External Hard Drive Not Showing Up in Disk Management


What are external hard drives? It’s a storage medium that lets you back up your files in case of data theft or loss due to some reason. But, seeing “no media” in disk management can make you panic, especially because you might have sensitive and valuable data stored.

Of course, external hard drives are very easy to use. Plug it in using a data cable, access it on a computer, and move your files from one computer to the other. But, when you connect an external hard drive to a computer to access important data, it can show errors like “removable disk no media,” what do you do?

Various external hard drives, including HDDs and SSDs, can run into issues connecting to a computer. It can occur due to faulty drivers, power failure, and hardware damages. This guide has you covered with quick fixes and an understanding of the reasons behind external hard drive failure.

What Causes No Media in Disk Management?

This section will talk about a few reasons that lead to no media in disk management when you plug in your external hard drive. Although there are many reasons, we will only look at the most common ones that users are most likely to see.

  • No Media Inserted

Check whether the external hard drive is inserted correctly in the media reader you’re using (i.e., the holder of your external hard drive). It’s like a casing and has a hard drive inside it. If the hard drive isn’t connected to the data cable-attached casing, then the “no media in disk management” is inevitable.

  • Infected Files/Virus

Virus infections and corrupted files are quite common with issues like slow-working external hard drives.

  • Damaged PBR/MBR Files

Have you ever wondered why the computer offers a “safely remove the external drive” option? Well, it’s to ensure that the MBR or PBR files don’t get damaged. Those files ensure your external hard drive shows up on the computer and lets you access media safely. When you remove the external hard drive too quickly, those files can damage and give you this error. 

  • Lack of Power Supply (to the USB Port)

When you overload the USB ports in your CPU, it can give you the “no media” error since some ports will be getting less power to operate, leading to “0 bytes” in disk management.

  • Loose/Bad Connection

The USB port in your computer may have been damaged due to inefficient operations. You can try plugging it into a different socket. Furthermore, a poor connection between your external hard drive and computer due to a damaged data cable or another source could cause the same issue.

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You can find the right solution and apply it instantly by learning the reason behind the “no media in disk management” error or even the external hard drive not showing up. 

External Hard Drive Not Showing Up – 4 Possible Solutions

We have compiled a few fixes for the external hard drive not showing up on your computer or showing “no media” in disk management. Note that our solutions are mainly for Windows PC:

  1. Reinstall / Enable External Hard Drive in Device Manager

Follow these steps:

  1. Open “Device Manager” by searching for it in the Start menu
  2. Expand the “Universal Serial Bus Controller” and find your external hard drive
  3. Right-click on your external hard drive and Enable it in case of an arrow/red mark (if this doesn’t work, follow the next steps) 
  4. Uninstall your drive’s software from the computer, re-plug the hard drive, and let the software reinstall automatically
  5. Restart your computer and reconnect your external hard drive to see if the “removable disk no media” error resolves
  1. Drive Letter Change / CHKDSK Repair Process

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Open “Device Manager” and right-click over your external hard drive
  2. Select “Change Drive Letter and Paths” and select a new letter
  3. Confirm and let the operation complete
  4. To run the CHKDSK process, here’s what to do:
  5. Open Command Prompt from the Start menu (right click and run it as “Administrator”)
  6. Type the command “:chkdsk”
  7. Restart the PC to see if the issue resolves.
  1. Examine the Power Source

Examine the power source and see if it’s overloading. Sometimes, the USB port you’re using may not get enough power to show media on your external hard drive on your computer.

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Removable Disk No Media

It’s extremely annoying when it shows no media in disk management for your external hard drive. However, if the hard drive contains sensitive information, such as the password to your digital crypto wallet filled with Bitcoin, you need to fix it.

Learning the main cause behind the “removable disk no media” error can provide clarity to your problem. When you know the real cause behind the issue, you can also choose an effective fix for it. Here’s a list of quick ways to possibly fix the “no media” issue for your external hard drive:

  • Run an error check to detect and fix the “hard drive no media” issue
  • Try plugging into a different port if the external hard drive’s not showing up
  • Run the CHKSK check to fix the issue
  • Change the removable disk’s letter and see if it solves the issue
  • Delete and create a new partition through disk management
  • ReinstallReinstall the hard drive’s driver to solve the “no media” issue
  • Check for a format option and, if possible, use it to resolve the error
  • Update your computer’s media drives


Do you fully understand the most common reasons behind an external hard drive showing up but getting no access to inside data? There are a lot of troubleshooting methods to solve the issue, and this guide speaks of some of the most effective ones. You can try uninstalling and reinstallingreinstalling hard drive software.

Try updating the drivers of your computer by going straight to the “Device Manager” tab. You can also run a quick physical check to see if the external hard drive has sustained any hardware damage. If you still can’t come up with a solution, ask a professional to help you out.

If both of these techniques are unsuccessful you may be experiencing a more severe issue that will require a data recovery professional. Fortunately, Gillware Data Recovery has nearly 20 years of experience restoring data from failed external hard drives.


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