HomeWindowsHow to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up In Windows 11

How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up In Windows 11


Quick Overview
  • External hard drives are essential for data storage and backups to prevent data loss on PC.
  • An external hard drive not showing up in Windows 11 can be due to faulty hardware, drivers, or other reasons.
  • Basic fixes include checking if the drive turns on, switching ports/cables, checking Disk Management, formatting the drive, creating a new volume, checking disk status, updating/reinstalling drivers.

External hard drives can be useful for storing data and taking a backup of your data. Many people prefer using an external hard drive to keep the backup of their important data in case of any data loss on the PC. As there are pros to using the external hard drive, there are some cons as well. Sometimes you may face an external hard drive not showing up the problem in Windows 11 when trying to use a hard drive on your PC.

This is a common issue that has been encountered by many users trying to use their external hard drives. One may face this issue for several reasons; it may be because of faulty hard drives, faulty USB drives, incompatible drivers, and various others. Many users are afraid that they may face this error because their hard drive is faulty. There are chances of that happening, but facing this issue doesn’t always mean it is due to faulty hardware; it can be due to conflicting or incompatible drivers or other reasons.

Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up In Windows 11

How To Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up In Windows 11

This is not a new issue that you may encounter in Windows 11, as users have reported facing this error in Windows 10. If you are facing this issue, then you need not worry about it. In this article, we will be discussing how you can fix an external hard drive not showing up in Windows 11.

Try Some Basic Fixes First

You should ensure that your drive turns on or not. If you are using an external hard drive, it may have some LED indicator to indicate it has been turned on. You may also hear a fan rotating, which is a sign of the hard drive turning on. If you didn’t notice any such signs, then you may try switching the ports and cable. If the hard drive still doesn’t turn on, it means that it is faulty.

However, if the hard drive turns on after you switch the port or the cable, that can mean the port or the cable is faulty. If you can use the hard drive after this, then you are good to go. If you still cannot use the hard drive, try using it with a different PC and restart your PC and if that still doesn’t help, then you should move to the steps given ahead.

Check The Disk Management

If your hard drive doesn’t appear on the File Explorer, it may appear on the Disk Management. Disk Management allows you to format your disk, create a new partition, and do various other things. In the case of unallocated space, the hard drive you are trying to use may not show up on File Explorer.

Your disk will for sure appear on Disk Management. To open up the disk manager, press the Windows + X key combo and select Disk Management in the menuIf your disk is here in the disk management but not showing up in the File Explorer, you should move to the next step to fix the issue.

Format The External Hard Disk

If your hard drive is not showing up in File Explorer, you will have to format it using Disk Management. To format the external hard drive using the Disk Management, follow the steps given below-

  • Press the Windows + R key combo on your PC to open the Run dialog box.
  • In the Run dialog box, type diskmgmt.msc and click on OK or hit Enter to open the Disk Management. In Disk Management, right-click on the disk with the issue, and then click on Format. 

How To Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up In Windows 11?

  • Next, you will be asked to enter the volume label, file system, and allocation unit size, and also select whether you want a quick format or not. After doing so, click on OK to continue.

This should most probably fix the external hard drive not showing up in the Windows 11 issue. However, if you still encounter the issue, then follow the next troubleshooting method.

Create A New Volume

If the external hard drive still didn’t show up in the Disk Management, you should try creating a new volume. To do so, follow the steps given below-

  • Open the Disk Management from the power menu. To do so, press the Windows + X key combo, and then from the menu, select Disk Management. 
  • In Disk Management, check whether the drive is already an unallocated space or the primary partition. The unallocated space will have a black bar on its top, while the primary partition will have a blue bar. If the drive is a primary partition, you will have to make it an unallocated space. If the drive is unallocated space, then you can move to the fourth step.
  • Right-click on the volume/drive having a problem and then click on Delete Volume to delete it and make it an unallocated space. After doing so, you will see a black bar on the top of the drive, which means that the drive has successfully been marked as an unallocated space. Now you will have to create a new simple volume of the space.

How To Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up In Windows 11?

  • Right-click on the unallocated space, and then click on New Simple Volume. This will open the New Simple Volume Wizard; here, click on Next. 
  • You will be asked to enter the Simple Volume Size in MB. The size you enter cannot be more than the maximum disk space. Once done, click on Next. 

How To Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up In Windows 11?

  • Next, you will be given two options: assign the drive letter or mount it in the empty NTFS folder. Select Assign the following drive letter and then select the drive letter. Click on Next. 
  • You will be asked whether you want to format the drive or not. Select the Format this volume with the following settings option. You will then have to set the file system, allocate unit size, and label the volume. Once you are done with all this, click on Next. 
  • The process will be completed. To close the New Simple Volume Wizard, click on Finish. 

After you do so, the drive will open up in the File Explorer, which indicates that the issue has been successfully fixed.

Check The Drive Status

You can use the device manager to check the drive status. This will tell you if the device is working fine or not. To check the drive status, follow the steps given below-

  • In the Start Menu, search for Device Manager, and open it.
  • Now, expand the Disk Drives section by double-clicking on it.
  • Right-click on the drive with the error. Click on properties to open the properties.
  • In the General tab in the properties, you will see the Device Status. Check if it shows the device working properly or not. If it shows any error message, then you can search for it and fix it.

How To Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up In Windows 11?

If the device status shows that the device is working properly, you should try updating the drivers or reinstalling them.

Updating The Hard Drive Drivers

You should try updating the hard drivers and then check if you still face the error or not. To update the hard drive drivers, follow the steps given below-

  • In the Start Menu, search for Device Manager and open it.
  • Now double-click on the Disk Drives section to expand it.
  • Here, right-click on the drive having the error.
  • Click on Update Driver. 

How To Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up In Windows 11?

  • After the driver has been updated, close the Device Manager, and restart your PC.

You should no longer face the external drive not showing up in the Windows 11 issue.

Reinstall The Hard Drive Drivers

If any of the above steps didn’t work for you, then maybe you should try reinstalling the hard drive drivers. You can easily do it with the help of the device manager. To reinstall hard drive drivers using the device manager, follow the steps given below-

  • Open the Device Manager from the Start Menu. 
  • Here, double-click on the Disk Drivers option to expand it.
  • Right-click on the drive with the error, and then click on Uninstall device. 

How To Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up In Windows 11?

  • After doing so, restart your PC, and this will automatically reinstall the driver on your PC.


Final Words

This should now fix the issue for you. These were a few fixes, following which you will be able to fix the issue of the external hard drive not showing up in Windows 11. We hope this article helped solve the issue you were facing.

Anurag Jain
Anurag Jainhttps://itechhacks.com
Anurag is a Senior content analyst with 4 years of experience in the industry. Based in India, He is extremely skilled at Windows related to How to Troubleshooting matters. His favorite topics are Windows 11, Android, and How To's.


  1. i have been using my hard drive since windows 10. it has been recently purchased for movies storage. However, after migration to windows 11, my external drive is no longer detected.

    • This is not a fix, I have data on the hard drive. It either has to do with TPM or GPT.
      The fix is covert a drive to GPT on win 10, then copy the data to GPT Drive from old win 10 drive, then see if win 11 can see data.

  2. This is ridiculous. I’m not reformatting all of my external drives – all are different brands and work flawlessly with my old Windows 10 laptop – just not my new Windows 11 desktop. They all have loads of important and/or special date on them. I’d have to toast it all! Nope. Surely there is another solution? Like someone get the yumpties at Microsoft to get off their bums and do a little work to figure out what they did to break it? It isn’t an isolated thing. I am seeing loads of unhappy people all over the internet and social media. 😬

  3. Windows 11 setting defaults to hide the folders. Solution: Click on Windows icon to open task bar, type File Explorer Options, click on View tab, scroll to Hidden Files and Folders, click on Show hidden file, folders and drive. Plug in external drive and you should see your files now.

  4. Thank you, I followed your guide, and aborted when I was asked to format the drive, SINCE THERE IS 4 GB STORED ON IT! And now it won’t work on the old computer either

    Add a warning at the very start not to try this if you have data on the harddrive already


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here