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External Hard Drive Not Recognized

If you own an external hard drive then you must be used to simply plugging it in, and having an autoplay window open up so that you can choose which action you wish to take. But would you know what to do if the computer displayed the message External hard drive not recognized? This could be happening due to a number of reasons, and this is where the process of elimination will come in handy.

It's not uncommon to come across this problem once in a while, irrespective of which computer operating system you are using. After all, all computer hardware gives some trouble from time to time, and all that matters is that you know how to get around the situation and find a solution.

Possible Solutions

The very first thing that you should try doing is disconnect the hard drive, and then reconnect it. Sometimes the computer may not recognize the drive at first, but will do so at the second time of asking. This is especially true in cases when the autoplay window pops up, but the hard drive is not listed out in the My Computer section (for Windows) or the Finder (for Mac). Different types of hard drives can require different actions in order to make them recognizable.

Another solution to the problem of 'external hard disk not recognized' is to unplug the device and plug it into another USB port on the machine. It could so happen that the port you first used was not functional or too slow, so this could also solve your problem. These are both very simple solutions, and in most cases they will work. But in certain scenarios the problem could run deeper and could require a more complicated solution as well.

Other solutions to this problem include plugging the hard drive into another machine, reconnecting the power source of the hard drive if it has one and reinstalling the drivers of the hard drive. The problem of external hard drive not recognized is something that will be solved by reinstalling the device drivers in most cases. The drivers for the hard drive would have been installed the first time you plugged in the hard drive, so this is not a bad idea. Once you are done reinstalling these drivers there is a greater chance that the hard drive will be recognized.

Another way to check for the problem is to go to My Computer, right click on it and then select 'Properties', then select the tab 'Hardware' and then click on 'Device Manager'. You will see a list of all peripherals that are attached to the computer, and if the external hard drive has a yellow symbol in front of it, it implies that there is something wrong with the device drivers. This is one of the best ways to understand the problem of an unrecognized external hard drive on machines running on Windows operating system. So if you're looking for solutions to external hard drive not recognized on Windows Vista, external hard drive not recognized on Windows 7 or even on Windows XP for that matter, this information should suffice.

If you are using a Mac and the aforementioned options do not work for you, you should know all about hard drive formatting. Windows OS uses two formats which are FAT32 or NTFS. Macs use Mac OS X Journaled formats. These two formats are incompatible, so a Windows formatted hard drive will not be recognized on a Mac. You will need to reformat the hard drive on the Mac for future use. Unfortunately this will erase all the data on the device, so you will need to make a backup of the data. So if you're facing the problem of external hard drive not recognized on Mac, you know what to do.

All these solutions should serve you well. If the problem of external hard drive not recognized still persists, then you can visit a computer repair store and have them help you out.

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