In today’s digital age, external hard drives play a crucial role in data storage and backup. However, it can be frustrating when your external hard drive is connected but not showing up on your PC. In this article, we will explore the possible causes and solutions to this common issue.
Check connectivity and power source
If your External Hard Drive is connected but not showing up on your PC, there are a few things you can check.
Firstly, ensure that it’s connected to a power source and turned on. If it’s a USB-powered drive, try a different USB port on your computer.
If it’s still not showing up, check your Device Manager (on Windows) or Disk Utility (on Mac) to see if the drive is detected but not partitioned. If it’s not detected at all, try a different cable or connect the drive to a different computer.
If you’ve tried all of these steps and your drive is still not showing up, it’s possible that there’s a hardware issue with the drive. You may need to seek assistance with data recovery or contact the manufacturer (such as Western Digital for a WD Elements drive).
Restart your computer
If your external hard drive is connected but not showing up on your PC, try restarting your computer. This simple step can often solve the issue by refreshing your system and detecting the drive. If restarting doesn’t work, you can try checking Device Manager or Disk Management to see if your drive is detected but not partitioned correctly. If it’s a Mac, you can use Disk Utility to check for any errors or issues with the drive. If your drive is still not showing up, consider data recovery services or contacting the manufacturer for support. Keep in mind that some WD Elements and Western Digital drives may require additional drivers to work properly.
Test with a different cable, port, or device
- Try a different cable: Sometimes the issue can be as simple as a faulty cable. Try using a different USB cable to connect your external hard drive to your PC.
- Use a different port: The USB port you are using may not be functioning properly. Try plugging the cable into a different USB port on your computer.
- Check the power source: Some external hard drives require an external power source. Make sure your hard drive is properly connected to the power source and turned on.
- Update drivers: Outdated or missing drivers can cause issues with your external hard drive. Check to see if there are any available updates for your drivers and install them.
- Connect to a different device: If your external hard drive is not showing up on your PC, try connecting it to a different device such as a laptop or tablet to see if it’s a problem with your computer.
- Check disk management: Your external hard drive may be recognized by your computer but not assigned a drive letter. Check your disk management settings to see if it’s listed there.
- Run a virus scan: Sometimes viruses can affect the functionality of your external hard drive. Run a full virus scan on your PC to make sure your system is clean.
drives = 
for drive in range(ord('A'), ord('Z')+1):
drive_name = chr(drive) + ':/'
hard_drives = check_hard_drive()
if len(hard_drives) == 0:
print("No hard drives detected.")
print("Detected hard drives:")
for drive in hard_drives:
if __name__ == '__main__':
This code uses the `os` module to check for the existence of drives from `A:` to `Z:`. If a drive is detected, it is added to the `drives` list and returned. In the `main` function, the `check_hard_drive` function is called, and if any drives are detected, they are printed to the console.
This tool could be helpful in identifying whether a hard drive is connected and detected by the computer, but not showing up in the file explorer or disk management. However, it cannot diagnose or fix any hardware or software issues that may be causing the problem.
If your external hard drive is connected but not showing up on your PC, it could be due to outdated or missing drivers. To update the drivers:
1. Press the Windows key + X and select Device Manager.
2. Look for the external hard drive under the Disk Drives section.
3. Right-click on the drive and select Update driver.
4. Choose Search automatically for updated driver software.
5. Wait for the system to search for and install the latest drivers.
If this does not work, download the drivers from the manufacturer’s website and install them manually.
It’s also worth checking the partition and formatting of the hard drive to ensure it’s compatible with your PC. If you’re using a Mac, the process may differ slightly. Check for updates in the Mac OS settings and make sure the external hard drive is detected on your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Don’t panic if your files are not detected, as they may still be recoverable.
Format the drive in Disk Management
If your external hard drive is connected to your PC but not showing up, you may need to format the drive. Disk Management is a built-in Windows utility that can help you do this. Here are the steps:
1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
2. Type “diskmgmt.msc” and hit Enter.
3. Locate your external hard drive in the list of disks.
4. Right-click on the drive and select “Format”.
5. Choose the file system you want to use (such as NTFS or exFAT).
6. Give the drive a name if you want.
7. Click “OK” to start the formatting process.
8. Wait for the process to complete.
Once formatting is complete, you should be able to see your external hard drive in File Explorer. If you’re using a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, you can also format the drive using Disk Utility on Mac OS. Just make sure to select the appropriate partition scheme if you plan on using the drive on both Mac and Windows systems.
Clean the disk and start fresh
To fix the issue of your external hard drive not showing up on your PC, you can try cleaning the disk and starting fresh. First, unplug the hard drive from your computer and then plug it back in to ensure a proper connection. Next, open Disk Management by searching for it in your start menu. Locate your external hard drive and right-click on it. Select “Delete Volume” and confirm the action. Then, right-click on the unallocated space and select “New Simple Volume”. Follow the prompts to create a new volume and assign a drive letter. Finally, format the drive to make it usable again. Keep in mind that formatting will erase all files, so make sure to back up important data before proceeding.
Test the bare drive
|1||Connect the external hard drive to another computer or laptop.|
|2||If the drive is detected on the other computer, then the problem may be with the USB port or cable on the original PC.|
|3||If the drive is still not detected, remove it from the external casing and connect it directly to the computer’s motherboard using a SATA cable.|
|4||If the drive is detected when connected directly to the motherboard, the problem may be with the external casing or power supply.|
|5||If the drive is still not detected, it may be a hardware issue with the drive itself.|
|6||In this case, it may be necessary to replace the drive or seek professional data recovery services.|
Try another external hard drive
- Check the USB cable – Sometimes the USB cable may be faulty or not compatible with your computer.
- Connect to another USB port – There may be an issue with the USB port, try connecting the external hard drive to another USB port on your PC.
- Restart your computer – Restarting your computer may help in detecting the external hard drive.
- Update drivers – Outdated drivers may cause issues in detecting the external hard drive, update the drivers to the latest version.
- Check Disk Management – The external hard drive may not appear in My Computer but it may appear in Disk Management, check there.
- Try on another computer – Test the external hard drive on another computer to determine if it is a computer-specific issue.
- Try another external hard drive – If the above steps do not work, try using another external hard drive.
Troubleshoot through Device Manager
If your external hard drive is connected but not showing up on your PC, you can troubleshoot it through Device Manager.
1. Press the Windows key + X and select Device Manager from the list.
2. Expand the Disk drives section and locate your external hard drive.
3. Right-click on the device and select Properties.
4. Check the Device status and see if there are any error messages.
5. If there are errors, click on the Driver tab and select Update Driver.
6. If the driver is up to date, try uninstalling the device and restarting your PC.
7. Once your computer has restarted, plug in your external hard drive again and see if it appears.
If your external hard drive still doesn’t show up, it may be a hardware issue and you should consider contacting the manufacturer for further assistance.
Check for conflicts with other devices
If your external hard drive is not showing up on your PC, it may be due to conflicts with other devices.
To check for conflicts:
1. Right-click on the Start button and select Device Manager.
2. Look for any yellow exclamation marks next to any devices.
3. If you see any, right-click on the device and select Uninstall.
4. Disconnect any devices that you have uninstalled.
5. Reboot your computer.
6. Reconnect your external hard drive and see if it shows up on your PC.
If your external hard drive still does not show up, there may be other issues at play. Consider checking your connections, updating your drivers, and checking for any hardware issues with your external hard drive.
Use data recovery software
- Choose a data recovery software: There are many data recovery software available online such as EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, Recuva, Stellar Data Recovery, etc. Choose the one that suits your needs and download it from a reliable source.
- Connect the external hard drive: Connect the external hard drive to the PC or laptop where the data recovery software is installed.
- Open the data recovery software: Open the installed data recovery software on your PC or laptop.
- Select the external hard drive: Select the external hard drive that is not showing up on the PC from the list of drives displayed on the software.
- Run the scan: Run the scan or search for lost files option on the software.
- Preview the recoverable files: Preview the recoverable files from the scan result. You can filter the result by file type, file size, etc.
- Select the files to recover: Select the files that you want to recover from the scan result.
- Choose the destination: Choose the destination folder where you want to save the recovered files. Make sure to save the files on a different drive or location than the external hard drive.
- Recover the files: Click on the recover button to start the recovery process. Wait for the process to complete.
- Check the recovered files: Check the recovered files in the destination folder to make sure that they are recovered successfully.