From time to time you may come across a hard disk that you can’t seem to detect on your computer. Assuming the drive itself isn’t damaged in some way and is in good working condition, it could still be unrecognised for several reasons such as its file system and formatting, connectors, or drivers.
If you want to avoid a hard disk drive from being unrecognised on your computer, there are a few steps that you should take in advance:
- Make sure it is formatted and using the right file system
Before you can use any hard disk drive it needs to be formatted so that all its unallocated space is partitioned into an actual drive. That may sound difficult but on Windows computers all it means is you should format your drive and assign it a letter or use the ‘Disk Management’ tool to allocate any unallocated space then format it.
The one area you will want to look into when you format your hard drive is the file system. Nowadays most Windows computers use NTFS, though some older systems may still use FAT32. Using other file systems such ext4 or HFS Plus may cause the drive to be undetectable on Windows computers – so you should avoid them.
- Handle the cables with care
Often people handle cables somewhat haphazardly and as such either the cables themselves are damaged, or the connectors do. Sometimes dirt may even start to accumulate in the connectors which can cause issues or end up damaging them.
As far as possible try to handle your cables with care and make sure they are kept clean. It may be a good idea to check and clean them periodically, and just blow out any dust or dirt that may have found its way into the connectors.
- Keep drivers updated
As a rule of thumb you should always make sure that your drivers are up to date with the latest versions that are available. That can help to avoid any driver-related issues with your USB or SATA connection that could result in your computer not being able to read from your hard drive.
Assuming you follow these steps you should never have to ask yourself, “Why my hard drive is not recognised by my computer?” However as much as maintaining and checking on it in this way can help, there are still some situations where you may find that your hard drive is undetectable – and that may typically involve either a hard drive failure, virus, or corrupted drivers.
By ensuring that all other areas are taken care of, you will be able to narrow down the root cause right from the get go – and should be able to diagnose the issue much easier. In any case it always helps to backup any important data on your hard drive, just in case it is damaged and the data itself is beyond retrieval even when using some of the recovery options that are available.