Have you ever plugged in a hard drive to your PC only to find that it isn’t detected and doesn’t appear on ‘My Computer’? Needless to say, if your hard drive isn’t detected you won’t be able to access any data on it, rendering it virtually unusable.
If you’re wondering, “What should I do if my hard drive is not recognized?” the first step is to diagnose the problem. As you diagnose what’s wrong with it you may be able to fix it, so you can use it normally.
To diagnose a hard drive that isn’t recognized, you should follow these steps:
Check the connector and plug it in
First you should look at the connector that links your hard drive to your PC, and examine it for signs of damage or possibly even dirt in the connector itself. Be sure to check both ends (i.e. the part that plugs into your hard drive and the part that plugs into your PC), then plug it in securely.
Determine whether your hard drive requires power and turn it on
Some external hard drives require a separate power connection, as do internal hard drives. Find out whether your hard drive requires a power connection, check that it is connected, and make sure the hard drive power is turned on.
Try Disk Management
On Window’s PCs you should be able to find a tool called Disk Management – and other platforms have an equivalent as well that you can use. With this tool you may be able to see your hard drive that is connected even if it doesn’t seem to be detected, and if you can then you’ll know it is a partition or formatting issue. To fix it you should format your hard drive properly so that it can be detected.
Plug it into a different computer
As much as your hard drive may have issues, your computer may be the culprit too. By plugging your hard drive into a different computer you can eliminate that possibility, and will know for sure that the problem lies with your hard drive.
Listen to see if your hard drive is spinning
Assuming you’re using a standard hard drive (not an SSD) you should be able to listen and hear it spinning when it is turned on. If it isn’t spinning then there may be a more serious physical issue, and you may need to replace it or seek professional help.
By the time you’ve gone through these steps if you’re still unable to diagnose the issue then odds are your hard drive is failing – or has failed and is dead. As such you may want to consider replacing it, and if you have important data stored on it then you may want to look to other recovery options. In some cases if the problem is serious and you have lots of important data that you can’t afford to lose you should get professional help right from the get go, to minimize the risk of it being lost.