Fix: USB 3.0 External Drive not Detected in Windows 10, 8.1 and 7

Ivan Jenic By: Ivan Jenic
8 minute read

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

What to do if Windows 10 Doesn’t Detect External USB Drive

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 – According to users, sometimes your USB 3.0 port can’t recognize flash drives. If that’s the case, be sure to update your motherboard drivers.
  • External hard drive not showing up in Disk Management – If your external drive isn’t showing in Disk Management, the problem might be your cable. Try replacing your cable and check if that solves the problem.
  • WD, Toshiba USB 3.0 external hard drive not recognized – Many WD and Toshiba owners reported this problem with USB 3.0 drives. If you’re having this issue, be sure to update drivers and firmware for your drive.
  • USB 3.0 external drive not detected Seagate – This issue also affects Seagate devices, and if you’re having this issue, update your drivers and firmware and check if that solves the problem.
  • USB 3.0 external drive not detected laptop – Many users reported this issue after connecting the USB 3.0 drive to their laptop. In most cases, the issue is caused by outdated drivers.
  • External hard disk not showing, working – If your external disk isn’t working or showing, be sure to check if it’s properly formatted. In addition to formatting the drive, it’s also a good idea to set a different drive letter.
  • External drive not detected in BIOS – Several users reported that their external hard drive isn’t detected in BIOS. The cause of this problem is usually a faulty cable, but problems with the drive or the firmware can also cause this issue.

Solution 1 – 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 crated on it, therefore, Windows 10 won’t recognize it as a hard drive. 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.

To open Disk Management tool, go to Search, type diskmgmt.msc, and press Enter.
USB 3.0 external drive not detected laptop

If you see your external drive listed in the Disk Management window, you probably just need to format it properly, and it will show up next time you connect it to your computer. You can easily see if the drive is unpartitioned because it will be full of ‘unallocated space.”

To create a new partition on your drive, do the following:

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

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 Disk Management tool seems too complicated to use, there are third-party solutions that you can use to format your drive. Mini Tool Partition Wizard and Paragon Partition Manager are two simple applications that can help you format your drive with ease, so be sure to try them out.


Solution 2 – Disable USB selective suspend setting

Maybe the solution for your problem lays in the power settings, so try to do a couple of things there, and check if you can connect your USB hard drive again. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Search, type power management, and open Power & sleep settings.
    Toshiba USB 3.0 external hard drive not recognized
  2. Go to Additional power settings.
    USB 3.0 external drive not detected Seagate
  3. Click on Change plan settings, next to your selected power plan.
    USB 3.0 external drive not detected laptop
  4. Now go to 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.
    External drive not detected in BIOS

Now, restart your computer, and see if you’re able to connect your external USB drive again. Before you change your power settings, create a restore point, just in case something goes wrong.


Solution 3 – Edit your registry

The last thing we’re going to try is one registry fix. Here’s exactly what you need to do:

  1. Go to Device Manager.
  2. Under Universal Serial Bus Controllers, find USB Mass Storage Device. Right-click on it and go to Properties.
    USB 3.0 flash drive not recognized in USB 3.0 port
  3. Now, go to Details tab, and from Property, choose Device instance path. Right-click on the path, and choose Copy.
    USB 3.0 flash drive not recognized in USB 3.0 port
  4. Now, open Registry Editor.
  5. Go to the following path:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USB\VID_8564&PID_1000\5388DW3MEQ8HGRAX\Device Parameters
      External hard drive not showing up in Disk Management
    • Note: VID_8564&PID_1000\5388DW3MEQ8HGRAX is just an example, so you need to use the value that you got in Step 3.
  6. In the right pane of 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.

Solution 4 – 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. According to users, they managed to fix that problem simply by downloading the latest driver for USB 3.0 controller. This is relatively simple to do, and you can download the necessary driver right from your motherboard manufacturer’s website.


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Sometimes in order to fix the issue, you might need to update additional drivers. Doing this manually can be a long process, but there are tools that can automatically update all outdated drivers on your PC.

Download TweakBit’s Driver Updater Tool (approved by Microsoft and Norton) to do it automatically. This tool will help you to avoid permanent damage to your PC by downloading and installing the wrong driver versions.

Disclaimer: some functions of this tool are not free.


Solution 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.


Solution 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.


Solution 7 – Update your drive’s firmware

Many users reported that their external drive is recognized only when using 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 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 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.


Solution 8 – Update USB Attached SCSI (UAS) Mass Storage Device driver manually

Another way to fix the problem with USB 3.0 external drive is to manually update USB Attached SCSI (UAS) Mass Storage Device driver. This is rather simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu. Now choose Device Manager from the list.
    USB 3.0 external drive not detected laptop
  2. When Device Manager opens go to View and check Show hidden devices.
    External hard disk not showing
  3. Now locate USB Attached SCSI (UAS) Mass Storage Device, right click it and choose Update driver.
    External drive not detected in BIOS
  4. Choose 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.
    External hard drive not showing up in Disk Management
  6. Select Show All Devices and click Next.
    WD USB 3.0 external hard drive not recognized
  7. Select Mass Storage Device and click Next to install the driver.
    USB 3.0 external drive not detected Seagate

Once you update the driver, the issue should be resolved and you’ll be able to use your external drive with USB 3.0 port without any issues.


Solution 9 – Change the drive letter

If you’re still having problems with USB 3.0 external drive, you might be able to fix it simply by changing the drive letter. This is relatively simple, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Open Disk Management.
  2. When Disk Management tool opens, locate your external drive. Right click it and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths from the menu.
    External drive not detected in BIOS
  3. Click the Change button.
    USB 3.0 flash drive not recognized in USB 3.0 port
  4. Now select the desired letter from the dropdown menu and click on OK to save changes.
    External hard drive not showing up in Disk Management

After doing that, your external drive should be recognized and you’ll be able to use it.


Solution 10 – Reinstall your drivers

If your PC can’t detect USB 3.0 external drive, you might be able to fix the problem by reinstalling your drivers. To do that, just do the following:

  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.
    Toshiba USB 3.0 external hard drive not recognized
  4. Click the Uninstall button to confirm.
    USB 3.0 external drive not detected Seagate
  5. Now disconnect your drive and restart your PC.

When your PC restarts, 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, I hope at least one of these solutions helped you to solve the problem with USB 3.0 external hard drive. However, if you can connect your external drive to your computer, but it runs slow, check out this article.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


READ ALSO:

For various PC problems, we recommend this tool.

This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download this PC Repair Tool rated "Excellent" on TrustPilot.com.
  2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patented Technologies (requires upgrade).

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