, it can’t be seen in Disk Management either.

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