External Hardrive won't activated, initialize, respond to recovery software


TS Rookie
About six months ago I bought a WD My Book 2EE 4tb external hardrive to store data for a short film I shot this spring. After transferring data to the drive right away there started to be issues where data transfer would take hours for small files.

Now the drive isn't recognized by windows, it is listed as unallocated, and I cannot initialize it or run recovery software on it (tried EaseUS and a few others). Whenever I run data recovery of a lost partition, try rebuilding the MPR, or even attempt to initialize the drive so I can recover from there (this is an issue on both third party software and disk management) it fails.

The drive was dropped on set, not from very high, but still this is likely the cause. What is strange is that the drive just had slow transfer speed for weeks before these news issues began. Wondering if anyone has any solutions for this. A little bit desperate because a lot of my research for solutions doesn't account for these issues.


TS Ambassador
"WD My Book 4tb" (and its 3tb cousin) are known to be unreliable, while the 1-2tb are just fine


TS Enthusiast
Whenever there is “disk unknown not initialized” issue occurs, your hard drive may show unallocated space in Disk Management, and the data on which will be inaccessible or else there is another situation: there is no disk space shown in Disk Management.

There are a few possible reasons behind hard disk not initialized listed below. You can find out the real cause based on your own situation.

1. File system corruption.

2. Virus infection.

3. Bad blocks and sectors.

4. MBR damage.

5. Connection problem.

You can give a try to below mentioned 2 different methods to resolve the issue:

Method 1. Use Disk Management to fix not initialized error on external hard drive

1. Connect uninitialized external hard drive to your PC.

2. Press Win + R keys, type: diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter.

3. Find the uninitialized, unknown external hard drive with I/O device error > Right-click on it and select Initialize Disk.

4. Then set the disk to initialize and set disk as MBR or GPT.

After this, you may reboot your PC and keep all changes. Now, your external hard drive will be recognized and read by Windows again.

Method 2. Run CMD to repair I/O device error on not initialized external hard drive

This CMD command would erase all data on the uninitialized hard drive, which you can later restore after repairing the external hard drive not initialized, with the help of any data recovery or partition recovery software:

1. Press Win+R > Type: diskpart and hit Enter.
2. Type: list disk and hit Enter.
3. Type: select disk F and hit Enter; (replace F with the drive letter of an uninitialized external hard drive).
4. Type: clean and hit Enter.
5. Type: convert gpt or convert mbr and hit Enter.
6. Type: create partition primary and hit Enter.
7. Type: format quick fs=ntfs and hit Enter.
8. Type: assign and hit Enter.
9. Type: exit and hit Enter.

To recover your data from the drive you need help of a reliable data recovery software. There are many DIY data recovery software options available online, you can try free version of any software to test the software & results and later you can decide which one to opt for.

Hope this will help you.