How To Diagnose A Hard Drive Not Showing Up or Detected

Is your computer not recognizing, or detecting your hard drive? Is your computer, or your external hard drive not showing up anymore? Having hard drive problems, and not sure what to do next?

Internal or external WD hard drive not recognized? Here  you will find an explanation of many of the error messages you might get after you plugged in your USB My Passport or My Book – Western Digital external hard drive.

hard drive not showing up in computer error

SERT will help you understand the difference, and similarities, between common errors, messages, and symptoms of an unrecognized hard drive:

  • “hard drive not spinning”
  • “usb external hard drive not showing up”
  • “external hard disk not detected”
  • “hard drive not showing up in bios”
  • “hard drive not in disk management”

Perhaps you might have experienced one of these errors on your computer when you plugged in your external hard drive.

This information will help you (if the data is important it is highly recommended) when you contact a certified data recovery company to avoid your drive’s condition getting worse. This will cost you more money for hard drive recovery, and the drive can eventually reach an unrecoverable stage.

What steps to take with an external hard drive not recognized or detected

This is mostly a common error that you’re going to receive during the normal function of plugging in an extra hard drive to your computer, or laptop, from within the operating system. This applies to both Apple and Windows operating platforms.

This error message is produced by one of the interface ports whether USB, firewire, thunderbolt, etc, and means: your computer has detected something is plugged in, but cannot recognize any details about the device. This is one of the most common errors, because 90% of data recovery of external drives will produce this same error, as long as the drive can receive power.

cant read files from external hard drive not recognized error

Many hard drive malfunctions can produce this error, so it can be next to impossible to properly diagnose it at this point. Failed or failing heads, too many bad sectors, media(platter) damage, file system corruption, faulty mechanical or electrical parts could all be the culprit.

What you do next can be a determining factor in whether your data is ever going to be successfully recovered.

A common symptom we help our clients overcome when discussing their situation is “My WD external drive not recognized”. Western Digital is notorious for having these kinds of issues. Most of the time the drive requires advanced technology to temporarily get past the error, and be able to see the drive’s data.

HOWEVER the data is normally retrievable!

PC not recognizing hdd errorcan't detect hd error message

Sometimes the drive’s firmware must be temporarily repaired in order to get access to the data, even though the drive can be detected. (There is only one piece of equipment on the planet that can do this, and it’s very expensive.)

Basically when your external hard drive wont show up, it may start to spin up, and then possibly appear to load the driver, but then it fails. The drive still spins and the light continues to blink.

hard disk problem partition failed error messageA few other types of symptoms and sounds you may experience are: clicking, beeping, scraping, knocking, whirring, grinding.

In device manager/computer management/disk manager you may find an error saying:

  • “The disk you inserted is not readable by this computer”
  • “The volume does not contain a recognized file system”
  • “Unknown device”
  • “You need to format the disk in drive H: before you can use it”
  • “Unallocated”
  • “USB device not recognized”
  • “One of the USB devices attached this computer has malfunctioned”
  • “The last USB device connected to the computer malfunctioned”
  • “Windows does not recognize it”
  • “No media”

This is quite different than other types of hard drive problems. An example is when the hard drive is not being detected, or found, by the operating system during boot up. Simply the hard drive is not showing up anywhere, no matter what you do.

hard drive not spinning unknown device error

Hard drive problems like “hard drive not found”, “internal hard disk drive not found”, when your computer won’t detect the hard drive

Have you ever gotten the dreaded “no hard drive detected” error? You computer produces an alert that the hdd not recognized, now what? This means you have an internal hard disk drive not found by the bios to look for an operating system to boot from. Now you need data recovery!cant see hard drive in bios error

When you boot up your computer and it can’t find the hard drive, that means it has failed. Sometimes it will also say cannot find the operating system, select another disk in the computer. This is a classic case of hard disk drive failure.

pc not showing my hd error message

When you have an internal hard disk or other type of SCSI, SAS SATA hard drive not detected in the BIOS means there is a serious issue with the hard drive. The drive must be diagnosed to determine the cause behind the failure to detect.

disk read error message

It could be a cable, or it could be a head crash (when the heads actually make contact with the platters). Most of the time when the hard  drive wont show up, it is hard drive related, and NOT the computer or a cable.

What causes a hard disk not detected or bios not detecting hard drive type of error?

The answer can be a multitude of reasons. This is why it is absolutely vital to choose a data recovery company that has the right equipment, and expertise, to determine the reason for hd failure.

hard drive malfunction error message in bios

This single most important step, one that many computer and IT professionals overlook, can be the determining factor in recovering your files in this situation.

Special equipment, that is very expensive and requires a highly skilled technician to operate it effectively, is required in most of these types of data recovery cases.

Common causes are:

  • Too many bad sectors
  • Failing or failed heads
  • Corrupted firmware modules in the Service Area
  • Failed electronics
  • Failed motor
  • Mechanical failure
  • Media(platter) damage
  • Corrupt operating system (usually caused by one of the above)
  • Bad cable
  • Failed USB port
  • Dropped drives

Do you have common symptoms? These are real descriptions of requests we receive on a daily basis via our online quote form:

  • “WD external hard drive not recognized. Do western digitals suck?”
  • “Don’t know what to do, my computer doesn t recognize external hard drive”
  • “Computer not detecting hard drive in BIOS”
  • “Computer not reading external hard drive, checked all cables and it’s not them”
  • “My external hard drive is not showing up, how can I fix?”
  • “My external hard drive is not working, have I lost all my files?”
  • “Save me! Computer not recognizing hard drive”

Get a quote to recover deleted files or for format recovery