How to fix windows 11 won’t recognize external hard drive?

Windows 11 won’t recognize external hard drive problem can be related to your hardware or software. In common cases, the issue results in due to improper connection. However, sometimes, the problem occurs because the program is device driver is not functioning well.

As a fix, you should start with initializing the disk, updating the drivers and then move on to other listed methods just below. You can use automatic PC Repair Tool if you don’t want to involve in manual methods and want a quick and easy solution for it. Here is its direct download link.

Possible fixes for windows 11 won’t recognize external hard drive

Fix 1: Check the connections

Firstly, you should check if the connections are in order. Check if the cable is properly plugged in and there is no damage to the port and the cable. Also, verify if the port requirement is in order. Some of the hard drives work only with USB ports. So, make sure you connect it to the right port. If the problem persists, move to our next solution.

Fix 2: Initialize external hard drive

This method is applicable for new ones and this involves formatting the drive. If the drive has critical data, you should skip this method:

  • Press Win+ S to open Search and enter Create and format hard disk partitions in it and select the matched result,
  • Now, locate your external hard drive. The easiest way of doing this is through their storage,
  • If the problematic disk says, Not Initiated, right-click on it and select Initialize Disk,
  • Select a partition style for the disk (we recommend you choose GPT),
  • Once done, right-click on the empty space and select New Simple Volume,
  • Click Next to proceed,
  • Enter the Volume size now and click Next again,
  • Assign a drive letter. You can choose the default selection or choose one from the drop down manually,
  • Click Next once done and then you have to choose a File system and Volume Label. If you are now, you can just go forward with the default settings and click Next to proceed,
  • Verify the details now and click Finish to start the process.

After you initialized, check if your Windows 11 now recognize the external hard drive.

Fix 3: Update Driver

If problem continues, just eradicate the possibility of driver related issue:

  • On Windows Search, enter Device Manager,
  • Now, double click on Disk Drives,
  • Right-click on problematic drive and select Update Driver,
  • Select Search automatically for drivers in the Update Drivers Window,
  • Wait now for the OS to locate and install the best available driver for the drive.

Alternatively, you can employ automatic driver updating tool to update the necessary driver to fix windows 11 won’t recognize external hard drive. Here is its direct download link.

Fix 4: Assign a driver letter

For a device to be listed in the File Explorer, it should have the driver letter assigned. Make sure to assign one and see if this provides you the fix for Windows 11 won’t recognize external drive:

  • Press Win+ R to launch Run Command and type diskmgmt.msc in and hit Enter to open Disk Management,
  • Now, verify if the mal-functioning drive has the letter associated with it. If not, right-click on it and select Change Drive Letters and Path,
  • On the next window, click Add,
  • You can choose a drive letter from the drop down menu or go with the one selected by default,
  • Once the selection is made, click OK and see the then if the problem is now fixed.

That’s all! We have provided all possible fixes for windows 11 won’t recognize external hard drive. Hopefully, these methods really work.  If the problem occurs due to PC related issues, the recommended tool will find and fix the problem for you within few seconds.