How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Responding

This comprehensive guide provides solutions and recommendations for fixing external hard drives that are not responding. It includes troubleshooting steps, software recommendations, and answers to common questions related to this issue.

Nene Aly

By Nene Aly / Updated on March 5, 2024

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External hard drives are a convenient way to store and access large amounts of data. However, sometimes these drives may fail to respond, causing frustration and potential data loss. In this guide, we will explore how to fix an external hard drive that is not responding, including possible causes and solutions.

Understanding the Problem

When an external hard drive stops responding, it often means that the drive is inaccessible or fails to appear in the operating system. This can occur due to various reasons, such as:

  1. Physical damage to the drive
  2. Corrupted or outdated drivers
  3. Connection or power supply issues

Solution 1: Check Physical Connections

If your external hard drive is not responding, the first step is to check the physical connections. Follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the external hard drive from the computer
  2. Inspect the USB cable for any damage
  3. Connect the drive to a different USB port
  4. Try connecting the drive to a different computer
  5. Replace the USB cable if necessary

Solution 2: Update or Reinstall Drivers

Outdated or corrupted drivers can cause an external hard drive to stop responding. To update or reinstall the drivers:

  1. Open the Device Manager (Windows) or System Profiler (Mac)
  2. Locate the external hard drive in the list
  3. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) on the drive and select 'Update driver' or 'Reinstall driver'
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process
  5. Restart your computer after the driver update/reinstallation

Solution 3: Data Recovery and Formatting

If the above solutions don't work, there could be a problem with the file system or partition on your external hard drive. To recover data and format the drive:

  1. Use data recovery software to extract important files from the drive
  2. Create a backup of the recovered files on a different storage device
  3. Format the external hard drive using Disk Management (Windows) or Disk Utility (Mac)
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to format the drive
  5. Copy back the recovered files to the formatted drive

Software Recommendations

When trying to fix an external hard drive that is not responding, you can consider using the following software:

1. MyRecover

Pros: User-friendly interface, supports various file formats, deep scan options: Free version has limited data recovery capacity features: Allows for selective file recovery, preview before recovery how to use: Download and install MyRecover, launch the software, select the external drive, scan for lost data, preview and recover the desired files.


Q: Why is my external hard drive not showing up?

A: There could be several reasons for this issue. Make sure the drive is properly connected, check for driver issues, and try different USB ports/computers to troubleshoot the problem.

Q: Can I recover data from a non-responsive external hard drive?

A: Yes, using data recovery software like MyRecover mentioned above, you can recover data from a non-responsive external hard drive. However, if the drive is physically damaged, professional help may be required.

Q: How long does it take to recover data from a non-responsive external hard drive?

A: The time required to recover data depends on various factors, such as the size of the drive, the level of data corruption, and the speed of your computer. It can range from a few minutes to several hours.


Dealing with an external hard drive that is not responding can be frustrating, but with the right troubleshooting steps and software, you can often fix the issue and recover your data. Ensure you check physical connections, update/reinstall drivers, and consider using data recovery software like MyRecover. Remember to back up your important files regularly to prevent data loss.


1. File System: The method and structure used by an operating system to store, organize, and retrieve files on a storage device.

2. Partition: A division of a physical storage device that appears as a separate logical drive and is treated as an independent storage unit by the operating system.

3. Data Recovery: The process of retrieving lost, deleted, or corrupted data from a storage device using specialized software or hardware techniques.


  1. Regularly check the health of your external hard drives to identify any potential issues early on.
  2. Backup important files on multiple storage devices to avoid data loss in case of drive failure.
  3. Avoid sudden disconnection of external hard drives, as it can lead to file system corruption.
Nene Aly
Nene Aly · Editor