How To Recover Data From An External Hard Disk Not Detected

Struggling to recover your precious photos, videos, documents, and other multimedia files from your crashed hard disk? Don’t worry!

We’ll share some of the best solutions to get back data from an external hard disk that is not showing up. One of the easiest yet quickest ways to get back your files is using professional file recovery software that works sophisticatedly to deal with common data loss scenarios, like corrupted hard drives, formatted storage devices, human error, etc.

For effective results, we suggest Systweak’s Advanced Disk Recovery. The software assists in easy and quick file restoration from internal and external storage. Using this data recovery tool, one can easily detect and retrieve lost, missing, or accidentally deleted pictures, videos, audio files, documents and other files. It features an easy-to-use interface that supports hassle-free & safe data recovery.  

The Problem: An external hard drive is useful for data transfer and backup. However, it can easily get corrupted and fail to transmit data. In such a case, users receive the below-mentioned error messages:

Error Message#1: “The drive cannot be accessed.”

Error Message#2: “RAW drive cannot be initialized”

Error Message#3: “The drive is not formatted.”

But don’t panic, as these errors can be easily resolved and you can get your important files and folders back in no time.

Why Does The HDD Remain Undetected?

Windows cannot recognize a corrupt hard drive (HDD) because it has been used several times. Some of the other reasons why Windows fail to recognize the hard drive are given below:

  • The BIOS is not enabled on the hard disk drive (HDD).
  • Erroneous jumper settings on the drive.
  • Serial ATA drivers are not installed.
  • Outdated drivers on Windows computer.
  • The old hard drive has been used several times and has corrupted due to a faulty USB port.
  • Unplugged or damaged data cable, which prevents the BIOS from detecting a hard disk.
  • The hard disk is dead.

Let us understand the possible scenarios of why the external hard disk was not detected.

Scenario #1: RAW HDD not detected

Scenario # 2: Hard disk is not detected in disk management or My Computer

Scenario #3: Error with Device Driver

Before initiating the external hard drive recovery process, test if the USB port is working by connecting the external hard drive to another computer. If the disk transmits data on the new computer, it’s time to replace the corrupted USB port. Else, use the following methods to repair the disk and retrieve data.

How To Recover Data From An External Hard Disk Not Detected

Scenario 1: RAW HDD Not Detected

When the HDD is not formatted with a compatible file system – FAT32/ NTFS, the data cannot be accessed from it. In this case, refrain from executing any manual way to retrieve your files or folders. Instead, use a cutting-edge data recovery tool like Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery to recover data from the inaccessible HD and then format it to resolve the issue.

Step 1: Choose And Scan The Raw Disk Space

Often, users are not aware that even though the data does not appear to be on the HDD, it still exists. Hence, try navigating to either of the below-mentioned partitions to scan and proceed with data retrieval.

If the RAW disk partition holds a label,

  • Select the drives directly from the label list.
  • Click the Scan option to initiate the process of data recovery.

If the RAW disk partition with the lost label,

  • Select Partitions option.
  • Click on the Start Scan Now button to initiate a complete RAW drive scan.

RAW drive scan

Step 2: Preview data from the scanned result

The RAW HDD will display all the available files that you could not extract earlier. View the list and mark the files you need.

the scanned result

Step 3: Recover data from RAW disk partition

After selecting the desired files, click the Recover button to obtain the data. It will ask you the location to save the data. Ensure you save the recovered data onto another external hard drive or different location on the same drive and click OK to complete the RAW drive recovery.

Recover data

Make sure you do not select the exact location for recovery from where your files were lost in the first place. This increases the chances of data getting overwritten.

exact location for recovery

Scenario 2: Hard Disk Is Not Detected in Disk Management or My Computer

External hard drive is not showing up in the “My Computer” section but appears in the Disk Management section; because disk management does not contain any partitions. Use the below method to retrieve lost data from the disk.

Step 1: Press “Windows Key + R.” to launch the Run window.

In the Run dialogue box, type diskmgmt.msc and hit the “Enter” button. This command will reflect if the drive is available in the Disk Management window.

dialogue box

If the drive is available – Use the Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery software to restore data from the external hard drive to the computer. Now, format the disk for Windows andother devices to access and recognize.

If the drive is not available

Step 1: Since the drive doesn’t show up in the Disk Management after trying another computer, you may try Device Manager. Press “Windows Key + R.”

Ste 2:  In the Run dialogue box, type diskmgmt.msc and hit “Enter.”

Step 3:  Now, open the device manager -> Disk Drive, and check for devices with a yellow exclamation mark. With such a mark, the HD has a faulty/outdated driver.

Step 4: Finally, right-click the faulty device to select “Properties” and view the error message. You can fix the issue according to the displayed error message.

Scenario 3: Error with Device Driver

If the external hard drive is not detected, try troubleshooting by updating the old drivers.

Step 1: Click the Start button -> write Device Manager and press Enter.

Device Manager

Step 2: Choose the Device Manager option, click to expand categories to locate the hard drive, and right-click it.

Device Manager option

Step 3: Choose Update Driver option -> Select option Search automatically for updated driver software.

Update Driver option

Step 4: Once Windows finds the latest drivers, update them.

Alternatively, you can take the help of a professional Driver Updater Software to automatically replace current faulty drivers with the latest and most compatible versions.

We hope this guide has helped you easily recover lost data. We would love to hear back from you, so feel free to connect with us over mail at [email protected], or you can drop a message at our social media handle: Facebook!


1. How Do You Recover Hard Disk Data?

Step 1: Download and launch Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery software on the computer. Select an external or internal hard drive to initiate the recovery process.

Step 2: The software scans the disk for lost files.

Step 3: Once the scan is complete, a preview of lost files appears on the computer screen. Now, click the Restore button to obtain the files you need.

2. Why Is My Hard Disk Undetectable?

A drive gets corrupted due to improper use, or it has been used several times. Windows, thus, cannot recognize the hard drive.

  • The BIOS is not enabled on the HDD.
  • Erroneous jumper settings on the drive.
  • Serial ATA driver’s installation is missing.
  • Outdated drivers on Windows computer.
  • The old hard drive has been used several times and has corrupted due to a faulty USB port.
  • Unplugged or damaged data cable prevents the BIOS from detecting HDD.
  • The hard disk is dead.

3. How Do I Recover Files From A Hard Drive That Won’t Mount?

You can try using a professional data recovery solution to get back your lost files and folders in a few moments. The market has dozens of choices when it comes to file recovery. Check out the blog posts shared below for more help:

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