USB 3.0 external drive not recognized in Windows 10

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • USB 3.0 drives are a lot faster and more reliable than the old 2.0 ones but if your Windows 10 doesn't recognize it, the gadget becomes useless.
  • There are many possible causes of this problem but usually, it's all about drivers and drive partitioning.
  • If you want to learn more about the universal serial bus, visit our USB section.
  • Explore our Tech Troubleshooting Hub for a myriad of guides and solutions.
How to fix USB 3.0 external drive not recognized in Windows 10

USB 3.0 hard drives are becoming more and more popular over the past few years. But, since the introduction of Windows 10, some users are having problems to connect their USB drives to the computer.

Affected users state that their USB 3.0 external drives are not detected in Windows 10.

So, we came up with a few solutions for this problem, and you can check them out below.

USB 3.0 drives offer high transfer speed, but many users reported issues with their USB 3.0 external drive. Speaking of issues, these are some of the common problems with external drives:

  • USB 3.0 flash drive not recognized in USB 3.0 port – Your USB 3.0 port can’t recognize flash drives, solved by updating your motherboard drivers.
  • External hard drive not showing up in Disk Management – Caused by your cable and can be solved by replacing it.
  • WD, Toshiba USB 3.0 external hard drive not recognized – Update the drivers and firmware for your drive.
  • USB 3.0 external drive not detected Seagate – Update your drivers and firmware and check if that solves the problem.
  • USB 3.0 external drive not detected laptop – Caused by outdated drivers, solved by updating them.
  • External hard disk not showing, working – Check if the hard disk is properly formatted. Set a different drive letter for it.
  • External drive not detected in BIOS – Usually caused by a faulty cable, but problems with the driver or the firmware can also cause this issue.

What can I do if Windows 10 doesn’t detect my USB 3.0 drive?

1. Update your USB 3.0 controller driver

If you can’t use your USB 3.0 external drive on your PC, the problem might be an outdated driver. That means you can fix the problem by downloading the latest driver for the USB 3.0 controller.

You can download the necessary driver right from your motherboard manufacturer’s website.

However, if you don’t know anything about your motherboard, here’s a list with the best software to get all the needed information.

It sounds easy but it’s really not for many users. That’s why we recommend using specialized software like DriverFix to update your drivers automatically.

First, download and install this awesome tool. After the installation, it will start automatically to scan your system for new, updated, or faulty drivers.

It will only take a couple of seconds and you will see the list of recommended drivers.

DriverFix automatically update driversNow the easiest way to go is to press the Update All button from the top and get on with the installation but you can install the drivers individually too.

You just need to click on the box corresponding to a driver and hit the Install or Update button from the right.

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2. Set the new partition on your removable drive

If you’re connecting your hard drive for the first time, there’s a chance that you don’t have any partitions created on it, therefore, Windows 10 won’t recognize it as a hard drive.

Thus, your USB 3.0 external drive will not be detected in Windows 10.

But your disk will be recognized by Windows’ Disk Management tool, so we’re going to check if Disk Management recognizes the external hard drive, and our future actions will depend on the results.

Use the Disk Management tool

  1. Type diskmgmt.msc in Windows Search and click on Disk Management.
  2. See if you can find your external drive listed in the Disk Management window.
  3. If it’s partitioned, you only need to format it by right-clicking on it and selecting Format.

Note: If you are sure that you have data on that drive try to connect it to another computer and back-up the data first. Formating will erase all data from the drive!

Create a new partition on your drive

  1. Right-click on the Unallocated space, and go to New Simple Volume.
    new simple volume disk management External hard disk not showing
  2. Set the size of the new volume, and you’re good to go.
  3. Re-connect your USB 3.0 hard disk drive with your computer, and it should be accessible.

Note: If even Disk Management can’t recognize the hard drive, your problem might be a little complicated.

First, try some basic solutions, like checking if the driver is up to date, or try to plug it into another USB port, in case you have a bad USB port.

If the Disk Management tool seems too complicated to use, there are third-party solutions that you can use to format your drive.

We recommend Paragon Partition Manager Advanced, a simple application that can help you format your drive with ease, so be sure to try it out.

This professional tool features integrated backup functions that allow you to save your data before working on a hard drive. That’s a very handy feature for unpredictable and unpleasant situations.

Partition Manager Advanced comes with many other functions for partitioning but it also optimizes your PC to use its resources efficiently.

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3. Disable the USB selective suspend setting

  1. Go to Search, type power management, and open Power & sleep settings.
  2. Go to Additional power settings.
    additional power settings USB 3.0 external drive not detected Seagate
  3. Click on Change plan settings, next to your selected power plan.
    change plan settings USB 3.0 external drive not detected laptop
  4. Go to Change advanced power settings.
    change advanced power settings External hard disk not working
  5. Under USB settings, find USB selective suspend setting, and set it to Disabled. Click Apply and OK to save changes.USB selective suspend disabled External drive not detected in BIOS
  6. Restart your computer, and see if you’re able to connect your external USB drive again.

Note: Before you change your power settings, create a restore point, just in case something goes wrong.


Having trouble creating a restore point? Here’s the complete guide for that


4. Edit your registry

  1. Go to Device Manager.
  2. Under Universal Serial Bus Controllers, find USB Mass Storage Device. Right-click on it and select Properties.
    device manager properties USB 3.0 flash drive not recognized in USB 3.0 port
  3. Go to Details tab, and from Property, choose Device instance path. Right-click on the path, and choose Copy.
    device instance path device manager USB 3.0 flash drive not recognized in USB 3.0 port
  4. Open Registry Editor.
  5. Go to the following path: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USB\VID\Device Parameters
    device parameters registry editor External hard drive not showing up in Disk Management

    • Note: VID_8564&PID_10005388DW3MEQ8HGRAX is just an example, so you need to use the value that you got in Step 4.
  6. In the right pane of the Device Parameters key look for the DWORD named EnhancedPowerManagementEnabled which must be showing its Value data as 1. If this value isn’t available, you might have to create it manually.
  7. Double-click on it, and change its value to 0. Click OK.
  8. Restart your computer and try to connect your drive again.

Note: If you can’t edit your Windows 10’s registry, read this handy guide and find the quickest solutions to the issue.


5. Disconnect your drive and go to BIOS

If USB 3.0 external drive isn’t detected in Windows 10, you might want to try this simple workaround. According to users, you just have to disconnect your drive, enter BIOS, and reconnect your drive.

After doing that, you can exit BIOS and start Windows 10 normally.

This sounds like an unusual solution, but few users reported that it worked for them, so you might want to try it out.

If you don’t know how to access the BIOS, here’s an expert guide on how to do that.


6. Try using a different cable

If your PC can’t detect USB 3.0 external drive, the problem might be related to your cable. According to users, they managed to fix this issue simply by replacing their cable.

If you’re having this problem, your cable might be broken, so be sure to replace it and check if that solves the issue.


7. Update your drive’s firmware

Many users reported that their external drive is recognized only when using a USB 2.0 port. If you’re having this problem, you might want to try updating your device’s firmware.

To update your firmware, you need to connect your external drive to a USB 2.0 port, download the latest firmware from the drive’s manufacturer and install it.

Once the firmware is installed, you should be able to use your external drive with a USB 3.0 port.

Keep in mind that firmware update is an advanced and potentially dangerous procedure, and if you don’t do it properly you might cause irreversible damage to your drive.


USB 3.0 not recognized on Windows 10? Don’t worry, we’ve got the right solution for you


8. Update the USB Attached SCSI (UAS) Mass Storage Device driver manually

  1. Press the Windows Key + X and choose Device Manager from the list.
    device manager win + x menu USB 3.0 external drive not detected laptop
  2. Go to View and check Show hidden devices.
    device manager show hidden devices External hard disk not showing
  3. Now locate USB Attached SCSI (UAS) Mass Storage Device, right-click it, and choose to Update Driver.
    update driver device manager External drive not detected in BIOS
  4. Choose to Browse my computer for driver software.
    browse my computer for driver software USB 3.0 flash drive not recognized in USB 3.0 port
  5. Click Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.
    let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer External hard drive not showing up in Disk Management
  6. Select Show All Devices and click Next.
    show all devices WD USB 3.0 external hard drive not recognized
  7. Select Mass Storage Device and click Next to install the driver.
    mass storage device USB 3.0 external drive not detected Seagate

9. Change the drive letter

  1. Open Disk Management.
  2. Locate your external drive, right-click it and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths from the menu.
    disk management change drive letter External drive not detected in BIOS
  3. Click the Change button.
    change button USB 3.0 flash drive not recognized in USB 3.0 port
  4. Select the desired letter from the dropdown menu and click on OK to save changes.
    assign the following drive letter External hard drive not showing up in Disk Management

10. Reinstall your drivers

  1. Connect your device to a USB 2.0 port.
  2. Open Device Manager.
  3. Locate the device in Device Manager, right-click it, and choose Uninstall device from the menu.
    uninstall device device manager Toshiba USB 3.0 external hard drive not recognized
  4. Click the Uninstall button to confirm.
    uninstall driver confirm USB 3.0 external drive not detected Seagate
  5. Disconnect your drive and restart your PC.
  6. Connect the drive to a USB 3.0 port. Windows will now recognize the device and install the appropriate driver for it.

That’s about it, we hope at least one of these solutions helped you to solve the problem with USB 3.0 external hard drive not being detected in Windows 10.

However, if you can connect your external drive to your computer, but it runs slow, check out this article.

If you have any other questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below and we’ll surely check them out.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in December 2015 and was revamped and updated in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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  • I had a similar issue to what you are describing. I have/had a 1Tb Seagate external hard drive that would make all the noises that it was running, but it the computer would not recognize it and it would not detect the HD. I tried numerous programs and even contacted Seagate (tried their free software) and their recommendation was to send the failed HD to them and they would recover my contents – for a fee (one arm, one leg and my first born child).

    I tried everything posted on ever forum you can find online; but when the computer can’t connect to the hard drive – it is pretty much impossible to recover the data.

    Here’s the thing – Do you know what an external hard drive is? It’s a hard drive. Depending on the size will determine whether it was designed for a laptop or a desktop, but really there is nothing else special. SATA connections to a USB then a cable.

    I ripped it open. Removed the HD, Plugged it into a desktop PC using the SATA connections and moved the data from that drive to another (just as if it was from one drive to the other). The USB hardware had failed – not the drive. I took photos of the process, but there was no special software, no dust free lab required – just a small screwdriver or a knife (don’t stab yourself). I hope that this helps you and anyone else that is trying to recover their information.

  • sorry for reviving dead threads, but when I go to create a new simple volume, the option is grey, not allowing me to click on it. What do I do?

  • Thanks, this haunted me with a couple of external hard drives, finally fixed it by creating New Simple Volume.