6 Quick Ways to Fix Hard Drive Not Showing Up in File Explorer

11 minutes read

Have you ever encountered a frustrating scenario where your hard drive is not showing up in File Explorer, leaving you puzzled and anxious about potential data loss? You’re not alone. The issue of a hard drive not showing up in File Explorer is a common headache for many users that often occurs for various reasons. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll understand this problem thoroughly, provide insightful troubleshooting steps, and help you recover your data.

Written By
Updated On

When your hard drive does not show up in File Explorer, it can disrupt your workflow, jeopardize crucial data, and leave you searching for answers. This issue can be daunting, regardless of your level of technical expertise. However, our comprehensive guide aims to simplify and address this problem by exploring the causes and providing solutions to fix hard drive not showing up.

In this guide, we'll discuss the common culprits behind a hard drive's disappearance, ranging from outdated or corrupted drivers to connection issues and partition problems. You'll find step-by-step troubleshooting procedures, tips on checking Device Manager and Disk Management, and additional considerations for data recovery.

So, whether you're a tech-savvy enthusiast seeking solutions or a casual user looking for answers, join us as we uncover why your hard drive is not showing up in File Explorer and discover the practical steps to bring it back into view.

Why is my Hard Drive not Showing up in File Explorer?

  1. Outdated or Corrupted Drivers:
    The Culprit:
    Stale or corrupted drivers serve as silent disruptors, causing your hard drive to go missing in File Explorer.
    Insight: Regular driver updates are the unsung heroes of a smoothly functioning computer. When neglected, outdated or corrupted drivers can create a communication breakdown between your operating system and the hard drive.
  2. Connection Issues:
    The Culprit:
    Unstable connections, loose cables, or power irregularities can sever the essential link between your hard drive and the system.
    Insight: A thorough examination of cables, connections, and stable power sources is required. Sometimes, addressing the basics resolves the most intricate problems.
  3. Partition and Formatting Problems:
    The Culprit:
    Anomalies in the hard drive's partition or formatting can lead to drives getting unrecognized by the computer.
    Insight: The way your hard drive is set up and formatted is important. If it's not done correctly, it can cause problems with your computer.
    Now that you are aware of why your hard drive is not showing up in File Explorer, let's go ahead and try to fix the issue.

Troubleshooting Solutions to Fix Hard Drive not Showing Up in File Explorer

1. Update or Reinstall Drivers:

Follow the steps mentioned below to update disk drivers to make your hard drive show up in File Explorer.

  • Open the Device Manager.
open device manager
  • Locate the hard drive under "Disk Drives."
  • Select "Update driver" and follow the on-screen instructions to update the drivers.
Update the drivers of hard drive

2. Check and Secure Connections:

  • Power down your system and disconnect the hard drive.
  • Inspect cables for damage and ensure secure connections.
  • Reconnect the hard drive, restart your system, and check File Explorer.

3. Enable Drive Via Device Manager

  • Open Device Manager and look for any unrecognized devices.
  • Select the Drive and click on Properties, navigate to the Driver tab, and select Enable Device.
  • If the hard drive is listed with an error, right-click and choose the appropriate action, such as updating drivers or uninstalling/reinstalling.

This should help you fix the issue of the drive not showing up on File Explorer.

4. Clean the Drive using DiskPart to fix the Missing Drive in File Explorer

Caution: The "clean" command will completely erase all data, partitions, and drive types. The drive will appear blank, with an unknown label and an uninitialized state. Before proceeding with this operation, it is strongly advised to employ data recovery software to retrieve data from the undetected drive.

To launch Command Prompt with administrator privileges, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard.
  • Type "Command Prompt" in the search bar.
  • Right-click on the "Command Prompt" result that appears at the top of the list.
  • Select the "Run as administrator" option from the context menu.
Open command prompt as administrator
  • To launch the diskpart tool, type the following command and press Enter: diskpart
type diskpart
  • To list the available disks, type the following command and press Enter: list disk
type list disk to list the connected drives
  • To select the hard drive that is not showing up in File Explorer, type the following command and press Enter: select disk 1
select the disk
  • Ensure the correct drive is selected in the command. Selecting the wrong drive may result in unintended data erasure from another storage device, which cannot be reversed.
  • To completely erase the drive, enter the following command and press Enter: Clean
type clean to erase the drive
  • To create a partition using the available space, input the command "create partition primary" and press Enter.
type create partition primary
  • Input the command "select partition 1" to choose the newly created partition and press Enter.
type command select partition 1
  • Set the partition as active by inputting the command "active" and pressing Enter.
Set the partition as active
  • Input the command "format FS=NTFS" and press Enter to format the partition with the NTFS file system.
format the partition with the NTFS
  • Input the command "assign letter=" to assign a drive letter and press Enter.
assign a drive letter
  • Note: In the last command, replace "" with a drive letter not currently in use.
  • To close Diskpart, type the following command and press Enter: exit

Once these steps are completed, the hard drive will be assigned a new drive letter and will be accessible in File Explorer.

5. Assign a Drive Letter:

Assigning a drive letter can make your hard drive appear on File Explorer. Follow the steps mentioned below to make your hard drive appear on File Explorer.

  • Type Disk Management in the Search Bar and launch Disk Management.
  • Select Create and format hard disk partitions
open Create and format hard disk partitions
  • Right-click on hard drive and select “Change the Drive Letter and Paths
choose Change the Drive Letter and Paths
  • Click on Add to assign a new drive letter or Change existing drive letter. Choose the drive letter from the drop-down list and click on ok exit.
click on Add

Restart the computer and check whether your external or internal hard drive is showing up in File Explorer.

6. Initialize the Disk:

If none of the above steps worked for you can try initializing the disk from Disk Management. Follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Open Disk Management and click on hard drive or external hard drive and click on Initialize Disk.
  • Select the drive that needs to be initialized, choose the desired partition type( MBR or GPT), and click ok.
  • After initializing the disk, restart your computer and check whether the hard drive is showing up in File Explorer.

If any of the mentioned steps don’t help you fix the issue, you can boot your system in Safe Mode and check if the hard drive is visible in File Explorer. If visible, it suggests a potential third-party software conflict.

Note: The only last resort for the undetected hard drive in File Explorer is to make use of data recovery software to recover your data.

Introducing Remo Recover for Windows – your trusted solution to effortlessly recover data from an undetected hard drive in File Explorer. Take advantage of this incredible software with a risk-free trial. No commitments, no limitations. Begin your data recovery journey by downloading the software now. Take control of your lost files and restore them with ease.

Recover Data from Hard Drive not Detected in File Explorer

  • Connect the undetected hard drive to the computer.
  • Now, Launch the Remo Recover Windows on your system, select the hard drive, and click on the Scan option.
Select the Drive from which you want to recover data

Note: If you are unable to find the hard drive, click on the Can’t Find Drive? Option.

  • Once the scan starts, you can click on the Dynamic Recovery View to recover your files and folders from your unrecognized hard drive during the scanning process.
Click on Dynamic Recovery View
  • After completion of the scanning process, a list of recovered files is displayed under the Lost and Found folder or Lost Partition folder.
Recovered files
  • You can preview all the recovered files, such as photos, videos, excel files, etc using the Preview feature for free.
Preview of files from Remo Recover
  • If you are satisfied with the recovery results, select the files that you want to restore and hit the Recover button to save them at your desired location.


In conclusion, there are several potential causes for a hard drive not showing up in File Explorer, ranging from incorrect formatting to driver issues or physical damage. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you can identify the root cause of the problem and take the necessary actions to resolve it.
Remember, if none of the troubleshooting steps work, it is important to seek professional help or consider using specialized data recovery software to ensure the safety and integrity of your valuable data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is My New External Hard Drive not Showing Up in File Explorer?

If your new external hard drive isn't visible in File Explorer, check the following:

1. Ensure proper connection: Verify that the cables connecting the hard drive to your computer are secure.
2. Initialize the drive: For new hard drives, use Disk Management (press Windows Key + R, type "diskmgmt.msc," and press Enter) to initialize it.
3. Assign a drive letter: In Disk Management, right-click on the hard drive and choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths" to assign a drive letter.
4. Update device drivers: Check the manufacturer's website for the latest drivers.
5. Check BIOS settings: Configure BIOS to recognize the hard drive if needed.
6. Test different USB ports: If using USB, connect to a different port on your computer.
If none of these steps help, the hard drive might be defective and may need to be replaced.

Why is My WD Hard Drive not showing up in File Explorer?

A WD hard drive not appearing in File Explorer can be due to improper connections, insufficient power supply, or outdated drivers. Checking cables and ports, verifying power sources, and updating drivers can resolve the issue. If the problem persists across multiple computers, the hard drive may be faulty, necessitating manufacturer contact.

I Can See Hard Drive in Disk Management but not in File Explorer?

Potential solutions to the invisible hard drive issue:
1. Refresh: Refresh Disk Management and File Explorer.
2. Assign Drive Letter:
Open Disk Management.
Right-click on the hard drive and select "Change Drive Letter and Paths."
Assign an unused drive letter.
3. Update Drivers:
- Check for storage controller or chipset driver updates in Device Manager.
4. Check Disk for Errors:
- Right-click on the hard drive and select "Properties."
- Go to the "Tools" tab and click "Check" to scan and repair errors.
5. Rescan for Hardware Changes:
- Open Device Manager.
- Click on the "Action" menu and select "Scan for hardware changes."
If the issue persists, consider contacting the manufacturer for assistance.

About the Author: John Harris

With a decade of experience in data recovery, John Harris, Senior Editor at Remo Software, is your go-to specialist. His focus includes partition management, Windows solutions, and data troubleshooting, delivering insightful content that serves both users and search engines. John's expertise shines through in illuminating blog posts, untangling data loss intricacies across diverse storage platforms.…