How to fix external hard drive not showing up on Mac and Windows?

Posted by Tim to Data Recovery on January 5th, 2020

I've been using my external hard drive a lot of times before on my Windows 10, but it doesn't ppear in This PC. Can anyone help?

External hard drive is a cheap way to expand storage space without having to replace the internal hard drive. Just connect it via USB cable and it will show up in Desktop. Then you can save, edit and do whatever you like with it.

However, a lot of users report the issue in Apple or Microsoft support communities about Seagate and WD external hard drive not showing up on Mac or Windows. Under this circumstance, you are unable to access external hard drive. Just remain calm, here are some troubleshooting tips to fix external hard drive not showing up on Mac or Windows.

How to fix external hard drive not showing up on Windows 10/8/7?

1. Check the connection, USB port and USB cable

Even if this solution is foolproof but it turns out to be one of the most efficient solutions, you can simply check it by using another USB port, cable, computer to connect this external hard drive.

2. Check This PC or My Computer in Windows 10/8/7

Double click This PC or My Computer on the desktop, you will open This PC or My Computer and then see all storage devices. If your external hard drive is showing up but it is not accessible, you need to fix inaccessible external hard drive first.

If your external hard drive is not showing up in This PC or My Computer, please go to next check (Disk Management).

3. Check Disk Management in Windows 10/8/7

Sometimes, your external hard drive is not showing up on your Windows computer. In this situation, you need to check if it is showing up in Disk Management with following method:

Step 1: Right-click on My Computer/This PC and choose Manage.

Step 2: Expand Storage and choose Disk Management, you will see all storage devices connected to this Windows computer.

If your external hard drive is showing up in Windows Disk Management, but it is not showing up in This PC or My Computer, it means your external hard drive has been corrupted, you need to recover lost data from corrupted hard drive first.

If your external hard drive is not showing up in Windows Disk Management, please go to next check (Device Manager).

4. Check Device Manager in Windows 10/8/7

Sometimes, your external hard drive is not showing up in Windows Disk Management. In this situation, you need to check if it is showing up in Device Manager with following method:

Step 1: Right-click on My Computer/This PC and choose Manage.

Step 2: Double click Device Manager and expand Disk drives in the left sidebar, you will see if your external hard drive is showing up.

If your extenral hard drive is showing up in Windows Device Manager but not in Disk Management, your extertal hard drive should has hardware issue so that Windows is unable to recognize it. In this situation, you need to ask for help from a professional.

If your external hard drive is not showing up in Windows Device Manager either, please connect it to another computer and have a check.

How to fix external hard drive not showing up on Mac?

Quick tips to fix external hard drive not showing up on Mac

  • Restart your Mac computer and try connecting the external hard drive again.
  • Update your Mac to the latest macOS version and try again.
  • In some cases, this issue might happen due to the unsupported file system - Windows NTFS file system. You can install NTFS for Mac to read and write to NTFS drives.

Solution 1: Access the external hard drive in /Volumes/ folder

All connected and mounted volumes will show up in the /Volumes/ folder. Launch Finder and in the menu bar, select Go > "Go to Folder…" and type the external drive path what appears under Disk Utility (Ex: /Volumes/mydisk) and hit Enter. You will be taken to a folder that shows you all mounted drives and disk images. If the external hard drive can be found here, try accessing it.

Solution 2: Show external hard drive in Finder

If your external hard drive is not showing up in Finder but visible in Disk Utility, you might have not selected external disks to show up in the Finder. Follow these steps below to set the preference:

Go to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar and make sure the "External disks" under "Locations" is ticked. Then your external hard drive will appear in Finder.

Show external hard drive in Finder

Solution 3: Mount the external hard drive

If the external hard drive shows up in disk utility but won't mount, the drive still won't show up in Finder. To mount it, you can open Disk Utility, highlight the external hard drive from the left sidebar, and then click the "Mount" button.

Solution 4: Run First Aid to check the external hard drive for errors

First Aid is a built-in macOS tool to check minor errors and repair them on hard disks if necessary. Here are steps to check your external hard drive for errors:

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility.

Step 2: Highlight the grayed out external hard drive.

Step 3: Select First Aid in the top center and select Run to perform hard disk diagnostics and fix any issues.

Repair the external hard drives via First Aid

Solution 5: Reformat the external hard drive

If none of these solutions above can fix the issue, the last way is to reformat the external hard drive. But this operation will erase all data stored on the drive. Before that, you'd better apply a professional data recovery software to get your drive backed up.

Step 1: Recover lost data from external hard drive that is not showing up in Finder

M3 Mac Data Recovery is a free external hard drive data recovery software that can recover help you recover lost data from unmounted, unreadable, formatted, corrupted, inaccessible external hard drives on macOS Catalina 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12/10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8.

Furthermore, M3 Mac Data Recovery recovers more than 500+ file formats including photos, documents, videos, audios, and emails and support recovering from internal hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, memory cards, CF cards, etc.

Tutorial to recover lost data from corrupted external hard drive with M3 Data Recovery

1. Download, install and then launch M3 Mac Data Recovery on your Mac computer.

2. Select external hard drive

Free Mac data recovery software - M3 Mac Data Recovery

3. M3 Mac Data Recovery is scanning lost data from corrupted external hard drive

Scan lost data from corrupted external hard drive

4. Select the found files you expect to recover and then click Recover to recover lost data from corrupted external hard drive.

Recover lost data from corrupted external hard drive

Step 2: Reformat the external hard drive

5. Launch Disk Utility.

6. Select the external hard drive from the left sidebar of the window.

7. Click the Erase button on the top of the Disk Utility window.

8. Complete the related information (name, format, scheme), then click Erase.

Solution 6: Ask the professional for help

If external hard drive is not recognized by disk utility and any data recovery software, in this situation, generally speaking, external hard drive has hardware issue, please send unrecognized external hard drive to a local data recovery service for help if we lost the important data.