Fix External Hard Drive Not Able to Read

In this article, we will discuss how to fix an external hard drive that is not able to read.

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Checking Connection and Power Issues

Power cord and USB cable connections

To check for connection and power issues with your external hard drive, start by ensuring all cables are securely plugged in at both ends. Make sure the USB cable is properly connected to both the external hard drive and your computer.

If the external hard drive is plugged into a power source, verify that the power adapter is working by checking if the LED light on the adapter is on. If not, try using a different power outlet or adapter to see if that resolves the issue.

Test the USB port on your computer by plugging in a different device, such as a USB flash drive, to see if it is recognized. If the port is not working, try plugging the external hard drive into a different USB port to rule out a port issue.

For Mac users, you can open Finder and check if the external hard drive appears in the sidebar. If not, try using a different USB cable or port. For Windows users, open File Explorer and look for the external hard drive under “This PC.” If it does not appear, try the same troubleshooting steps.

If you are using a Mac computer, you can also open Disk Utility to see if the external hard drive is recognized. For Windows users, you can check Device Manager to see if the external hard drive is listed under “Disk Drives.”

Using Different Ports and Rebooting

Try using different ports: If your external hard drive is not being recognized, try plugging it into a different USB port on your computer. Sometimes, the port you are using may be faulty, causing the issue.

Reboot your computer: Sometimes, a simple reboot can solve many issues with external hard drives not being able to read. Restart your computer and then reconnect your external hard drive to see if it is now being recognized.

Check for loose connections: Ensure that all cables connecting your external hard drive to your computer are securely plugged in. A loose connection could be the reason why your hard drive is not being detected.

Update device drivers: Make sure that the device drivers for your external hard drive are up to date. Outdated drivers can sometimes cause compatibility issues with your operating system.

Use disk management tool: In Windows, you can use the Disk Management tool to check if your external hard drive is being recognized by your computer. This tool allows you to manage drive letters and partitions on your hard drive.

Check for errors: Use the built-in disk checking utility on your operating system to scan for any errors on your external hard drive. This can help identify any issues that may be preventing your computer from reading the drive.

Try a different computer: If all else fails, try connecting your external hard drive to a different computer to see if it is being recognized. This can help determine if the issue is with your computer or the external hard drive itself.

Initializing and Managing Drive Letters

  • Open Disk Management by right-clicking on the Start menu and selecting Disk Management.
  • Locate your external hard drive in the list of available disks.
  • Right-click on the external hard drive and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  • Click on Add and select a drive letter from the list provided.
  • Click OK to assign the drive letter to your external hard drive.
  • Restart your computer to apply the changes.
Updated: April 2024

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Additionally, Fortect can restore the system to its pre-infected state, ensuring that Windows runs smoothly and addressing any hardware miscommunications that could be causing the problem.

Running Troubleshooters and Diagnostic Tools

To troubleshoot an external hard drive that is not being recognized, you can use various diagnostic tools to pinpoint the issue.

First, try connecting the external hard drive to a different USB port on your computer. If that doesn’t work, try connecting it to a different computer to see if the issue is with the drive or the computer.

If the external hard drive is still not being recognized, you can run built-in troubleshooters on your computer to identify and fix the issue. In Windows, you can access the Device Manager by pressing the Windows key + X and selecting Device Manager. Look for any yellow exclamation marks next to the external hard drive, which indicate a problem with the device driver.

Right-click on the external hard drive in Device Manager and select “Update driver” to see if that resolves the issue.

If the problem persists, you can run the built-in troubleshooters on Windows 10 by going to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot. Look for the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter and run it to diagnose and fix any hardware issues.

On a Mac, you can use Disk Utility to troubleshoot external hard drive problems. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. Select the external hard drive from the list on the left and click on “First Aid” to repair any disk errors.

If Disk Utility is unable to repair the external hard drive, you may need to reformat the drive, which will erase all data stored on it.

If you have a disk enclosure for your external hard drive, try removing the hard drive from the enclosure and connecting it directly to your computer using a different wire. This will help determine if the enclosure is causing the issue.

By running troubleshooters and using diagnostic tools, you can identify and fix the problem with your external hard drive not being able to read. If these steps don’t resolve the issue, it may be a hardware problem that requires professional assistance.

Updating or Reinstalling Drivers

To update or reinstall drivers for your external hard drive, you will need to access the Device Manager on your computer. On Windows, you can do this by right-clicking on the Windows icon in the taskbar and selecting “Device Manager.” On a Mac, you can find the Device Manager in System Settings.

Once in the Device Manager, locate your external hard drive under the “Disk drives” category. Right-click on the drive and select “Update driver.” Follow the on-screen instructions to update the driver software.

If updating the driver does not solve the issue, you can try reinstalling the driver. To do this, right-click on the external hard drive in the Device Manager and select “Uninstall device.” Then, disconnect the hard drive from your computer and restart the computer. After the restart, reconnect the external hard drive, and Windows should automatically reinstall the driver.

If you are using a Mac computer, you can try updating or reinstalling the driver by opening Finder and selecting the external hard drive from the sidebar. Then, navigate to the “File” menu and select “Eject.” Disconnect the drive, restart your Mac, and then reconnect the external hard drive. This may prompt the Mac to reinstall the driver.

If updating or reinstalling the driver does not resolve the issue of your external hard drive not being able to read, there may be a problem with the drive itself. Try connecting the hard drive to a different computer or using a different USB cable to rule out any hardware issues.

In some cases, the issue may be related to the file system or partition table on the external hard drive. You can use disk management tools like Disk Management on Windows or Disk Utility on Mac to check the file system and repair any errors that may be present.

Addressing USB Selective Suspend Settings

To address USB Selective Suspend Settings in the context of fixing an external hard drive that is not able to read, you can try adjusting the power settings on your computer. This setting can sometimes cause issues with USB devices, including external hard drives.

On a Windows computer:
1. Go to the Control Panel and search for “Power Options.”
2. Click on “Change plan settings” for your current power plan.
3. Click on “Change advanced power settings.”
4. Look for “USB settings” and expand it.
5. Disable “USB selective suspend setting.”

By disabling this setting, you can ensure that the USB ports on your computer provide continuous power to the external hard drive, potentially resolving any connectivity issues.

If you are using a Mac computer, you can adjust the USB power settings in a similar manner to troubleshoot the problem with your external hard drive.

Formatting and Recovering Files

To format and recover files from an external hard drive that is not able to read, you can follow these steps.

First, connect the external hard drive to your computer and make sure it is properly recognized. You can check this by looking for the drive letter assignment in Windows or by checking the Finder on a Mac.

If the drive is not recognized, try using a different USB port or a different computer to see if the issue is with the USB hardware.

Once the drive is recognized, you can format it to potentially fix any errors that are preventing it from being read. Right-click on the drive in File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac) and select the format option. Be sure to back up any important data before formatting, as this will erase all files on the drive.

If you need to recover files from the external hard drive before formatting, you can use data recovery software such as Verbatim or Seagate Technology. These programs can help you retrieve lost or corrupted files from the drive.

After formatting or recovering files, you should be able to access the external hard drive and read its contents as usual. If you continue to experience issues, it may be a problem with the drive itself or the connection.

In some cases, using a disk enclosure or a different power supply can help troubleshoot the issue. Be sure to check all connections and cables to ensure proper communication between the external hard drive and your computer.

Monitoring Drive Health

To monitor the health of your external hard drive, you can use various tools and methods to ensure it is functioning properly. One useful tool for this purpose is Disk Utility on a Mac computer. To access Disk Utility, you can simply navigate to the Finder, then go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.

Once in Disk Utility, you can select your external hard drive from the list on the left-hand side. Click on the “First Aid” tab and then click on “Run” to check for any errors or issues with the drive. This will help you diagnose and fix any problems that may be causing your drive to not be read properly.

In addition to using Disk Utility, you can also use the command line interface on a Mac to monitor the health of your external hard drive. Open Terminal and type diskutil list to view a list of all connected drives. Look for your external hard drive in the list and note the disk identifier.

Once you have the disk identifier, you can use the diskutil verifyDisk command followed by the disk identifier to check the disk for any errors. This will give you more detailed information about the health of your external hard drive and help you determine if there are any issues that need to be addressed.

By regularly monitoring the health of your external hard drive using tools like Disk Utility and the command line interface, you can ensure that your drive is in good working condition and prevent any potential data loss or other issues that may arise.

FAQ

Why is my external hard drive unreadable?

Your external hard drive may be unreadable due to issues with the disk structure. Running CHKDSK, updating the disk driver, or formatting the drive may help resolve the error, but there is a risk of data loss during the process.

Why is my computer not detecting my external hard drive?

Your computer may not be detecting your external hard drive due to power supply issues, an unstable or corrupt drive, or incompatible or outdated drivers.

How do I fix my external hard drive that Cannot be read?

To fix an external hard drive that cannot be read, you can try disconnecting the power supply and USB device, updating USB drivers, changing the drive letter, fixing USB root hub, adjusting USB selective suspend settings, running a troubleshooter for hard drives, or formatting the external hard drive to NTFS.

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