By Bryce / Last Updated September 6, 2019

My WD hard drive not being recognized in Windows 10

“I have a Western Digital 1TB Elements Portable external hard drive, which used to work well with my friend’s computer. However, I found that WD Elements not showing in my computer File Explorer after I connected it to my computer running Windows 10. That is to say, I am unable to access my WD hard drive from File Explorer. But I would like to use it to store some files. Is there anyone encountered similar issue? Can you give me some advice? Thanks for your help!”

Different solutions under different situations

In fact, it is not rare that computer users are bothered by WD hard drive not recognized in Windows 10 issue, which can be caused by various events like incompatible file system, invalid USB port, outdate driver and so on. You can take measures described in the following text to enable your WD hard drive show up properly in Windows 10 File Explorer.

Method 1: Initialize WD hard drive in Disk Management

This way applied to the situation that your WD hard drive shows as not initialized disk when you open Disk Management. Follow the steps below:

1. Locate the WD hard drive that going to be initialized and right click it.

2. Choose “Initialize Disk” and pick one partition system between MBR and GPT.

Initialize Disk

3. Right click the disk and choose “Create New Simple Volume”.

Then, you can do as what New Simple Volume Wizard prompts.


  • Initializing WD hard drive will lead to data loss. If you don’t care about the data on WD hard drive, you can apply this way.

  • It is possible that you are unable to initialize hard drive and receive errors like the device is not ready.

Method 2: Assign drive letter to WD hard drive partition

WD hard drive not showing up in Windows 10 File Explorer could be the result of drive letter missing or conflict. If your hard drive is in such case, you can assign drive letter to it or change its drive letter.

1. Open Disk Management in Windows 10.

2. Right click the hard drive partition and choose “Change Drive Letter and Path…”

Assign or Change Drive Letter

3. In the pop-up window, click on “Add” to assign drive letter to hard drive partition or click “Change” to change drive letter.

4. Close Disk Management and access hard drive form Windows 10 File Explorer.

Method 3: Format WD hard drive to compatible file system

You can employ this way if your WD hard drive previously formatted with unrecognized file system under windows or there are corrupted files on it. You are certain to format WD hard drive using Disk Management. However, this Windows built-in tool is with some limits. For instance, it is unable to format hard drive partition over 32GB in size to FAT32 file system.

Therefore, it is recommended to apply the powerful disk formatting tool – AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, which breaks the limit of 32GB in partition size and offers you more options about file system.

At beginning, you can free download this great software.

Then, do as the step-by-step tutorial given below.

1. Install and fire up AOMEI Partition Assistant. In the main interface, right click the hard drive partition needs formatting and choose “Format Partition”.

Format Raw Partition

2. Choose proper file system for WD hard drive (Here NTFS is selected).

Format Raw To NTFS

3. Return to the main interface. Confirm formatting operation and click “Apply” to perform it.


PS: AOMEI Partition Assistant is not only compatible with Windows 10, but also with Windows 8.1/8/7, XP and Vista.

Methods 4: Update WD hard drive device driver

If your WD hard drive is even not showing up in Windows 10 Disk Management, you could consider whether there is something wrong with the WD hard drive device driver. Press “Windows + R”, input devmgmt.msc and hit “Enter” to open Device Manager.

Click disk drives and check if there is a yellow exclamation mark with WD hard drive disk device. If it is, right click WD hard drive, choose “Properties” and click Update Driver under Driver tab or click on “Uninstall”. Then, you can restart computer to see whether the WD hard drive is recognized by Windows 10.

Method 5: Enable USB device in BIOS

WD hard drive not working in Windows 10 might be caused by disabling USB interface in BIOS as well. In such case, you can enter BIOS settings to enable USB device. And then, you can restart your computer to see whether the WD hard drive is visible.

Method 6: Switch connection port

When connection port is dead or damaged, you will not see WD hard drive in Windows 10. To check whether the USB port is OK, you can unplug WD hard drive and connect it to another USB port to see if it is able to be recognized by Windows 10.


Find out the most possible events, causing WD hard drive not recognized in Windows 10, take responding measures based on specific situation, and you’ll able to fix this problem quickly and securely.