How to Recover Files from External Hard Drive Not Detected

You’ll find that it’s very convenient to have most of your files stored on an external hard drive.

Not only does it prevent your computer’s storage from being cluttered, but because there are fewer files to load, it can greatly improve your computer’s performance.

However, one issue that external hard drive users experience is that, for whatever reason, the external hard drive isn’t detected by the computer.

Of course, this can be very frustrating (especially if you have a lot of important files stored on the hard drive), so in this article, we’ll show you how to recover files from an external hard drive that is not detected.

By the way, here is the best hard drive for gaming for you.

Part 1. How to Recover Files from External Hard Drive Not Detected Successfully Using Recoverit

So, what can you do if you’re struggling to recover files from your external hard drive and you keep getting the “external hard drive not detected” error?

There are plenty of solutions to this problem. While a few built-in Windows features have shown to be effective at times, for optimal results, you should consider using Recoverit – External Hard Disk Data Recovery.

By using a data recovery tool like Wondershare, you can easily recover any of the data that is stored on your external hard drive, and you get access to all of the features below (and many more!).

  • Recover any deleted files, photos, audio files, important emails, and videos effectively and without any data being lost.
  • Capable of recovering data from any storage device, including recovering data from IDE hard drives, NTFS hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, and even from your recycling bin.
  • Recover data regardless of how it was lost. From data corruption, faulty storage devices, accidentally deleting it, or your computer crashing – use Wondershare to recover any sort of data.
  • Easily restore otherwise inaccessible data (e.g., system files, files that are stored on a RAW hard drive partition, etc.).
  • Recover deleted files that you had previously deleted intentionally which were important or that you need access to.

As you can see, there are plenty of recovery features supported by Recoverit and below.

We are going to be walking you through the steps that you need to follow to recover data from an external hard drive.

#1 – First, download and install Recoverit onto your computer and launch the program to begin.

Download Recoverit

#2 – Once it has loaded, select “External Devices Recovery” to recover data from the external hard drive.


#3 – Your computer will now be scanned to detect any connected storage devices. Select the external hard drive from the list of devices that are shown and then on “Start” to begin.

#4 – A quick scan will be conducted on the external hard drive, and once it’s complete, you’ll be shown all of the data which is stored on it.

Note: if you can’t find what you’re looking for, click on “All Around Recovery” and check there.

#5 – Take a few minutes to select the data files that you want to recover.

#6 – Lastly, click on the “Recover” button, select somewhere to have the files recovered to, and you’ll be able to access them easily.

How to Recover Files from External Hard Drive Not Detected with Recoverit

After you have learned how to recover files from an external hard drive not detected using Recoverit, you can take a copy of the data which you have stored on the hard drive and attempt to fix it.

This is the best approach: if you try to fix the hard drive before taking a data backup, you risk the data corrupting or being wiped.

Try Recoverit

Part 2. Fixing External Hard Drive with Windows

Once your files are safe, and you’re sure that you have recovered all of the important files from your external hard drive, you can look into fixing it on your own.

There are a few different ways to go about doing this – some people choose to contact a professional computer repair store while others head to the internet in search of fixes – and for this first fix, we’re going to show you how you can use built-in Windows’ features to fix the problem.

#1 – Connect your external hard drive to your computer using the appropriate USB cable.

#2 – If the external hard drive has a power switch, turn it on now.

#3 – Next, you must open the “Disk Management” menu. You can either enter “Disk Management” into the search bar or open up “Run”, type in “diskmgmt.msc”, and click “OK”.

#4 – All connected storage devices will be shown in this window. Determine which device is your external hard drive, right-click on it, and select “Format.”

#5 – Follow the formatting steps which will be shown on-screen now, and after a few minutes, your storage device should be usable again.

Don’t worry – if you don’t yield the successful results that you hoped for with this method, then there is another solution that you can try instead.

With the following method, if the issue is with the USB connection, then this will hopefully fix it instead.

#1 – Connect the external hard drive using the USB cable that you received with it.

#2 – In the search bar, type “Device Manager” or, if this doesn’t work, open “Run” and enter “devmgmt.msc”.

#3 – This Windows feature will show you all of the devices that are connected to the computer as well as some information regarding the drivers that are installed alongside them. Locate the external hard drive.

Note: any storage devices which are connected to your computer will be listed under the “Disk drives” section, so look there first.

#4 – After locating the hard drive, right-click on it and select either “Update Driver” or “Uninstall Driver.”

Note: it’s worth clicking on “Update Driver” before you uninstall it, as there may have been a recent driver that fixes the problem you’re experiencing.

#5 – Once the driver has been uninstalled, simply right-click on the hard drive one more time and click on “Install Driver” this time.

#6 – The driver will now reinstall itself, and as a result, if there have been any driver issues, they will now be resolved.

If the issue is, in fact, with the USB connection, the problem is either with the driver software, the USB port, or the cable that you’re using to connect the external hard drive to your computer.

Faulty cable? Contact the manufacturer – they’ll either send you a new one for free or charge you a very low price to send it to you.

On the other hand, if the problem is as simple as a driver issue, then by following the steps that we have detailed above, you can fix the external hard drive, and if you didn’t already wipe your data, all of your files would be intact.

Part 3. Tips on How to Recover Files from External Hard Drive Not Detected

Before we wrap up this article, we are going to discuss some of the best tips that you should take into consideration when you’re learning how to recover files from an external hard drive not detected.

  • Frequently run a hard drive check to ensure that there are no corrupt partitions, bad sectors, or any viruses that could wreak havoc on your data. There are a lot of popular programs that can automatically do this for you.
  • Make sure that you insert the USB cable into your computer carefully and without pushing it in with too much pressure. Not only can this damage the cable, but it could also result in your computer’s USB port being damaged and unusable (which may be why the external hard drive doesn’t work).
  • Always remove your external hard drive whenever it is not in use or if you are turning off your computer. On a Windows computer, there is a feature that will appear at the bottom-right of the taskbar and before you unplug the hard drive, click on this first to do so safely.
  • Power failure can render computer components useless which is why you must use a surge protector. When you use one of these extension leads, if there is ever a power cut and you lose electricity, your computer and any of its components will be safely turned off.

Furthermore, if you’re looking to recover any data from a device, we have listed some tips on ensuring that your data is kept safe.

  • Keep your anti-virus program up to date with all recent versions so that if you have a virus on the external hard drive, it will be detected and removed.
  • Take backups regularly. This may not be viable if you store large amounts of movies on the external hard drive, but if you take a backup of only the important files that are on it, you can easily retrieve them if anything goes wrong with the storage device.

Take each of these tips into consideration, and you’ll be good to go with your external hard drive.

To Conclude

All in all, you can see that maintaining an external hard drive isn’t too difficult, and if you need to find out how to recover files from an external hard drive not detected, the chances are that you’ll find the solution in this article.

If you keep these tips in mind and, above all, take regular backups of important data, you can ensure that your data and external hard drive are as safe as possible.



Excellent software expert specializing in sorts of software & application testings, making comparisons, researching, and loves blogging, writing reviews, video tutorials, and the like.