[Why & Fixes] External Hard Drive Not Showing Up in Disk Management

If the external hard drive not showing up in Disk Management. Read this post to know the causes with detailed solutions to easily fix that.


By Irene / Updated on February 29, 2024

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It's frustrating when you connect an external hard drive or disk-like HDD or SSD to your Windows PC and get no response. The hard drive doesn't show up, so you can't access the saved files. This issue is most common in Windows 10 and Windows 11, though occasionally it can happen in Windows 7 and 8.1 as well.

Normally, if the external hard drive an SD card or a USB device does not show up in disk management in File Explorer, you might want to find it in Disk Management. Unfortunately, in this case, the drive does not showing up in there either. No need to worry, though – you can resolve this issue using the solutions provided on this page.

Why does the hard drive not showing up in Disk Management

When Windows 10/11 is unable to detect and recognize your external hard drive, the inserted hard drive will not show up in Disk Management. Then what leads the external hard drive such as WD hard drive is not recognized in Windows 10/11? There are some common causes we concluded:

Generally, you can quickly finish formatting an internal or external hard drive within a few clicks in File Explorer. But if the dialogue that Windows was unable to complete the format the disk appears, it indicates some errors hinder the process. There could be a variety of reasons behind this error. Here we conclude the most common causes:

● Connection problem.
● Wrong power supply.
● Incompatible USB cable and USB ports, etc.
● Invalid disk driver.
● The SATA driver is not installed or corrupted.
● The drive is disenabled in BIOS due to the wrong settings.
● Accumulation of bad sectors on the drive.
● The connected drive is seen as a foreign dynamic disk.

4 methods for fixing drive not showing up in Disk Management

When the external hard drive does not show up in Disk Management, you can try the following 4 methods to see whether the problem can be solved.

Way 1. Check the connection status

If there's a poor connection between your external hard drive and your Windows computer, it might cause drive or disk not showing up in Disk Management. To address this issue, you can consider the following steps:

Step 1. Gently unplug and then reattach the hard drive.

Step 2. Try using another connector cable for a improvement.

Step 3. Connect the hard disk to a different USB or Type-C port on your computer.

Way 2. Import foreign disks

If you move a dynamic disk from another PC to your computer, Disk Management might label it as a foreign disk, causing the external hard drive not showing up in Disk Management. To fix this and access the data, you have to include the disk in your computer's system setup. Here's what you should do:

Step 1. Press the Win+ R keys, type diskmgmt.msc in the dialogue box, and press Enter.

Step 2. In Disk Management, locate the foreign disk positioned under your OS disk (usually marked with an exclamation icon).

Step 3. Right-click on the foreign disk. From the menu, choose "Import Foreign Disks."


Step 4. Then follow any on-screen prompts or instructions that may appear during the process. Wait for a few minutes to allow the system to complete the import.

After the process is complete, check both File Explorer and Disk Management to ensure the foreign disk now appears and is accessible.

Way 3. Update the drivers

If your computer recognizes the external hard drive physically but not in Disk Management, it could be because of outdated drivers or other problems. To fix this, you'll need to update the drivers for your external hard drives. Follow these steps to update the driver:

Step 1. Enter "device manager" in the search bar on the taskbar, and select Device Manager to open.


Step 2. Find the Disk drive category, and click the arrow beside it to expand it.

Step 3. Locate the problematic external hard drive and right-click it, then choose the "Update driver" option.


Step 4. Restart your computer and apply all the changes when the update process finishes.

Check if your external hard disk appears in Disk Management.

Way 4. Recover data and create a new partition

When the hard drive or disk is not showing up in Disk Management, and the used hard drive is unexpectedly marked as unallocated, it may be due to accidental deletion, a virus attack, or unknown reasons causing the loss of partitions on the disk. In such cases, you need to recover data from the unallocated space and then create new volume(s) on the disk.

To do so, it is better to choose AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, a computer management expert that makes it easy and effective for computer problems solving. This expert computer management tool makes it easy to address issues.

It can effectively recover lost partitions and create new ones, fixing the problem of a disk or hard drive not showing up in Disk Management without unnecessary and troublesome steps. Beyond troubleshooting, this powerful software is handy for everyday computer management tasks as well.

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Before recovering the lost partitions, there are some things you need to be aware of:
Don't format the external hard drive.
Avoid rewriting to the partition.
Do not rebuild the partition table of the external hard drive.

Step 1. Run the installed AOMEI Partition Assistant. Click "Recover" at the top and select “Partition Recovery” on the left panel. Choose the external hard drive containing the lost partition and click “Next.”


Step 2. Two search modes are available. Choose one and click “Next.” (It's recommended to use the first one, Fast Search, as it is quicker).


Note: If “Fast Search” doesn't locate the lost partition, try “Full Search” to search every sector of each partition on the selected external hard drive.

Step 3. The lost/deleted partitions will be displayed. Choose the one you want to recover and click “Proceed” (If uncertain, explore files in the selected partitions to view their contents).


Step 4. When prompted that the partitions have been successfully recovered, click “Finish.” Open Disk Management, and you’ll find the lost or deleted partition.


Step 5. Then, you can directly right click the partition that you recovered just now and select Create Partition from the list. After clicking on Advanced, you can set the partition size, drive letter, partition label, partition type, and file system of the new partition in the box that appears. When finished, click OK.


Note: To create a new partition, you can also go to Disk Management and right-click the hard drive labeled New Volume or the partition that lacks a drive letter.


When the external hard drive not showing up in Disk Management, you can check the connections, import foreign disks, update driver, or recover lost partition and create new one. If you find you suffer data loss when fixing drive not showing up in Disk Management, AOMEI Partition Assistant’s Recover Data feature can also help you recover lost data.

After solving the problem, you can use it to format the external hard drive, merge partitions, or even back up the Windows OS to the external hard drive. For Windows Server users, it provides the Server edition.

Irene · Staff Editor
Irene is an Editor of AOMEI Technology. She devotes herself in giving insightful thoughts on common computer problems with simple and clear guidance. Irene loves to help people solve problems and explore more solutions on relevant issues. She loves reading, singing and travelling.