9 Best Ways to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up in Windows 11

Most computer manufacturers offer up to TB of internal storage, but photographers and content creators rely on external hard drives to store and share large files. The problem occurs when a connected external hard drive does not appear on your Windows 11 PC. If this happens often, there are some best ways to solve this problem.

You cannot access your hard drive files when it fails to connect to your computer in the first place. Instead of using another computer or finding inconvenient ways to access your files, use the steps below to troubleshoot external hard drive not showing up in Windows 11.

1. Check the cable and USB connection.

It is a good idea to use the supplied cable to connect your external hard drive to the PC. You can avoid using a cable from another company’s hard drive. Also, check the cable closely. If you notice any physical damage to a stock, get a new cable.

The external hard drive is no longer visible in the Windows File Explorer menu because of a poor connection. The hard drive should be removed and reconnected properly. Some external hard drives have a separate power switch. Make sure to turn on the device after connecting it to the PC.

2. Use another USB Port.

Most Windows PCs come with multiple USB-A ports to use. If a particular USB port is faulty or the hard drive is not detected. Unplug the device and plug it into another port.

3. Run the Devices and Hardware troubleshooter.

Windows packs a special troubleshooting tool to fix hardware connections. Here’s how you can use and fix an external hard drive not showing up in Windows 11.

Step 1: Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog box.

Step 2: hit msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic Hit Enter in Run Box.

Step 3: Click Next in the dialog box.

solve the problem find a solution Solve it.

4. Use the Disk Management Tool.

If you don’t see the connected drive in the File Explorer menu. Use the Disk Management tool in Windows. You can check all the drives on your computer; size review; You can check partitions and check other statistics. You can use the Disk Management tool to activate your hard drive. Let me show you how.

Step 1: Click the Windows button and search for Disk Management.

Step 2: Press Enter to open the tool. Connect your external hard drive to your PC.

Step 3: If your hard drive is offline, it won’t show up on the computer.

Step 4: Right-click on your hard drive name and select Online from the context menu.

The system will open the hard drive contents in a new File Explorer window.

5. Use Command Prompt.

You can use Command Prompt to troubleshoot problems with your drives. This command can help you troubleshoot connectivity issues with an external hard drive.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and type. cmd Find it in Windows Search.

Step 2: Select ‘Run as administrator’.

Step 3: hit chkdsk /f X: (Replace X with the corresponding drive letter) and hit Enter.

Open the command Let the system fix the drive problems and try again.

6. Open Device from Device Manager.

If the system disables your external hard drive. You won’t find the same in the File Explorer menu. Here’s how you can open it using Device Manager.

Step 1: Right-click on the Windows key to open Device Manager.

Step 2: Expand Disk drive and find your hard drive in the list.

Step 3: Right-click on it and select Enable Device from the context menu.

7. Reinstall Drivers.

If it still doesn’t appear in Windows 11, it’s time to reinstall the hard drive drivers.

Step 1: Open the Device Manager menu (refer to the steps above).

Step 2: Find your hard drive in the Disk drives list and right-click on it.

Step 3: Select Update Driver from the context menu.

Step 4: Select ‘Search for drivers automatically’.

Device Manager will start searching your computer for the latest drivers. If you don’t see it, go back to the same menu.

Step 5: Select Uninstall Device from the same menu and confirm your decision.

Restart your computer and reconnect your external hard drive. This should trigger the installation of the new driver on your PC.

8. Enable automatic installation.

Whenever a new external hard drive is connected to a Windows 11 PC, It assigns a letter to the device and maps the location of the drive. The process is called auto mounting. Using the MountVol tool, you can enable automatic mounting of drives (specifically, external ones) to fix external hard drives that don’t appear in Windows 11.

Step 1: Open Command Prompt as Administrator (check above steps).

Step 2: Run the following command.

mountvol /E

This will enable the Auto Mount feature. By using the ‘mountvol /R’ command, you can remove all previously mounted drives.

Restart your PC and try connecting the external hard drive again.

9. Update the firmware.

Popular hard drive OEMs like Western Digital offer special software to install the latest drivers and ensure compatibility with the latest software like Windows 11. You can go to the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) website and download the relevant firmware to connect the hard drives without any problem.

Use your external hard drive.

If none of the tricks work, It’s time to format your external hard drive and wipe all data to start from scratch. Alternatively, you can rent another HDD to back up your existing data on your computer. You will need to take care of the external hard drive when transporting it. You’ll need to develop the habit of not bending the supplied USB cable and safely ejecting the drive using the Windows Eject function.

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