I have WD external hard disk connected via USB and it does not get detected in Windows explorer. Checked disk management where it shows disk as "Unknown" and "Not initialized". I don't want to lose any data, it contains all my family photos, please help.
Two disk unknown not initialized situations
1. Disk unknown, not initialized, no disk space
2. Disk unknown, not initialized, unallocated space
Windows Disk Management shows an error disk unknown not initialized, the hard drive may show "unallocated space" or no disk space in Disk Management, so you are not able to access data stored on this hard drive, which makes you very upset and don't know how to solve this issue.
Why is disk unknown not initialized?
Generally speaking, there are several reasons cause disk unknown not initialized:
1. Virus attack: Sometimes external hard drive is unknown not uninitialized because of virus infection.
2. Bad sectors: If there are bad sectors on the hard drive, Disk Management shows no disk space.
3. MBR corruption: When one hard disk is unknown not initialized, firstly you should consider if MBR is corrupted, because there is a first sector where MBR code and partition table is written. If MBR is corrupted, the OS fails to access data on your hard drive.
4. Partition loss: when partition is lost or deleted, disk unknown not initialized issue may happen.
How to fix disk unknown not initialized issue?
Firstly open Windows Disk Management and find the uninitialized disk. If this uninitialized disk shows disk capacity, it means your Windows OS has recognized this uninitialized disk, but partition is lost/deleted or MBR is corrupted due to some reasons. In this case, you need to fix/rebuild MBR and recover partition.
If this uninitialized disk doesn't show disk capacity, maybe there is a hardware issue. In this case, you need to take the uninitialized disk out and check if there is something wrong with the disk.
After checking with above methods, it is time to fix disk unknown not initialized issue with following solution:
Solution 1: Initialize the hard drive
If disk unknown not initialized issue appears in Disk Management, the first thing you may do is to initialize the target disk. However, initialization would erase all disk data, please make sure if there is important data stored on uninitialized disk before initializing.
If there is importanta data, you should recover data from not initialized hard drive firstly and then initialize the target disk after data recovery is successfully done.
MBR corruption may cause disk unknown not initialized issue, in this case, fix/rebuild MBR is the quick way to solve disk unknown not initialized issue. DiskPart command and some 3rd-party tools (Such as Aomei Partition Assistant, EaseUS Partition Master, Minitool Partition Wizard) have the function to fix/rebuild MBR.
Solution 3: Partition recovery
Somtimes partition loss would cause disk unknown not initialized issue, if you find disk shows unknown, not initialized, unallocated space in disk management, in this situation, the best way is partition recovery - Find deleted/lost partition and then restore data. M3 Data Recovery also supports to recover data from deleted/lost partition.
Solution 4: A local data recovery professional
A hardware issue can also cause disk unknown not initialized. If there is no disk space as below in storage media, it should have hardware issue, hardware issue is beyond any data recovery software, please send it to a local data recovery professional for help if there is important data.