If you have a habit of storing work files as well as personal photos and videos on an external HDD, then you must know how to fix an unreadable external hard drive .
Because there are many cases where the HDD suddenly cannot be opened on the PC.
In a state of panic, generally steps to be taken is to reformat the hard drive.
But as we all know, reformatting hard drive will delete all the files within.
Even though not all cases of hard disks being unreadable by PCs must be reformatted.
Therefore, the following will explain how to fix an unreadable external hard drive on a PC or laptop with Windows 10, 8 or 7.
Types of Problems External Hard Drive Unread
Before discussing how to repair an external hard drive, firstly you need to know the types of problems that often occur.
Generally there are three:
- External hard drive not showing in Explorer
- External hard drive not showing in Disk Management
- External hard drive can’t be opened but appears in Explorer
This problem can occur in all brands of hard drives:
- And others
Well, here is an explanation of each case.
1. External Hard Drive Not Showing in Explorer
The case of an external hard drive that does not appear in the Explorer software is quite easy to overcome. As long as the hard drive is still readable and appears in the Disk Management software.
Because through this Disk Management you can manage which hard drives are displayed in Explorer and which are not.
In addition, in Disk Management you will also see the status of the hard drive that is connected to the device.
Generally, if the external hard drive is not detected in Windows 10, 8 or 7, then the status that appears in Disk Management is between not initialized, offline or unallocated.
2. External Hard Drive Not Showing in Disk Management
The second type of problem is a bit more difficult.
Because if the external hard drive that you connect to the PC does not appear in Disk Management, then it could be because the PC has not recognized the hard drive device .
To fix this, you need to enter the computer’s BIOS and then reboot the PC as usual.
But if it still doesn’t work, there is a possibility that the main problem is in the hard drive itself.
3. External Hard Drive Reads But Can’t Be Opened
Just like the first point, this type of problem is easy to solve too.
Because if the hard drive is read and appears in Explorer but can’t be opened, you can simply recover the data in it.
This data recovery can be done with various applications. One of the easiest to use is with EaseUS Data Recovery.
That way, all data and documents on the hard drive can be read and transferred to the internal hard drive first .
Then you just need to format the external hard drive and move the data back as usual.
All these problems with external hard drives can also be caused by many factors. As :
- Data drive is too full
- Problem with the USB port on your PC or laptop
- Hard disk partition problem
- The hard drive has been slammed until it is damaged or corrupted
- Problem with the File System on the hard disk
- Hard drive ever opened
How to Fix Unreadable External Hard Drive in Windows 7/8/10
After knowing what types of problems can be experienced, now we enter the main discussion, namely the solution.
Please select the methods below according to the problem you are experiencing.
1. Move the Hard Drive to Another USB Port
Most computers today have more than 4 USB ports with 2 ports on the front and the rest on the back.
As for laptops, generally only have 3-4 USB ports on the side.
If the external hard drive that you connect is not reading or showing in Explorer (This PC / My Computer) and Disk Management, the simplest way to fix this is to try connecting to a different port .
If the USB port on the device you are using is limited, try using an additional USB Hub. And if the USB port can be used for a mouse or keyboard, then try changing the USB hard drive cable .
This method is only used to identify whether the problem is in the hard drive, the computer’s USB port or its USB cable.
2. Check & Repair Drive in Disk Management
For Windows 10, follow the steps below to open Disk Management.
- Press the Windows icon + X on the keyboard at the same time
- Then select Disk Management in the new page that appears
For Windows 7 or 8, the way to open Disk Management is a bit different.
- The first step, open the Control Panel via the Windows menu
- Then select System and Security
- Proceed to Administrative Tools
- Select Computer Management software
- Look for the words Disk Management as shown below
If the hard drive already appears in Disk Management, the next are 2 methods you can do to fix it.
Have you ever felt your computer is slow? There might be a problem with RAM usage. Check how to solve High RAM Usage in Windows 10.
The first way is to create a new volume:
- Right-click on the external hard drive that doesn’t show up in Explorer or isn’t filled up
- Then select New Simple Volume
- Click Next and then specify the size of the hard disk
- Click Next again, and then select the Drive Letter or letter of the disk that
- Click Next once again, then select the partition for the hard drive to be used
- If so, click Finish and wait for the process to finish
The next method is done if the hard disk you are connecting to appears with the words unknown or not initialized disk.
The second way is to initialize the disk:
- Right click on the hard disk that says unknown
- Then select Initialized Disk
- Select the partition type to be GPT
- Now click OK
- Wait until the process is complete
3. Run Troubleshooter
This way, you don’t need to enter Disk Management like the previous method.
Just open the troubleshooter like the steps below.
- Open the Devices and Printers page via Windows
- Then right-click on the hard disk that appears but can’t be opened
- Next, select the troubleshoot option as shown below
- Wait for the troubleshooting process to finish and follow the instructions as written on the screen
Keep in mind, this method can only be done if the hard drive is read by the PC but cannot be opened.
4. Fix Via Device Manager
For Windows 10 and 8 users, you can enter Device Manager by pressing Windows + X and then selecting Device Manager.
As for Windows 7 users, follow the steps below to open Device Manager.
- Go to Control Panel then select System and Security
- Continue to the Device Manager page in the System . section
After entering the Device Manager, repair the hard drive as follows.
- Right-click on the hard drive that is unreadable or cannot be opened in the Disk Drivers section
- Then choose between Update Driver or Uninstall Driver
The function of the Update Driver is to repair if previously connected with a damaged USB cable.
If you have replaced the USB hard drive cable and it is still unreadable, select the Update Driver option.
While Uninstall Driver is used to remove hard drive drivers that are already installed on the PC.
Once the drivers are removed, unplug the hard drive and wait 5 minutes before reconnecting.
5. Reinstall USB Controllers
The next way to fix an unreadable external hard drive is to reinstall USB Controllers. The guide steps are as follows.
- Enter Device Manager like the previous method
- Then look for the USB Controller from the hard drive you are using in the Universal Serial Bus section
- Right click then click Uninstall
After that, unplug the USB cable, reboot the PC and plug the external hard drive back into the PC.
6. Enable Legacy USB Support
In this way you have to enter the BIOS page. For more details, read the guide below.
- First of all, first turn off the laptop or PC
- Then turn it on while pressing the keyboard to enter the BIOS (usually F12, Fn + F12, F8, Del, F1, F2, etc.)
- After entering the BIOS page, proceed to the Advance tab
- Then select USB Configuration
- Navigate to Legacy USB Support and select the Enable . option
- Save and reboot laptop
7. Update Windows to the Latest Version
Using Windows 10 and updating the system to the latest version can be one way to solve the problem of the hard drive not being read on a PC.
Although sometimes the process takes a very long time, but this method is worth trying.
After the update is complete , turn off the auto updater feature again so it doesn’t interfere when it’s in use.
8. Disable USB Selective Suspend
You can disable USB Selective Suspend via the Power Options or Power Plan page.
This page is also located in the Control Panel for both Windows 7, 8 and 10.
- Open Control Panel
- Go to the Power Plan menu
- In the Power Plan menu, you click on Advance Power Settings
- Find and disable the USB Selective Suspend option in the USB Settings section.
9. Install Chipset Driver for Motherboard
The next one is a bit tricky.
Because you have to find out the product and series of Motherboards used.
To make it easier, please take your PC to the nearest repair shop. Generally, the cost required does not reach 150 thousand and the process can be waited for.
10. Perform Low Level Format (Note: Lost Data)
Doing a Low Level Format can also be a way to fix an unreadable external hard drive on the computer.
To make it easier, you can do low level formatting using the HDDGuru software .
The trick is to simply install HDDGuru, then proceed with the following steps.
- Open HDDGuru
- Select the external hard drive you want to format
- Then click Continue to start the formatting process
11. Replace Hard Drive Case
The last way is to replace the hard drive case . For the case itself, you can look for it at an online store or the nearest computer store.
Also replace the USB cable used to connect the external hard drive to the computer.
How to Fix an External Hard Drive Read But Not Showing
The previous step is to repair an external hard drive that is not read at all. This one has a different case, namely that it is externally read but does not appear.
Usually on a hard drive that suddenly changes to RAW
Here is a method that you can follow.
1. Perform Data Backup
First of all do a data backup first.
Data backup can be done using additional applications. One of the recommendations is Stellar Data Recovery or EaseUS Data Recovery .
After the data is backed up , first move it to a temporary internal hard drive .
2. Reformat the Hard Drive in Disk Management
To reformat the hard drive , you just need to go to Disk Management as described earlier.
Then right-click on the external hard drive you want to format and select Format.
That’s how to fix an unreadable external hard drive on a PC with Windows 10, 7 and 8.
Hopefully this article can help you restore lost data because the hard drive cannot be opened.
Why can an external hard drive be unreadable?
It could be because your hard drive is damaged, or mostly because of a system error / corrupt
Can we repair this external hard drive ourselves?
Of course, I can. Because on average the hard drive can be detected again by repairing it yourself