Are you troubled by the issue of “hard drive not showing up”? This article shows you how to solve this problem. Also, this post tells you how to recover lost data from the hard drive not showing up with a piece of professional data recovery software.

The Hard Drive Not Showing Up

The hard drive containing massive important data is not showing up in My Computer or Windows Explorer? It is believed that many users have encountered this situation. Let's see a true example from

My 2nd hard drive isn't showing up on my computer. The hard drive was a slave I took out of my old XP machine after it crashed. I had installed it into my new vista machine before and it was working, but then I had to reinstall the OS and ever since then it has not shown up. I have double-checked to make sure it was set as a slave drive and it is. It shows up in the Bios, the device manager, and in Disk Management, just not on my computer. Nothing is showing up as unallocated in Disk Management and the drive says it's healthy. In the Device Manager, it says the device is working properly. I've tried to just give it a drive letter in Disk Management, but when I right-click on it the only option I have is Help. I've also tried to update the drivers, and it says they are up to date. I've tried disabling and enabling the hard drive. I've even tried uninstalling it. When I restarted it did detect it and reinstalled the drivers, but I still can't get it to show up on my computer.

Why does a hard drive (external hard drive or USB hard drive) not show up in My Computer or Windows Explorer? Do you know how to deal with this issue? Besides, can you recover data from the hard drive when it is not showing up? To solve these problems, please keep reading.

Recover Data From Hard Drive Not Showing Up

Before fixing the "hard drive not showing up" issue, you had better recover data on it at first. Otherwise, the original data saved on the drive which is not showing up may be lost permanently.

Now you are probably wondering:

"How do I effectively recover data from the hard drive when it is not showing up?"

Right now, the best data recovery software - MiniTool Power Data Recovery is recommended. It is a professional, reliable, and easy-to-use tool that can help you recover many files (emails, pictures, documents, videos, etc.) in all file storage devices. And it supports recovering data of no more than 1 GB for free.

Now, let’s see the detailed steps to recover files from the hard drive that not showing up.

Step 1. Download and install MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

Free Download

Step 2. Launch this professional tool to get its main interface as follows.

the main interface of MiniTool Power Data Recovery

Here 2 data recovery modules are listed in the main interface of this all-in-one data recovery software.

  • Logical Drives show all partitions on this PC, including all partitions on the local disk, external hard disk, and removable disk drive. At the same time, lost partitions and unallocated space are also included here.
  • Devices display all devices on your PC, including external hard drives, USB disks, and CDs/DVDs.

Step 3. Here, you can keep the default module - Logical Drives. Then select the target hard drive which is not showing up in Windows Explorer, and then click the Scan button.

select the target drive to scan

Wait for the full scanning completes to get the best recovery result. Now you can filter found files by file type, file size, file category, and date modified. For example, if you only want to see the pictures, you can just choose Picture as shown below.

filter found files

Step 4. Finally, preview and select all needed files, then click Save to store them. It is recommended to store needed files on another drive. Otherwise, the original data will be overwritten.

save all needed files

Tip: The free edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery can only recover data no more than 1 GB. If you need to recover more data, please choose the full edition. Here you can see the License Comparison.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery effectively recovered data from the drive not showing up in My Computer. I guess it also can help you find missing data.Click to Tweet

Why Hard Drive Isn't Showing Up and How to Fix It

According to a questionnaire survey, many factors can cause the "hard drive not showing up" issue, including mistaken operation, computer virus invasion, hard drive letter missing, and so on.

Now let us see the detailed cases of hard drives not showing up and the corresponding solutions.

Case 1 - Hard Drive Is Not Initialized

Once the hard drive shows as uninitialized, you cannot see it in Windows Explorer and cannot access its files. And many reasons (such as virus invasion, master boot record corruption, bad sectors, and so on) can lead to the disk not initialized issue.


To solve this issue, you can right-click the uninitialized disk, and then choose Initialize Disk to initialize it. After this process, you can use it again.

initialize disk

Note: During the initializing process, you will be asked to initialize the disk to an mbr disk or gpt disk, as shown below. In this case, you can choose the appropriate partition style according to your actual needs.

select the partition style

Recommended post: How to Convert MBR to GPT without Data Loss in Windows 7/8/10

Case 2 - Hard Drive Letter Is Missing

A drive letter is a single alphabetic character A through Z that has been assigned to a physical drive or drive partition in the computer. If you want to see your hard drive in My Computer or Windows Explorer, you should assign it with a drive letter. Once the drive letter is missing, you will encounter the "hard drive not showing up" issue.

a partition without a drive letter


To solve this problem, you need to assign it a drive letter. Windows built-in Disk Management as well as partitioning software like MiniTool Partition Wizard can help you to add a new drive letter on it. You can get missing drive letters back in Windows by referring to this post: 5 Ways to Get the Missing Drive Letters Back in Windows.

Case 3 - Hard Drive Is Hidden

Now, some users turn to third-party software like MiniTool Partition Wizard to hide their hard drives to protect data. However, once a drive containing massive important data is hidden, what should you do when this drive isn't showing up in Windows Explorer?


If you hide a drive by mistake, you can recover data using MiniTool Power Data Recovery from the hidden drive first of all, and then delete the volume in Disk Management so as to create a new one.

Step 1. Right-click the Windows logo key and select Disk Management.

Step 2. Find and right-click the partition that needs to be deleted and choose Delete Volume.

delete volume

Step 3. Click Yes to confirm to delete this partition.

Note: Alternatively, you can try using MiniTool Partition Wizard to show hidden hard drives in Windows without losing data because this tool can help you hide/unhide partitions conveniently and safely.

Case 4 - Hard Drive Becomes Unallocated

Sometimes your hard drives may become unallocated due to various reasons. Let's start with a true example:

My external USB 3.0 HD was working perfectly well yesterday. However, today suddenly became an "unallocated" drive without even a drive name. I'm able to detect the drive but I have no way of accessing it.

The only solution that I've tried so far is to access the HD with another computer. But the results are the same with those computers. I haven't done anything else...

Here's a screenshot of the problem:

unallocated partition


If your hard disk space turns unallocated, you are allowed to create new volumes on this disk and make them appear in Windows Explorer. However, this solution will cause data loss forever. So, please make sure you have recovered data from the unallocated drive ahead of doing anything else.

Case 5 - External Hard Drive Is Not Recognized

There's also another situation where the hard drive (especially an external hard drive like USB hard drive) is not showing up in My Computer or Windows Explorer. And, you will receive a warning saying the device is not recognized. 

This issue can be caused by various reasons, including the currently loaded USB driver becoming unstable or corrupt.


In the previous posts, we discussed how to fix the external hard drive not recognized error and how to fix USB Flash Drive Not Recognized & Recover Data. You can solve the “drive not recognized” issue by applying the methods listed in these posts.

Case 6 - Hard Drive Has Wrong File System

If your hard drive is partitioned with the wrong File System, you cannot see it in My Computer or Windows Explorer. For example, you may have formatted the drive with the ext4 file system from Linux or the HFS Plus file system from a Mac. Windows can't read these file systems.


To solve this issue, you can format the hard drive with the ntfs file system or FAT32 file system so that Windows will be able to recognize it.

Can Data be Recovered After Low-Level Formatting a Drive?
Can Data be Recovered After Low-Level Formatting a Drive?

Can data be recovered after a low-level format? How to recover files after low-level format? This article shows you the answers.

Read More

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Now, after reading this post, I believe you have already known how to fix hard drive not showing up. Should you have any questions or suggestions about “Hard drive is not showing up in My Computer or Windows Explorer”, please feel free to send your emails to [email protected]. Protection Status

Hard Drive Not Showing Up FAQ

Why is my HDD not being detected?

  1. The hard drive is not initialized.
  2. The hard drive letter is missing.
  3. The hard drive is hidden.
  4. The hard drive becomes unallocated.
  5. The hard drive has the wrong file system.

How to fix hard drive not showing up on my computer?

  1. Recover data on the hard drive.
  2. Initialize the hard drive.
  3. Assign a drive letter for the hard drive.
  4. Unhide the hard drive.
  5. Create new volumes in the hard drive.
  6. Format the hard drive.

Why is my USB Drive not showing up?

If the drive letter of your USB flash drive is missing, the USB drive is damaged, and your computer not recognizing your USB drive, you may encounter the USB drive not showing up issue. You can go to Disk Management to check the status of your USB drive, and then fix this issue using the solutions above.

How do I recover data from a hard drive that doesn't show up?

You can use a piece of professional data restore tool to scan your drive and recover files on it. Then try the methods listed above to fix the hard drive not showing up issue.

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