What to do if your external hard drive does not show in my computer


Posts: 13,141   +6,439
BTW...I forgot to mention. When it sees the drive it changed the drives name and now shows as (G) Local Drive
It is an external drive which suggest the drive is occasionally removed, of course the drive letter will change. Especially if D through F are currently assigned when re-connecting the external.

My current configuration:
  1. C: - Boot
  2. D: - Data
  3. IJKL: - Media Reader
  4. M: - CD/DVD/BD Recorder
I do have an external that I have assigned drive letter B. Since using B as a designation, seems to be a thing of the past for floppy designation. I don't feel so badly about using for my main external disk drive.

EFGH are open for any other external media, the drive letters will be assigned depending on which drive letters are available at the time. If there is already one device connected, chances are that device will be E and the next will be assigned F.


Posts: 7   +0
PhotoRec Seems to recovering???

It did actually find the correct partition with the correct name. When I look at the files the names are changed.

Never having needed this is that the best I can expect?

If the partition is the problem but...

Did not support the drive for whatever reason are ther other tools that may correct the partition error and recover the drive intact?


Posts: 6,429   +186
IMO A good practice: After pluging in your USB disk or flash drive, go to Disk Management. Assign it a label AND assign it a drive letter at the high end of the alphabet.
  • Windows should remember the drive letter and reassign it each time you plug it back in and re-assign it. (Windows forgets a drive letter when a device is uninstalled, but not when just unplugged)
  • This also avoids drive letter conflicts/collisions (caused when you re-plug a device that had been assigned a drive letter currently in use!)
  • I also find the consistent drive letters for devices helpful


Posts: 13,141   +6,439
In my opinion thinking of files on a portable/removable device as drive letters is bad practice.

If you go to another machine chances are it will not have the same drive letter assignment. Assigning drive letters to a portable/removable device is aching to wishing it wasn't portable/removable. If you want to make the device permanent, that is fine. Thats basically what I did by assigning B for my 500GB external drive. But I choose to see all my other devices, as devices that will take the first available drive letter when attached. Because that is exactly, the way a new machine will see the device.


Posts: 6,429   +186
are ther other tools that may correct the partition error and recover the drive intact?
Yes. And it's from the same people who offer PhotoRec

re: Photrec It has a method to try and recover file content (but the file names are separate and it seems not able to recover that - thus none of the old file names)

For partition recovery, next try TestDisk. It has a different drive naming convention. I suggest you run it the first WITHOUT the drive plugged in just to see names it assigns your existing drives. Then when you run it with drive plugged in,you can recognized which one it is.

There's a step by step guide HERE but for a Windows machine you should be able to simply hit Enter each prompt and use default values. DO be sure to verify it recognizes the disk size correctly before you proceed past that prompt screen.


Posts: 7   +0
Great News!

Well I was able to use TestDisk to recover my data. I didn't bother to attempt to repair the partition because when copying the data INTACT (file names and all) was an option, I took that option. As of now we have 1 TB recovered and 2 left.

THANK YOU! I can't begin to tell you how much of a mess it would have been to rebuild all that information.

Lastly, sinse this happened due to a power outage it has become extremely important to purchase a UPC Back-Up. Any recommendations on a brand?


Posts: 6,429   +186
WoooHooo! Glad to hear the good news!

I happen to have a "smart" UPS from APC (It provides a USB connection to my NAS drive telling it to shutdown 2 minutes prior if UPS should also run out of power)

But you might be best to create a new post in the Other Hardware forum to solicit opinion/advice recommendations from others about this topic

I also have a problem with my external hard drive. I have a 1TB RiDATA external hard drive. It worked fine for about 3-4 weeks already. I was able to store files, etc. I had it plugged on my laptop earlier while I was watching a movie. I paused the movie then I hibernated my laptop.

When I turned my laptop on again, somehow it wen't into system resume. I must have closed it when it wasn't yet into the hibernate mode. My external hard drive won't show anymore. It keeps saying 'installing device driver software' when I plug it in, then it would say that the device installed successfully but it doesn't show on My Computer at all. Tried plugging it on and off loads of times already on two different laptops and I still can't access it. I also tried the Disk Management thing but it says that there's no disk in the drive even if my hard drive's plugged in.
I have the same prob..butt the drive does not show under disk mgmt.. no sound on plug in. no new devices found upon search. using generic case w/ samsung hd. no identifies on case as to mfg. could the board inside the case need a driver my system cannot locate? any assistance would be helpful. drive powers up in case and spins. it is not being detected in dev mgr.
Easy to FIX

Right click on my computer
You should see your ext hard drive under the list.
Right click on it, and choose CHANGE DRIVE LETTER
Choose anything, but I recommand something higher than M:

I've seen this problem with alot of STORAGE DEVICE

It happen more often with Laptop because they usually have Card reader.
So it makes couple drives like e:, f:, g:.
Storage device tries to install themself with the drive letter next to CDROM
c: - HD1
d: - HD2 or CDROM
e: - Mass storage device (maybe for card readers)
So your external HD tries to have the E: drive (probably a bug)

See ya
Okay, but what if my drive doesent show up in the disk management, note my drive is an internal HDD in an external enclosure.the light turns on, but my computer shows 0 recognition. thanks
Hi guys I m not able to find my pendrive and my phone that I connected to my lappy... here is the one of the snap which I found in device section.. but not on computer


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Posts: 1,020   +56
One 'trick' that can make a great deal of difference to USB port powered hard drives, is to use a USB cable with a double plugs, and to plug into 2 USB ports, so that the drive can get more current from the pc.


Posts: 1,020   +56
One way to get to 'Disc management' in Win 10 is;
*Click on Windows logo (lower left screen)
*Click on 'File explorer'
*In the left hand list of locations, right-click on 'This PC'
*Left click on 'Manage'
*Left click on 'Disc management' in the left hand column.
I see my external drive but their is one or more that are unallocated
Do I need to have a difference letter for each one or is there a way to just have the whole thing under one.
Also three ofor them have the same file amount
Two are primary partition one unallocated
Please help